It’s not us, it’s you, Gov. Pat McCrory and the entire N.C. Republican apparatus say, over and over.
It’s not that we passed a discriminatory bill in HB2, it’s that PayPal is a hypocrite that does business in China. It’s not that we believe there’s no such thing as transgender, it’s that Bruce Springsteen is a liberal who can’t even sell out his concerts.
We didn’t drive the NBA All-Star game out of Charlotte with our intolerance, McCrory says; it’s just that a Bill Clinton crony advises the NBA. We didn’t force the loss of seven NCAA championships, from Greensboro to Greenville; the NCAA just doesn’t care about protecting women.
We are all about common sense, HB2 backers say. The rest of the world is about political correctness run amok.
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Enough. A majority of North Carolinians has long recognized how misguided that argument is. Its inadequacy is obvious to even more people now that the NCAA has delivered a severe black eye to a college sports-crazed state.
Tuesday must have been a miserable day for McCrory. His stand in the schoolhouse door gets harder with each economic and reputational blow the state takes as a result of his and the General Assembly’s legislation. Liberal Hollywood celebrities and San Jose-based companies are one thing. But now his political miscalculations are forcing the Tar Heels and Blue Devils to play NCAA tournament games out of state.
The entire ACC might be next. ACC commissioner John Swofford said he personally thinks HB2 should be repealed “as it’s counter to basic human rights.” If the conference doesn’t follow the NCAA’s lead this week, it needs to clearly explain its rationale, which will be difficult.
HB2 drags McCrory’s reelection campaign down deeper by the day. That’s why there was some sliver of hope that the NCAA’s decision would finally motivate the governor to try to repeal the law, or at least search for compromise. That hope built for 21 ½ hours Tuesday as McCrory maintained his silence.
Then, nothing. Just his statement calling the NCAA a tax-exempt monopoly, ignoring the organization’s main complaints and begging everyone to stop beating up on the state.
Unfortunately, the beatings will continue, governor, until North Carolina demonstrates that discrimination is not official state policy.
McCrory and other HB2 defenders on Tuesday focused on the provision requiring people to use the bathroom of their gender at birth. But that’s only one part of a broadly discriminatory law. The core of the law bans cities from providing gay citizens basic protections, and eliminated such protections in Charlotte.
HB2 is about far more than bathrooms, and the courts won’t resolve some of the most offensive provisions. Only the legislature can do that, pushed by a governor driven by moral clarity – or the fear of losing his job.