We knew this would come.

The NBA announced officially last week that it would relocate the 2017 All-Star Game, leaving Charlotte and North Carolina behind. A statement given by the association cited that the “climate” in Charlotte created by HB 2 left the league unable to hold a week-long event in the city.

New Orleans, the game venue in 2008 and 2014, will likely host the event, but nothing is certain.

Well, one thing remains certain: This wound on Charlotte, on our economy, was self-inflicted.

Triad City Beat has reported on HB 2 on numerous occasions. In editorials, we have denounced every aspect of this dastardly bill. In a past installment of this column, I suggested that Triad colleges and universities and their parent conferences stand against the law. Yet, as long as it stays in the books, HB 2 continues to make monsters of us all, with countless newspaper editorial boards and pundits across the nation declaring us a state of hate.

And what are the elected officials who installed this insidious legislation doing to remedy the damage? Doubling down on their convictions, losing all their chips in the process and whipping off Rolexes and wedding rings in order to keep betting on a dwindling pot.

In direct response to the NBA’s decision, Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest released a counter-statement that North Carolina is “being blackmailed by a private business who is being threatened by a national LGBT lobbying effort, all to force North Carolina to open female restrooms, showers and locker rooms up to men.” He also predicted that “sex offenders and pedophiles would have had full access to our women and children in bathrooms around the state.”

Forest also posted his statement on Facebook, to which TCB Publisher Brian Clarey simply commented, “You’re insane.”

Indeed, an insanity plea is the government’s strategy. And if the definition of “insanity” is repeating the same behavior while expecting different results, the politicians standing firm behind HB 2 run a deli where they only serve soup sandwiches. In other words, they’re bonkers.

Let’s take Forest’s response as an example; after all, it contains many hallmarks of HB 2 defense.

For one, the “national LGBT lobbying effort” must be composed of businesses like PayPal, Facebook, American Airlines, Apple, Merck — whom we all know are collectively under the spell of the homosexual cabal. That is, you believe this if you’re paranoid and delusional. That doesn’t explain the all-American outliers like Fox, Bank of America and Lowe’s — even NASCAR, a boys’ club born and raised in North Carolina — opposing HB 2, but you figure those perverts shilled out the most pieces of silver to them.

Secondly, guaranteeing trans rights to use the bathroom fitting their gender identity does not allow men to assault women or diddle kids in restrooms. This fearmongering tactic ignores two facts: There are already laws against peeping Toms and assault, and trans people are not sexual predators or perverts.

They’re often sports fans and athletes, though.

Finally, Forest closes his criminally ignorant response with this noble statement: “We will never value a dollar over a woman’s or child’s safety and security.”

Except the almighty dollar is the focus of the lieutenant governor, Pat McCrory and all those miserable General Assembly bastards sticking to their guns in their steadfast support of this crime against humanity. After all, it’s an election year. HB 2 serves as the conservatives’ banner legislation used to drum up the base and remind the so-called family-values voters that they’re fighting the good fight against the liberal plot against the nation. And if you vote for them, by God, they’ll keep oppressing those LGBTQs, carpetbaggers and other weirdos, all while magically bringing business and prosperity to North Carolina.

But, if the continuing corporate backlash against HB 2 indicates anything, it’s that this bill is actually poisonous for business.

Forest wrote in his statement: “What is happening here is so much bigger than a basketball game.” Just the same, HB 2 is about more than bathrooms, perpetuating the discriminatory “climate” in other ways.

Section 3 excludes trans individuals from discrimination protection by defining gender as “biological sex.” But Section 2.1(c) — a real snake in the grass — bars cities from setting their own minimum wage, leaving them unable to raise pay independently of the state, stomping the urban working class further into poverty.

All this adds up to a bill that’s terrible for everyone aside from the straight and elite. And while professional men’s athletics tends to be a bastion of the heteronormative, I’m proud the NBA had the brass to refuse to play along with the General Assembly.

As Forest states in his address, “All of this was done under the guise of ‘inclusiveness’ and other politically correct buzzwords.” The NBA did mention some “buzzwords” in their official statement when listing some of their core values: “diversity, inclusion, fairness and respect for others but also the willingness to listen and consider opposing points of view.”

Aren’t these also values of compassionate human beings? Aren’t these core American ideals?

HB 2 apologists debase themselves in treating trans individuals as unworthy of equal rights.

A shining moment of positivity: The NBA intends to return the All-Star Game to Charlotte in 2019.

By then, HB 2 will be gone.

We all know this will come.

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