It’s tough, in North Carolina, to get everyone on the same page. We have fundamental disagreements on subjects as trivial as barbecue and college basketball teams to deep-seated pathologies such as white supremacy and the systemic defunding of public education.
That’s what the Leandro decision was all about: The legislature has defunded our public schools to such a degree that they are in violation of the state constitution guaranteeing a “sound” education to every kid in the state.
The judicial branch of our state government has ruled that the General Assembly must adequately fund education. Yet this year’s budget does not meet the requirements set forth by the Leandro decision, short by about $1.7 billion. And the Republicans who crafted the budget — and the GOP-dominated Court of Appeals — say that the judiciary has no authority to make them acquiesce to the order.
Speaking of the budget, it took most of the year for the state’s most important annual document to get ratified by our broken system of checks and balances, almost five months after the fiscal year began on July 1.
NC is in a high state of governmental dysfunction. Gerrymandering and other political maneuvers have led to minority rule — while registered Republicans make up just a third of the electorate, they outnumber Democrats in the state House 69-51., and in the Senate 28-22.
Our representation in Washington, DC is even more egregious: Out of 14 Congressional Districts, the state GOP has awarded itself eight safe ones, packing their counterparts across the aisle into just three safe Democrat districts and leaving the other three to chance.
These are the districts that were blocked by a court on Monday morning, and then unblocked Monday evening… by the same court.
We can’t enforce our own laws. We have been holding elections on illegal districts for three of the last four cycles. The will of the people is meaningless in the eyes of these false leaders, who can barely end a legislative session before the next is scheduled to begin.
Our state is a failed one, unable to perform even the most basic functions of government. And we’re just starting to understand what that looks like on the ground.
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