2016: You Can’t Make This Up

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8558683407_3dfedee250_zIf there’s one phrase that’s echoed in my mind as I prepared to write this piece it’s, “you can’t make this stuff up.”

A man ,I believe most of us never thought would make it through the primary is headed to the White House, our Governor practically had to be evicted out of the Governor’s Mansion and state lawmakers continued to do what they could to limit voting rights and confuse the electorate.

(Head bang on desk.)

Nope, you can’t make this stuff up.

North Carolina was thrust into the national spotlight with Governor Pat McCrory’s signing of HB2 in March. Since then the state has lost millions of dollars in current and future business and has been the subject of punchlines on everywhere from Samantha Bee to the Daily Show. Even at the 11th hour when lawmakers had the chance to “do the right thing”, they couldn’t manage to do it.

Governor-elect Roy Cooper has to rebuild the house of cards, after lawmakers spent their special session, under the guise of funding relief for hurricane victims, limiting the incoming governor’s power. The number of employees a governor can appoint dropped from 1,500 to fewer than 500.

Charlotte found it’s community and police relations in the national spotlight after the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, prompting us all to realize that our own communities need to address prejudices and unresolved feelings.

On a happier note …

President Obama is moving to permanently protect huge portions of the Atlantic from offshore drilling. Environmentalists applauded the move, which they suggest is part of Obama’s efforts to shore up his own environmental legacy before the Trump administration takes over.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against North Carolina’s controversial voting laws, saying lawmakers had acted “with almost surgical precision.” While the high court and other lower courts consistently ruled in favor of voting rights advocates, the net effect of the voter suppression laws undoubtedly had an impact on the November election.

The entire country banded together to fight for the protection of tribal lands in South Dakota, and showed their support in person or on social media – proof that solidarity amongst eachother can in fact enact change.

And while we don’t yet have our first female President of the United States as we move into 2017, there were several women across the country who broke their own barriers, and made it that much easier for our daughters.

So what’s the theme of our “Year in Review” and what did it teach us? Don’t take logic for granted. Don’t sit back and trust our leaders to make the right decisions. Get engaged. Get involved. Speak loudly. It’s the mission of Women AdvaNCe in 2017 that state and community leaders engage women in the political process, and we are ready and prepared to meet them with solid policy ideas and a megaphone when logic does not prevail.

This year reads like a grand experiment, the latest Martin Scorsese movie, or a bad dream. It’s now up to us to “Choose Our Own Adventure” and lead this state to once again be a national leader and positive example. I want to once again say I live in North Carolina without casting my eyes downward, or emitting an uncomfortable chuckle.




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