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No Longer Just a Bill

Jefferson-WeaverWhen I was a kid, there was a series of cartoon shorts called Schoolhouse Rock.

They used catchy little songs to help children learn about history, grammar, civics and other forgotten subjects. The cartoons came on between commercials, and included such fun little lessons as Conjunction Junction,  Lolly Lolly Lolly Get your Adverbs Here, and I’m Just a Bill.

The latter had a friendly, animated scroll narrating the process by which laws are made. It covered introduction, passage, ratification and even veto. You kinda felt bad for the little guy when he was vetoed, since he bounced down the steps of the capital and hit the sidewalk in a cloud of dust.

Based on the way things have gone in recent years, that classic cartoon will have to be re-tooled for our state. It seems there’s a new democratic process.

No longer does North Carolina follow the federal government model of introduction, debate, approval and ratification/veto. Indeed, I have to wonder how long it will be before the duly elected representatives of the people of North Carolina are removed entirely from the process, and replaced by more lawyers paid for by out-of-state special interest groups.

Take the most recent example, where the Charlotte City Council just had to fix something that wasn’t broken.

The Queen City’s leaders decided – on the advise and encouragement of, among others, a convicted sex offender – that people who can’t figure out which sex they are should be allowed to use the restroom, locker room or shower of their choice. It was just one of a lot of local legislative actions coming on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision to override our state’s Amendment One.

The governor and General Assembly, in a move that defied the usual molasses-mired machinations of politics, quickly passed a bill which the governor signed into law to prevent other municipalities from passing rules that allow people to choose bathrooms based on their personal choice, rather than their anatomy.

As usual, the lawyers, special interest groups and to a large extent, a sympathetic media immediately jumped on the bandwagon. Protestors blocked streets in Raleigh and elsewhere. Rich folks who never had any intention of bringing their companies to North Carolina were asked, “Would you go somewhere that didn’t allow homosexuals and transgenders to use the bathroom?” – and they naturally said no. By the way, that’s only a minor paraphrase of what one taxpayer-supported non-profit said in its literature.

Now, I have met and known a couple of men who, quite honestly, made darn good looking women. We always got along, even though I didn’t approve of their “life-choices.” I just don’t see God making a mistake when it comes to equipping and wiring His creations, although we humans make plenty ourselves.

I have never held any hatred or even animosity toward these fellows; I felt sorry for them, in many ways. I even stood up for one who was about to get bashed on Dock Street in Wilmington one night.  My girlfriend at the time didn’t want to get involved, but she was a poor bucket for holding water, anyway.

I have also written about sexual predators who had a fascination with bathrooms, women and children that I won’t detail here. Thankfully, most of those varmints ended up being arrested.

Yet, because I, like many of you, stand on my Christian principles as well as the constitutional process of our state and nation – well, I am a nasty, mean, backward, inbred, mouthbreather.

Civil discourse and disagreement have always ridden a fine line between debate and de-fight, as a particularly wise politician put it years before I was born.

The ability to carry a law, just or unjust, to the highest courts of the land is an integral part of the process. The problem I have is with the willingness of some to catch a fast train for the Supreme Court, usually on a ticket paid for by folks who’ve never even been to our state, even before the law is enforced for the first time.

I still receive a daily flurry of emails from various “public policy” organizations regarding North Carolina’s “homophobic bill.” I had to read the bill again to make sure were discussing the same thing, since the masterful spinning of the group had “veterans, parents, the elderly, caregivers and emergency medical workers” subject to being thrown in jail if they went in the wrong restroom.

I even had a dear lady contact me and say that while she didn’t like the idea of having men in the restroom beside her, she was against the bill, because a gay friend had told her she would have to send her toddler son into a public restroom alone, and she would have to change his little brother in public.

On top of everything else, we can throw in another set of grinding politically gears.

Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, won the primary in March, so he’ll face Gov. McCrory, a Republican, in November. By definition, Cooper’s current job is to act as the legal counsel for the state of North Carolina, to include the governor. So right now he’s running against his boss.

Cooper has said he won’t defend the governor, the General Assembly, or this bill against the pending lawsuits. I’m on the fence as to whether this is a political move designed to cozy up to the loud liberal left, hurt the governor and strengthen Cooper’s run this fall; or whether Cooper truly feels the bill was a wrong move. Regardless of any legislation, it’s kind of unseemly to keep working for the man you’re trying to kick out of office – especially when you’re in a position to cause so much political harm to your opponent in the short run. When Cooper won the nomination, he should have stepped down. Staying put serves no one but himself.

The long and the short of it, regardless of where you stand on the gender-confusion issue, is that Little Old Bill has a few more steps to go through nowadays if he expects to become a law, at least in North Carolina.

Little Old Bill will have to make it through internecine squabbling in government offices where they sometimes see themselves first, and their requirements second.

Then Bill has to survive misinterpretation and deliberately incorrect statements designed to ruin his reputation. Then Bill has to survive politically-charged battles in the courts, where the buildings are surrounded by folks exercising their right to free speech by trying to influence jurists who are supposed to be neutral.

If Bill survives all that, he’ll have to deal with insults and derision from celebrities who might not be able to find North Carolina on a map of the Southern states, but who will loudly descry anything having to do with the state. For years – well, weeks, anyway—pundits will declare that Bill and his home state are single-handedly responsible for everything from the slightest economic downturn to the latest social media celebrity divorce to climate change.

If the law is overturned, adolescent boys will be able to use girls’ showers simply by deciding that they “identify” with the girls, and mothers will have to wonder if the oddly-dressed man in the stall beside them is simply a transgender individual, or a predator using political correctness as a lockpick to have access to more victims. At the same time, people who are confused about their sexuality won’t have to feel uncomfortable if they need to answer nature’s call.

At the same time, poor old Bill will be left standing there on the sidewalk, never even having been read by the people who obviously never watched Schoolhouse Rock.

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