I started my delivery route just after dawn, and despite the oppressive heat finished the job in the early afternoon. I sped through my paperwork and was preparing to run myself through the shower and slip on my boots when I got the news.
The party at the Governor’s Mansion was canceled.
I should say that generally I don’t give a crap about parties, but this one was different. Believe it or not, I’d never been invited to the Governor’s Mansion before. And this one was being thrown by my friends at Indy Week, the alt charged with holding down the state capitol. Even more: There was a delicious irony to this shindig. To coincide with the fabulous Barry Yeoman cover piece that both of our papers ran last week, the Indy and Progress NC had rented out the garden in the mansion to hold an anti-HB 2 party, in effect rubbing the governor’s nose in his own figurative fecal matter right in his own backyard.
How could I miss that?
But then Gov. Pat McCrory got wind of what was about to happen — or he finally opened his Facebook invite and saw the details — and shut it down.
It was a total bummer, and not just because I’d be missing out on some sweet catering (the Indy knows how to throw a garden party), but because this is the type of pre-emptive response I’ve come to expect from the Republicans in power in our state.
This is the crowd that, when warned by scientists that rising sea levels would threaten the Outer Banks, passed legislation outlawing the way these scientists measured sea rise. When it looks like a Republican might lose a seat, they redraw the districts to favor their own. When teachers organize against unfair practices against their profession, they suggest a law making political agnosticism a condition of employment.
They rewrite the rules, move the goalposts, reframe history — anything to remain the prevailing voice in Raleigh and continue pushing North Carolina backwards, entire decades at a clip, while quashing opposing voices as if listening to the people they’re governing was not a requirement of the job.
That’s how you build an echo chamber, and a garden party with the Indy is not part of the playbook.
It might have ended up being a crappy party anyway — McCrory seems like one of those guys that makes people use coasters and take their shoes off at the front door.