I’m not sure what state I’m living in at the moment. No. I’m not geographically lost, I can find myself on a Google map and my driver’s license is always a hint if I need one.
I have looked around at what the political system in my home state has done over the past couple of years and recently I made the statement to myself, then to some friends that I felt kinda lost.
The state I grew up in, the state I missed so much when I was in the military years ago and longed to return to has seemingly moved away from me. Quietly and almost in a stealth mode, it left me. Like someone stealing away in the dead of night and finding the next morning there’s an empty space in the driveway or some odds and ends of clothes scattered around as they made a hasty retreat, my home state seemed to go “poof”.
Now, let me take a moment and put a framework around this scenario.
I live in North Carolina. I was born in North Carolina some years ago and for the vast majority of my life I have lived within the borders of this state.
Years ago the state had a tag line of “Variety Vacationland”. Residents here liked the fact that the state had a lot of geographic variety; mountains, beaches, rich farmland, a middle section with pine forests, a rather well known golfing community called Pinehurst that has hosted a little event called the “U.S. Open” several times. Along with several universities well known for their academic standing and basketball, ACC basketball, my state has been one that felt comfortable and one I was proud to say I was “from”.
Sure we’ve had our racial struggles but as a state we moved forward.
Over the past few weeks the national news media has paid extra attention to my home state, unfortunately and it hasn’t been in a positive light. Some may say it was positive because of the action our legislature took, it depends on where you stand on the topic at hand.
This most recent action, the leaders of the legislature convening a special session for one day to address one legislative issue, the governor signing the legislation in a hasty manner and many citizens looking around and asking “what the heck is going on here?”
This isn’t the state I’m familiar with and had grown to love and respect.
I remember asking myself a few days ago, “Where did the old Tarheel state go?”
Who are these people convening hasty legislative sessions, pushing bills to the governor’s desk and singling out a class of people and telling them basically, “we don’t recognize who you are and we don’t care about you”?
If you’ve seen any national news in the last week or so mostly likely you’ve seen some coverage of what in North Carolina is referred to as HB2. Some call it the “bathroom” bill. This whole story is a bit convoluted and instead of delving into the whole backstory, which involves the City of Charlotte, the leaders of the NC Legislature, the Governor of NC and gays and transgender citizens of the state I’ll just say “google it” and you will get more references than you are most likely prepared to delve into.
Now it’s evolved into free enterprise taking positions, Pay Pal, which had announced it was expanding in Charlotte announced they would not expand because of HB2. Then some members of the legislature basically implied, “well they aren’t a very good company anyway”.
Really? This is crazy. Who are these people? Where am I? Where did the state I grew up in that has worked to overcome racial issues, developed one of the best public university systems in the country and developed The Research Triangle Park go?