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In My Opinion

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NC’s first priority is hushing those who disagree

By Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn writes television and radio commentary for The Charlotte Observer.

I am happy to report to you, dear constituents, what a good job we’re doing for you here at the N.C. Legislature.

On the very second day of our new session, we took immediate action on one of the most urgent, troubling and vexatious issues our great state faces – so-called “citizens” who come into our legislative building to voice their opinions.

You will remember that we had nearly a thousand of these maniacal kooks arrested and hauled away last year when they wouldn’t cease their intrusive vocalizations. Their behavior was abominable.

They sashayed into our statehouse and had the nerve to chant, pray and – believe it or not – sing “This Little Light of Mine” while we were trying to cut unemployment benefits and require government IDs at polling places to ensure that brain-sick deviants from New Jersey or Florida can’t sneak across the unsecured borders of our state to vote here.

I know every one of you knows how difficult it is to get anything done when a lawless mob is outside your office singing “This Little Light of Mine.”

It simply ruins the decorum so vital to the high level of genteel debate we are required to have with the drooling imbeciles of the opposing party.

And this wasn’t the preschool version of “This Little Light of Mine,” either. Some of these disorderly ruffians would actually clap to the rhythm of the composition, discombobulating our sacred deliberations.

Do you know how hard it is to get a generous lobbyist into a room where there is praying and hymns? This deprived us of their wise counsel when it came time to vote in the best interest of our constituents.

Every Monday this seditious rabble-gang would turn up. Are you in any mood to be sung at on a Monday? These contemptuous riffraff – including preachers, teachers and old ladies – needed to be dealt with, and deal with them we did.

For the first time this century, we activated the Legislative Services Commission and swooshed through new rules, without public comment or even a full vote in the General Assembly. Key portions of the Hush Out There mandate make it a crime to “imminently disturb” those of us dedicated to the open democratic process.

I know you hope as I do that we will never need to use this blunt instrument to maintain order. I know you hope as I do that these dangerous miscreants will simply stay away from a place they’re not wanted.

But should they return, I know you will want them to get what they deserve – a trip to the pokey where they can sing and clap all night without disturbing anyone of importance.

Thank you for your support, dear constituents. I know you will stand behind me as we face this disquieting menace of callous arrogance.

Washburn: 704-358-5007
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