Red ElephantThe most evocative buzzword making the rounds in Raleigh is “laughingstock,” but the more consequential term may be “power grab.” Knowing that the gerrymandered electoral map makes the General Assembly their most secure stronghold, Republicans are using legislative power to maximize their influence over every aspect of life in our state. In so doing, they appear to be a hundred Richard Nixons in reverse.

The Majority’s expeditionary campaigns extend into cities, regulatory commissions, dorm rooms and bedrooms. Seemingly to acquire more vehicles for Speaker Tillis to tour the state in, Republican legislators propose confiscating uninsured drivers’ cars. A few would even like to make themselves the Supreme Court of the South, empowered to strike down federal laws they in their superior judgment decide are unconstitutional. Altogether, they seek to stamp the words “Property of the North Carolina GOP” onto every surface in sight.

That most of these measures won’t become law is almost beside the point. Republicans have figured how to use the institution they dominate the most to bend as many people as possible to their ideological will. Even if the courts eventually force our legislative districts to be redrawn, the Republicans’ brutish antics constitute a threat to the moderate current that runs through this state. I recently realized that the elephant symbolizes both the Republican party and the defunct British Raj. Given their zeal for annexation, one wonders whether North Carolina Republicans mean to imitate their fellow imperialistic pachyderms.



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