The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

June 4, 2014

Keeping the peace and quiet

Tuesday, June 3, 2014 — Note to readers: The Capitol Press Association asks that you read this column silently, quieting that little voice in your head so any loud thinking does not disturb our legislators.

RALEIGH — The anti-government party rolled out the guns again last Tuesday to secure the Legislative building’s second floor men’s room.

No fewer than seven General Assembly police officers, each armed with two pistols, guarded the bathroom from al Qaida terrorists, Moral Monday marchers and 63-year-old columnists who had to go. It was an impressive display of force that showed the world that legislators mean business when it comes to reducing the building’s water bill.

Or maybe police were there to enforce the legislature’s new anti-noise rules, a restriction established to stem the protests that just keep growing and making the state’s Republican leaders look silly and autocratic.

But no matter what House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate president pro tem Phil Berger think up to establish a conservative version of order in the building, the NAACP’s the Rev. William Barber outsmarts them.

The first week after the new rules went into effect, marchers placed tape over their mouths to demonstrate that they were being muzzled. The second week, they conducted a sit-in in Tillis’s office. The official reaction was to block my bathroom and nearby offices.

Barber is a genius when it comes to staging these events, and as the sit-in progressed he quietly requested that water and food be sent into the protestors.

Now, why people who’d been sitting for only a short time needed food and water so desperately, I don’t know. But Barber played it like a relief mission to besieged Bastogne. First, he asked permission, then he had a lawyer ask, then he sent in an assortment of preachers from various religions. The cops kept refusing, which is just what Barber and the TV cameras all wanted. Oh, the inhumanity of it all.

As the situation got more hysterical (quietly, however), I half expected a priest to spontaneously initiate a Latin Mass, drafting me as the altar boy. Dominus vobiscum.

Needing to use the facilities, I headed over to the Senate side where things were quiet, except for a group of lobbyists who were all breaking the rules by speaking loudly right in the company of Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake, who forgivingly did not report them to the sheriff. The rules aren’t meant to quiet big business lobbyists, just poor people and liberals.

Back on the southwest side of the building, the House was broadcasting its proceedings over loudspeakers so visitors in the corridor could hear the honorables bloviate about Memorial Day while the visitors, of course, had to whisper to avoid being arrested.

Inside the chamber, legislators were demonstrating their “patriotism” by recounting stories of American military heroes.

I bet the legislative patriots never saw the hypocrisy of praising those who sacrificed their lives to protect American freedoms while they established a police state right outside their chamber’s big brass doors.


Paul O’Connor is a syndicated columnist for Capitol Press Association and covers activities of the N.C. Legislature.


Text Only
Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • Schyler Martin As wonderful as Ireland was, there’s just no place like home

    I expected a lot of things from my six-week study abroad program in Dublin, Ireland.
    I expected to miss family and friends, I expected to see a lot of things that I’d never seen before and I expected, more than anything else, to yearn for sweet tea. For the record, I did miss sweet tea quite terribly.

    August 1, 2014 3 Photos

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Impeachment arms Democrats, doesn't end the Obama disaster

    Republicans may have grounds to impeach President Barack Obama but they would be daft to pursue a case they cannot win in a Senate controlled by Democrats. Impeachment would only drive the Democrats' fundraising and potentially squander the GOP's best opportunity in years to capture both houses of Congress then, in two years, the White House.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Laurenz Wrangling over pay for teachers

    RALEIGH – When the N.C. General Assembly reconvened in mid-May, there was talk of a short, efficient session.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    August 1, 2014

  • Patrick Gannon Two sides in debate about film incentives

    RALEIGH – It’s looking like the current film incentives program may be scrapped for a much different grant program for TV and movie production companies.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • D.G. Martin Read others’ views to be better informed, decide for yourself

    “I don’t read The Washington Post. That is not where I get my ideas.”

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Patrick Gannon This isn’t medical marijuana

    As state legislators debated allowing the use of an extract from marijuana plants to treat seizure disorders over the past couple of weeks, it was evident that social conservatives – there are many of them in the General Assembly – felt a tinge of unease about it, even as almost every one of them voted yes.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Friends and contentment

    Last week I made my annual trip up the mountain to Sparta. My friends have a secluded home near a babbling brook. Their home and property are a haven for peace. It’s a two-plus hour ride to their home that doesn’t feel that long because I look so forward to my time with this great couple. When I arrive, the conversation seems to pick up right where we left it the last time we saw each other.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thanks for the honest deed

    I would like to thank the person that found my wallet in the parking lot of Harris Teeter on July 23 and turned it in to the Albemarle Police.

    July 29, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content