We moved to North Carolina from a suburb of Minneapolis at the end of middle school. I remember the jokes as we left. They usually came in the form of questions: “Do they wear shoes down there?” “Will you have dirt floors?” The following summer we went back to visit. Relieved, I could report “Yes, most people wore shoes.” And, “No, we did not have dirt floors.” After that, me, my parents and my brother returned. At that point, and since, North Carolina was home. I finished high school, then college, fell in love, got married and finally, eight years ago, started my business. All of that. Right here.
North Carolina grew up in its own way — a shiny example of how a southern state can be progressive.
I love North Carolina. And I refuse to be embarrassed by the result of tonight’s election. Why? Because it’s our fault. Mine. Yours. All of us like-minded individuals who see the amendment for what it is — a tacit, constitutional endorsement of bigotry. A means of punishing anyone who doesn’t fit some imagined status quo. It’s our fault this passed.
Not just because we may not have voted in this election. But that’s probably some of it since, as of this writing, Amendment 1 was passed by about 34% of registered voters. Even if you did vote, maybe you didn’t motivate that friend or family member to get out there. Maybe you spent too much time surrounded by all these people who have the same cozy view you do. Because it’s safe. And lazy. And I should have written on this a month ago.
It’s hard work to articulate why Amendment 1 was so wrong — wrong in every way — to someone who thinks otherwise. It’s uncomfortable. It’s challenging. It’s called democracy. And it only works if you do.
But this stage wasn’t set today. It was that other, off-year, election you couldn’t get out to. That’s the one — the one right before redistricting in the General Assembly. Or maybe the one before that. The one that just didn’t seem that important.
Remember this two, six or ten years from now.
Our Work Starts Today
Let’s fix it. This was the primary. There’s another election in a few months. I can be more specific: Tuesday, November 6, 2012. Let’s make sure it counts.
There should be fallout for spending millions of dollars to put this on the ballot and for losing millions more when progressive companies second guess moving here. There should be repercussions for embedding fear in our state’s constitution and taking us back to the dark ages. There should be consequences for supporting this. For encouraging it. For claiming that it represents what each and every single one of us believes in.
Let’s make sure the supporters of Amendment One aren’t re-elected. They should no longer have the privilege of representing me, you, or anyone else who wants to live in a forward looking state.
Repeal Amendment One
The only way we’ll repeal it is if we make sure we put the right people in office. We need to get to work, starting now. Call or email your state senators and representatives. Ask them tough questions. Ask about their votes. Ask about where they stand on repealing this amendment. And then remember their answers.
People can register to vote 25 days before an election. Get people who care about this to get registered. Then vote. Get your friends to vote. Get your family to vote.
You have a voice. Use it.