Last week, I witnessed my friends and peers, students and young people from across the state, more engaged with North Carolina’s political process than anytime since the Presidential election.
As I woke up from a nap late Tuesday evening, I found Facebook, Twitter, and all the various social networks my generation clings to ablaze with activity as everyone was closely following the situation at the General Assembly, where Senators were rushing through a controversial bill (H695) about women’s access to reproductive healthcare.
I was glued to the online live stream from the chamber and found that my friends, no matter which side of the debate they were on, were also completely enthralled by the parliamentary procedure transpiring on the state Senate floor.
Despite all the tension and division in the chamber (and the online world) about the issue, one common theme was apparent: the tricks and deceptive tactics used to force the legislation through were unacceptable and undemocratic.
In an era where wedge issues do far more to divide North Carolinians than unite them, it seemed that many North Carolinians were unified in agreement that an issue like this should never be slipped through the night before the start of a holiday.
Nothing could be clearer the next morning. I watched as hundreds descended on the legislative building, on a weekday morning, the day before the start of a major holiday weekend.
North Carolinians were empowered. Democracy was in action.
Although the result may not have been what the activists desired, the sound of the chamber filled with the people’s voices is exactly what this state needs more of right now – an active, vocal group of citizens trying to hold legislators accountable. Nothing could have been more appropriate in the people’s house the day before Independence Day.
Those were the sounds of freedom.
Louis Duke – Communications Intern