BY SAMANTHA EVERETT Sometimes I think we are becoming numb to the insanity that is politics today. Last year, millions of dollars were spent in North Carolina to declare that marriage is between a man and a woman (need I mention that was already the law?). And now the Governor and state lawmakers are reducing the amount and length of unemployment benefits when it’s not any easier to find a job.
The only word I can think of in response to these truths is “HUH?” It’s not very eloquent, I grant you. What I mean to say is that these policy shifts defy common logic, regardless of your party politics. What makes matters more frustrating is that there are so many real issues that need to be addressed in this state, like the funding of pre-k education, health care and economic development.
The only words of comfort I have for myself is we are not alone and, of course, misery loves company. As highlighted in a recent editorial in the New York Times by Bill Keller, “States Gone Wild,” states around the country are enacting laws that defy party line, logic and sometimes even public opinion. Colorado voted to decriminalize possession of small quantities of marijuana, but take a drive up the road to Wyoming and that same amount will get you a year in prison. Arkansas is banning abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy. Not to be outdone, North Dakota lowered its limit to six weeks. To borrow Keller’s point: is North Dakota more conservative than Arkansas or were their lobbyists stronger or media in a deeper sleep while the bills passed?
This is all surely enough to spark conversation at the office water cooler that lasts longer than a sip, or instigate a healthy debate at a play date with other moms. But it should amount to even more than that. If the equivalent of these wacky policies were put in place in our households, we wouldn’t stand for it. We would debate and argue for our point and fight for what is right. Unfortunately, when these illogical situations are in the political realm, too many of us accept it for being just the way it is.
My point is, it doesn’t have to be this way. I’d bet that most of the pending legislation is not in the top 10, or even the top 50, issues for North Carolinians as they continue to face high rates of unemployment and a lack of funding for early childhood education.
We shouldn’t stand for this. Our lawmakers are in place until their next election, but until then, we can work together as only women can. We have the know-how to enact change. Let’s find a united voice and work together to create the change we want to see in the world.