PHOTO: White supremacists guard a confederate statue in Lexington, NC, December 2021. [File photo]

It’s all coming together for Republican officials in North Carolina, who by their actions seem intent on dismantling key tenets of good government including ethical oversight, transparency and education.

ProPublica, which has of late gained traction by reporting shocking ethical lapses in the US Supreme Court, turned its eye to the GOP-majority NC Supreme Court this week. In the investigation, ProPublica found that NC Supremes squashed ethical violations from two Republican judges — Judge Lori Hamilton and Judge Caroline Burnett — last fall, just before they ran for re-election.

Hamilton jailed the mother of an alleged victim for four days in a trial against a man for sex crimes against minors, and put her kids into protective custody.

Burnett got into a shouting match with a defendant, telling him to “shut up.” That defendant was murdered by a police officer in that very courtroom moments later.

After the incident but before the ethical review and re-election campaign, Burnett changed her party from Democrat to Republican.

Over in the legislature, Republican leadership inserted a clause into the budget that exempted all legislators from NC public records law. That means we can’t see their emails or texts, look at their calendars or have access to any data that informs their decisions made in our names.

Does anyone who is not a Republican in the legislature sleep better at night knowing that our lawmakers are able to act in secrecy? 

They’re trying to change campaign finance rules to help their man in the governor’s race, current Lt. Gov Mark Robinson, stay competitive in fundraising. This, folks, is how you influence an election without breaking a single law — you just change the law that was stopping you from cheating!

Oh, and they’re coming for your public schools.

With its anti-democratic practices, insistence upon minority rule and general disdain for any outside their small and shrinking circle, this is a party careening towards autocracy.

So what are we, those who still believe in the fundamental rules of our state and our very Republic supposed to do?

Remember first that they want you to feel hopeless. They want you to think that the deck is stacked and theory victory a foregone conclusion. They want you to disengage.

But the hard fact about minority rule is that there are always more of us than there are of them. So the best way to disrupt their scheme is to pay attention and show up when it’s time to vote,  bringing as many people as you can muster.

Until they make it illegal to vote, power still rests in numbers.

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