Commentary, HB2

Cooper stays calm and collected; says “no” to referenda on basic rights as opponents take the low road yet again

Gov. Roy Cooper

Gov. Roy Cooper

You’ve got to hand it to Gov. Roy Cooper. The man has the patience of Job and the always calm patience of of a Zen master. His opponents keep blowing their cool and firing ridiculous rhetorical stink bombs at him and the Guv just keeps chugging along; quietly and soberly rolling the boulder up the hill without sinking to their level.

We got to witness this pattern once gain yesterday as Cooper called for a resumption of negotiations around HB2 and courageously and powerfully made clear his opposition to the idea of placing basic human rights on the ballot in referenda. The statement, of course, was in response to a badly flawed proposal in the state House that would have allowed cities to enact nondiscrimination ordinances, but only if a small minority of voters was given a chance to place measure on the ballot that would veto such measures. As Chris Fitzsimon noted Friday:

“The bill literally would allow people to vote on whether or not gay people could be fired or denied services simply because they are gay.”

Here’s the Governor in a statement issued Sunday:

“I have two concerns with this. First, it subjects the rights of the minority to a vote of the majority. It would be like putting the Civil Rights Act to a popular vote in cities in the South during the 1960s. Except today, it would come with the perils of modern campaigns. Which is my second concern. Imagine the endless campaigning?—?months of one side demonizing the other about whether LGBT citizens have rights. Toxic 30-second TV ads. Nasty mail filling up your mailbox. And North Carolina is still in the national news for all the wrong reasons.”

Rep. Chuck McGrady

Rep. Chuck McGrady

Sadly, but not surprisingly, Cooper’s principled stance provoked another silly response from a Republican. This time it was the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Chuck McGrady, who called Cooper’s position “outrageous” and dashed off some surprisingly personal and emotional tweets.

What is the deal with these GOP lawmakers and their emotional online venting? The once semi-reasonable Phil Berger seems to go all Donald Trump on anyone who disagrees with him about once a week these days. Now, it’s the usually moderate McGrady.

Who knows? Maybe they’re channeling Trump. Maybe it’s just the idea that the governor of the state is no longer their errand boy/doormat that’s getting under their skin, but whatever the case, Republicans would do well to start dealing with the man down the street at the mansion withe some seriousness and good faith. If they don’t, one suspects, they’re going to keep on getting crushed in the P.R. wars by a man who is notably calmer, cooler and significantly more popular than they are.

One Comment


  1. Marcia Meyer

    February 27, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    Am very thankful for our governor.

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