Memo to the North Carolina political right: Your crazy talk of impeaching elected North Carolina leaders because you disagree with their policy decisions and/or judicial decisions needs to stop.
Besides making yourselves look utterly foolish, you’re ratcheting up our already overheated political atmosphere to new and dangerous levels — something that’s particularly unsafe when so many of your supporters possess only a passing knowledge of how a democracy is supposed to work and at a time in which the nation only recently survived an deadly attempted coup d’etat.
Just a couple of weeks ago for example, the John Locke Foundation — a group that aspires to be taken seriously as the voice of the state’s responsible conservative movement — featured an essay by a deeply confused Stanly County conservative activist in which he described Gov. Roy Cooper as a “dictator” (the essay is provocatively entitled “How long will we allow a dictator to rule?”) and called for his impeachment because of the comparatively restrained and broadly popular actions he’s taken to combat the pandemic.
The author of this essay — which, like so many, right-wing screeds of the modern era is peppered with talk of “tyranny” and the people being “sovereign” — is the same fellow who wrote on the same website in October that masks for children to prevent the spread of COVID-19 constitutes “child abuse.” Here’s the loonie tunes conclusion:
“I realize some will consider this the nuclear option and one that should be avoided at all costs. But how much more of our freedom must we lose? Must more lives be ruined? How many more children must be abused before we draw the line? Failure to resist tyranny is an open invitation for more. We the people are sovereign, and we will live under this dictator for only as long as we are willing.”
The post followed on the heels of (and cited approvingly) another post by Locke staffer and former state Republican party executive director Dallas Woodhouse advocating for/threatening the impeachment of state judges — Democratic Supreme Court justices over the recusal controversy surrounding Justices Phil Berger, Jr. and Tamara Barringer, and Judge David Lee, the presiding jurist in the Leandro school funding case.
Woodhouse even went so far as to discuss the practical benefits to the conservative agenda that such a tactic would provide, writing:
“If the legislature chooses to play its hand, it could sideline these judges before they do any more harm to North Carolina’s constitutional norms and let the voters judge the actions of the legislature in these matters in November 2022.”
Woodhouse repeated his cockamamie idea again this week on Twitter and implied that House Speaker Tim Moore was seriously considering this idea.
The bottom line: Each of the proposed impeachment moves described by these individuals would constitute blatant abuses of the North Carolina constitution and, even more worrisomely, take our state into some very dangerous waters. It’s a scandal that a supposedly serious organization like the Locke Foundation provides a platform for such rubbish.