Anyone who spent the holidays out of state undoubtedly heard some form of the question: What the hell is going on in North Carolina? It’s the new “What’s the matter with Kansas?”

After our General Assembly was unable to figure out a plan to repeal HB 2, the law that has cost the people and institutions of this state perhaps $500 million in lost revenue and legal fees, our state made national news (again). An op-ed piece in the New York Times — “What’s the matter with North Carolina?” — elucidated the tyranny of our slim majority, and a blistering package of reporting and editorializing in the Washington Post showed the rest of the country what it looks like when the majority becomes marginalized.

After mounting a trifling opposition to the repeal of HB 2, the Republicans of the North Carolina Legislature forfeited any pretense of moral high ground against those in the Democratic Party who came before them.

Only children justify behavior they know is wrong by saying the other kid did it first.

Thie last four years relied on disenfranchisement, outright bullying and orchestrated deceit — along with the recurring practice of moving the legislative goalposts any time the GOP looked like it might lose an issue, or a vote, or even a couple points in the imaginary game they and their supporters seem to be playing.

Here’s the truth: If a party’s initiatives are any good, they don’t need to cheat to sell them to the people.

What’s going on in North Carolina — through illegal gerrymandering, cabal-style politics, anti-intellectual ideology, unconstitutional laws, unscheduled special sessions, uncontested elections and every other crappy tactic, technique and machination that has been thrust upon the good people of this state — is that the people have been usurped; our government lacks popular legitimacy.

A permanent Republican majority is not a democracy, particularly when the game is rigged to keep a party — any party — in power.

The claim we make now, in some of our state’s bluest cities, is taxation without representation. How long, legally, can this sort of disenfranchisement stand?

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