The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

June 2, 2014

Using government’s power to quiet dissent

Sunday, June 1, 2014 — Rep. Bob Brawley could be a poster boy for today’s Republican Party.

He distrusts government, espouses lower taxes, votes pro-business, and in the 2013-14 General Assembly he has co-sponsored bills on gun rights, reducing unemployment insurance and blocking Medicaid expansion. Other bills honor fallen soldiers and the Boy Scouts. In short, he’s your typical Republican combo: patriot and conservative malcontent.

But last week the 10-termer from Mooresville was as unwelcome in GOP circles as are the Moral Monday marchers.

He wasn’t arrested for “petitioning the government for a redress of grievances,” as the marchers have been; he was just kicked out of the GOP’s House caucus for expressing his views.

It’s a curious political contradiction that the party of the individual, of the fellow who pulls himself up by his bootstraps, of the independent business person who abhors government meddling, that that party has no tolerance for individuals who have grievances with their government.

The official caucus spin is that Brawley was talking out of class, sharing the inner workings of secret House GOP caucus meetings with the citizenry. Brawley denies that. (So much for transparency in our lawmaking, but that’s another contradiction of this bunch.)

Only Republican apologists believe that spin.

Brawley was booted from the caucus because he is a pain in the butt to House Speaker Thom Tillis and his leadership team. Brawley has been complaining for a year about, among other things, a bail bondsman training bill that he says will enrich the family of one key member and he has opposed the speaker’s position on toll roads. In both cases, he’s done so with indelicate language.

Come to think of it, however, what did Brawley expect? He should have observed a Monday night march and seen how little tolerance the anti-government party has for people who oppose their government. They write silly rules about making noise in the people’s building and then haul violators off to jail when they make noise.

Rep. John Blust, R-Guilford, who for years was a noisy protestor on the House floor about all things Democratic, and who only last year complained that the GOP was running the House using the same autocratic methods as the Democrats, is now towing the party line. The protestors make too much noise and make it impossible for House members to work, he said.

To which I respond with what my son, a high school junior at the time, who after spending two days as a page on the House floor, said of the noise and turmoil, “If we behaved like this, we’d all be staying after school every night.”

It’s not that Brawley and the protestors are making noise; it’s the noisy message they’re sending that the Republicans don’t want to hear. The anti-government party now is the government, and GOP leaders aren’t so anti-government any more. They enjoy using the government’s power to hush dissenters, be they Bob Brawley or the Monday marchers.

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

 

1
Text Only
Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • Almost half of America's obese youth don't know they're obese

    WASHINGTON - The good news is that after decades of furious growth, obesity rates finally seem to be leveling off in the U.S.. The bad news is that America's youth still appear to be dangerously unaware of the problem.

    July 23, 2014

  • Darth Vader is polling higher than all potential 2016 presidential candidates

    On the other hand, with a net favorability of -8, Jar Jar is considerably more popular than the U.S. Congress, which currently enjoys a net favorability rating of -65.

    July 23, 2014

  • D.G. Martin Where did all these new voters in North Carolina come from?

    “Voters born elsewhere make up nearly half of N.C. electorate.”
    So begins the latest DataNet report from the UNC Program on Public Life, directed by former journalist Ferrel Guillory.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Patrick Gannon Some light for Dems in their time of darkness

    RALEIGH – Earlier this year, state Sen. Ben Clark, a Hoke County Democrat, became a hero for a day among his party and environmentalists when his amendment to require more well water testing near future fracking sites passed the Senate. It even gained the support of a number of GOP senators, against the wishes of the Republican bill sponsor.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • mama.jpg What we get wrong about millennials living at home

    If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Maintaining hope

    Gardeners are facing challenges with the weather this year. It seemed like we were getting great conditions in April and May. The weather was warm and we were getting some good rains. Then sometime in June the rain stopped. It got so dry that I didn’t have to cut the grass. While I enjoyed the break, the garden was not happy at all. I was having to water quite a bit to keep the vegetable garden alive and growing.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jason O. Boyd I may be a bit behind the times, but at least I can find ‘America’

    I seem to be reading about and dealing with technology a lot lately.
    I  love technology and have always been fascinated by gadgets of all kinds and the wonderful things they can do. You never seem to go through an entire day without some form of invention enhancing your life.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Laurenz Meeting out in open helps negotiations move ahead

    RALEIGH – State lawmakers reconvened in Raleigh on May 14 promising a brief legislative session this summer, but as July moves along they are still in town and tackling big issues.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Larry's Sketch 7.16.14.tif They don’t give a darn for Duke University

    John “Duke” Wayne’s heirs are suing Duke University over trademark rights.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    WASHINGTON - For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 18, 2014

House Ads
Seasonal Content