State legislators and the governor had very little to say about the Moral Monday rallies and arrests during April and May. At most, they told reporters they acknowledged people’s First Amendment right to speech and assembly, but firmly said the crowds would not sway their positions or deter them from their agenda.
As the crowds (and media attention) grow larger, the protestors are harder to ignore. Sadly, some legislators have turned to mocking or attacking Moral Mondays. Two quick examples: Sen. Thom Goolsby of NewHanoverCounty made headlines with his recent op-ed column that called the protests “Moron Monday” and compared them to a circus made up of “mostly white, angry, aged former hippies.” Rep. John Blust of GuilfordCounty compared the protestors to the “Cemeron Crazies,” a reference to Duke students who paint their faces and make continuous noise during basketball games in Cameron Stadium. (Stay tuned tomorrow for Gov. McCrory’s comments on the topic!)
With statements like these, elected leaders not only show an incredible lack of respect towards their constituents, but also reinforce one of the main grievances of the protestors: too many politicians in Raleigh just don’t care about everyday North Carolinians. Luckily, the active and engaged citizens committed to Moral Mondays show no signs of giving up. Perhaps they find inspiration in the reaction they are causing. After all, as Mahatma Gandhi once said, “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.”