Editorials

5 reasons it’s embarrassing to be from North Carolina this week

The Observer editorial board

Rep. Larry Pittman, a Concord Republican, embarrassed North Carolina not once but twice this week.
Rep. Larry Pittman, a Concord Republican, embarrassed North Carolina not once but twice this week. rwillett@newsobserver.com

We love North Carolina, its people and its beauty. We do not love all its legislators. Every week, it seems, they do something to make our beloved state a national laughingstock.

This week was no exception. In fact, it was worse than many others. Here are this week’s top five reasons to be embarrassed to be from North Carolina, ranked in order from head-shaking to jaw-on-the-floor.

5 Republicans have for years shut down any talk of North Carolina joining 31 states that accept billions in federal money to provide health insurance through Medicaid to more low-income residents.

This week, a breakthrough: Four Republican legislators detailed their plan to expand Medicaid in the state. It would require recipients to pay 2 percent of their income toward premiums and in most cases they would have to be working.

It was not a perfect proposal, but, sponsored by House Health Committee chairmen, it provided hope. Its sponsors said the state would save $45 million a year while thousands more people would receive more and better health care, including preventative care.

Unfortunately, it appears the bill is unlikely to pass. House Speaker Tim Moore instantly declared his opposition. “The best thing to do for the working poor is to continue to grow the economy,” he said.

4 Five GOP House members this week filed a bill that would require UNC and N.C. State to leave the ACC if the conference ever boycotts the state again. That, Sen. Jeff Jackson correctly pointed out, “makes us look spiteful and silly.”

Rep. Mark Brody of Monroe, who sponsored the bill, said: “I don’t want to hurt athletics in North Carolina. I just don’t support this action that they’ve taken to go beyond athletics and legislate to us.”

Reminds us of Judge Smails in Caddyshack. He said he had sentenced youngsters to the gas chamber. “Didn’t want to do it,” Smails said. “Felt I owed it to them.”

3 New York this week stopped treating 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in its criminal justice system. That gives North Carolina the distinction of being the only state to do so.

There are bills to raise the age here, as North Carolina should have done long ago. But they sit idly, having not even won a hearing in committee.

2 Rep. Larry Pittman – you knew he had to be included in embarrassments to North Carolina – filed a bill this week to again make gay marriage illegal in the state, even though the U.S. Supreme Court has settled the matter nationwide. Pittman’s bill says the high court’s decision is “null and void” in North Carolina. The court’s decision, his bill says, “exceeds the authority of the Court relative to the decree of Almighty God that ‘a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24, ESV).”

1 Rep. Larry Pittman, Part II. Not to be outdone by himself, Pittman later in the week compared Abraham Lincoln – perhaps America’s greatest president – with Hitler.

Reacting to Pittman’s gay marriage bill, a commenter on his Facebook page said, “Memo: the Civil War is over. The Fed won. Get over it.”

Pittman responded: “And if Hitler had won, should the world just get over it? Lincoln was the same sort if [sic] tyrant, and personally responsible for the deaths of over 800,000 Americans in a war that was unnecessary and unconstitutional.”

Like we said: Jaw on the floor.

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