I was reading the Jan. 21 issue of Charlotte Observer, and what a curious coincidence, Thom Tillis! First, your threat to resign from the Senate should your GOP change the filibuster and so allow passage of immensely popular and desperately needed legislation to protect voting rights. Then, on a different page of the same newsprint sheet, a heartfelt column from Black writer Leonard Pitts Jr. lamenting a return to the darkest past of our history titled, “Sometimes you can’t help but grow weary.”
Pitts offers this: “Prodded by stark racial fears of the political right, our politics became first shrill, then incoherent, then, one year ago this month, violent. Emboldened by a Supreme Court ruling that tore the heart from the Voting Rights Act, the right passed new Jim Crow laws designed to make voting more difficult for people of color.”
Nothing sketchy about Pitt’s comments. And there stands our junior senator from North Carolina, drawing a line in the sand implying he’ll no longer play if minority rule – by filibuster – is threatened and voting rights legislation wins the day!!
Thom Tillis, champion of democracy! That gives me a laugh. You, a well-funded darling of the NRA. A golden boy of the Koch family’s American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – for years the propagator of “model” legislation to eviscerate public education, the environment, access to medical care and voting, our justice system, and plenty more.
We recently learned your GOP deems the January 6 riot at the capital to be legitimate political discourse. That suggests visitors to your office — bandoliers of ammo strapped across the chest, assault rifle in hand — are permitted to break down the door to complain about gas taxes.
Yes, Thom, there are “legitimate problems that need to be fixed.” But they cannot be fixed if we cannot fix The People’s Democracy, now in tatters because you and your political party want it that way. This country can only work if it works for everyone. Being Americans means watching out for one another. It means caring for our precious right to help determine how our land looks and functions.
It does not mean turning neighbor against neighbor. Think Texas! By channeling the 1930s German playbook, you unleash a relentless blitz of propaganda, lies, and hate to do just that. In promising better lives to common people through derision, disrespect, and turning truth upside down, you shatter our opportunity to live as one country with respect for each other. That’s plain and simple cruelty!
And so it is on your watch that we witness a bona fide coup d’état to shut down democracy for all time. Nor is it much different at home. Your Senate office phone message touts “the Great State of North Carolina” — while your old running mates in the legislature are hell-bent on seizing all three branches of our state government. None of that meddlesome balance-of-power here!
We can see into your souls, Thom Tillis — you and your colleagues. We watch you manipulate a movement that will do virtually anything to gain power and control, including impugning the integrity of election boards across the country so you can reverse election results in 2024. We see where you are headed. What remains to be known is, can we stop you? History tells us a thousand times over, that when one will do anything to gain power over others, the underdog will eventually do anything to stop it. After all, what other choice is left?
If asked, most would say we vote for representatives to fix what’s broken … quite certainly not to destroy our democracy. We the People want a fair, functioning, inclusive, consensual democracy … not the mean, selfish, dishonest, and immoral vision for which you and your colleagues so thirst.
A recent Sunday Charlotte Observer featured your north Mecklenburg County neighbor, Davidson coach Bob McKillop. A former player relates one of Bob’s mantras, “If you help somebody, you help yourself.” As in helping … not exploiting!
It’s a shame you don’t share Bob McKillop’s outlook, Thom. It’s a good bet that few North Carolinians would shed a tear were you to make good on your threat and go home for good. It’s a fine idea! By all means, go ahead and resign!
Harry Taylor is a longtime local activist and former Congressional candidate.
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