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New governor could rock N.C.’s ‘Kingdom of GOP’
Monday, 06 March 2017 12:00
Special to the Daily Planet

I’m guessing that every one of us, at one time or another, has thought how nice it would be to live without restraints. No stupid boss. No mortgage.  No red lights. Imagine, doing anything you want with nobody saying no.

We smile at the thought and go back to reality. There would be big consequences if we did break out – like Princess Diana experienced. But more than consequence, I think we don’t take such thoughts seriously because this kind of big-deal selfishness would violate our sense of right and wrong.  Restraints, in fact, support our good character. 

Businesspeople without restraint often lose out to money lust. But they only cause harm to the company and to their souls. Far greater, in my opinion, is the terrible pull of political power. We see people of sterling character set aside their principles when they know they won’t be held accountable by their constituents. They cause harm to us all. 

James Madison (slightly paraphrased) had something to say about that:

“When the majority has schemes of oppression, popular government enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens. If this impulse and the opportunity be allowed to coincide, we well know that neither moral nor religious motives can be relied on as an adequate control.”

Was Madison looking ahead 223 years to Raleigh, N.C.?

We watched Madison’s words come true in our General Assembly. Republican “scheme of oppression” coincided with “opportunity,” and “the rights of others” were discounted as inconvenient.

Campaigning in 2010, Republicans promised their economic plan would bring back prosperity. And they campaigned as Christian warriors ready to fight the evils of Raleigh. 

And Madison was right. The Kingdom of GOD became the Kingdom of GOP.  As they began marching to Zion, they realized, Hey, this legislature gig is something I think I’d like to keep doing permanently.

Their first act was to set legislative and congressional district boundaries so they will be in power forever (absent Supreme Court action). Votes of the people don’t matter anymore. Outcomes are predetermined. No more worries about the silly voters.   

The world’s authority on elections wrote in the Raleigh News & Observer last December: “North Carolina is not only the worst state in the USA for unfair districting but the worst entity in the world ever analyzed by the Electoral Integrity Project.”  (Google “no longer democracy Reynolds”)

Democracy didn’t come down to us from God; it’s a man-made idea. So, for the Raleigh Righteous, crushing the will of the people can’t be called a sin. But it’s not exactly the Sermon on the Mount either.  The extreme gerrymander they contrived displays outrageous greed and lust. And in addition, they covered their machinations with deceptions and outright lies.

After the 2012 election, they were truly unrestrained. Oh, the sweet taste of POW-WER!  In broad daylight – so blatant that courts slapped them down – they passed a sweeping voter suppression law to inconvenience Democratic voters. And they got really mean with liberal cities. Any town, any school board, anybody in the state they wanted to squash, splat!

What was it James Madison said again? Oh yes: When the majority has schemes of oppression and opportunity, neither moral nor religious motives can be relied on as an adequate control. 

I have one question that arches over all this incredible arrogance:  How is it that ALL Republicans in the General Assembly, most of whom are evangelical Christians, go along with this shameful chicanery? 

Apparently, from GOP mailbox flyers, the primary concerns of these Christian legislators are the twin sins of homosexuality and abortion. To conservative evangelicals today, apparently, these are the deadly sins of society.  And to Christian Republicans in Raleigh, then, greed for power isn’t greed for power. Whatever it takes to oppose homosexuality and abortion is justified before God.

Abraham Lincoln said: “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

That’s the intent of this column. Christian Republicans in Raleigh haven’t done very well so far. With a new governor, they have a new chance to have spacious hearts.  May it be so.

Lee Ballard lives in Mars Hill.  For more of his work, readers may visit his blog at



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