North Carolina’s destructive legislative leadership duo, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, have seldom missed an opportunity in their seemingly endless tenures to engage in Trump-like demagoguery. If there’s an event that they can use and manipulate to, in the infamous words of Moore’s predecessor, Senator Thom Tillis, “divide and conquer,” you can rest assured they will try.
The latest examples can be found in the statements the two lawmakers have issued assailing Gov. Cooper for not calling out National Guard troops faster to deal with recent protests over the death of George Floyd.
As Raleigh’s News & Observer reported this afternoon, both men have been mimicking Trump’s macho posturing by saying Cooper should have, in effect, escalated the situation by going all in with troops ASAP.
Fortunately, unlike Berger, Moore and Trump, Cooper appears to understand that he serves all people of the state: police and those who resist police abuses; property owners and protesters. That’s why he’s clearly trying to advance a balanced response to the unrest that places a much higher value on human life than it does on replaceable property.
In this sense, Cooper’s response has — thankfully — been like the positions he has taken vis a vis the COVID-19 pandemic: humane, practical and not based on knee-jerk emotions. Cooper isn’t perfect, but when he says things like “We must stop this destruction. But I want to remind everyone of something vitally important: We cannot focus so much on property damage that we forget why people are in the streets in the first place,” he shows vastly more wisdom than his perpetually unhappy legislative critics.
Indeed, if anyone is late when it comes to public policies that relate to the protests we’re experiencing now, it’s been the politicians like Berger, Moore and their allies. It’s their insatiable commitment to tax cuts for rich individuals and profitable corporations that leaves the state chronically disabled when it comes to adequately funding healthcare, education, worker protections, community economic development, the social safety net, environmental protection, civil and human rights and dozens of other core attributes of a truly free and healthy society.