Editorial: The question of legitimacy

0
141

Gov. Roy Cooper wanted to begin his administration as soon as legitimately possible, choosing to be sworn in just after the stroke of midnight signified the first day of the year. Had he waited until dawn, it’s possible the legislature could have slipped in another special session before he made his oath.

Here in the Old North State, once a proud exemplar of the enlightened South and now mentioned in the same bless-your-heart tones as Alabama and Mississippi, the functions of our government have devolved into the crudest sort of political game.

Cooper scored points for getting the jump on the clock, just as his predecessor scored points for playing it out until the last minute, with two special sessions in the 11th hour, each designed to score more points.

In North Carolina, and on the national political stage as well, the easiest way to score points these days is to paint the opposition as illegitimate. The belief that Obama was born in Kenya was the only thing a lot of haters — the president-elect among them — had to hold onto in the face of the first black president.

Here in the Old North State, once a proud exemplar of the enlightened South and now mentioned in the same bless-your-heart tones as Alabama and Mississippi, the functions of our government have devolved into the crudest sort of political game.

Trump, as a minority president, has already faced legitimacy issues due to his 3-million vote deficit on election night, and various conflicts of interest and outright violations of the Constitution both before and since.

McCrory tried to delegitimize Cooper using the charge of voter fraud. And when the State Board of Elections couldn’t find any, McCrory and his party delegitimized them by abolishing the SBOE and creating something new in its place.

The same piece of legislation literally made Cooper’s post less legit: a dramatic stripping of powers that seems to be payback for something that happened in 1989. Cooper, citing legitimacy questions of his own, filed suit on Friday, causing a judge to block the new law.

This game of legitimacy and illegitimacy is mostly one of opinion or numbers games. But oddly enough, the General Assembly that passed HB 2, SB 2 and every other heavy-handed piece of legislation is legitimately illegitimate.

The districts that defined the NC legislature’s Class of 2015 — and the one before it — were overturned by a federal judge in December.

That decision, naturally, has already been painted as an illegitimate action by an activist judge.