Tom Zimmerman: Eroding rights

December 5, 2013 

The request by the Civitas Institute, political cronies of our N.C. Republican government, for records from Gene Nichol (Nov. 27 news story) is the latest example of political intimidation. Nichol has been an insightful and compassionate voice for our poor in numerous N&O articles, criticizing N.C. legislation that further impoverishes and disenfranchises our most disadvantaged neighbors.

With the mass arrests of peaceful Moral Monday protesters, we learned about undercover surveillance of the protesters, their being labeled as “anarchists” and McCrory’s attempt to dismiss the protesters as “outsiders.” Aren’t these the same tactics that we often hear about in news from far-away countries ruled by dictators?

These episodes highlight the critical importance of a free press that informs citizens about government excesses threatening to undermine the foundation of our fragile democratic system. When citizens are passive to such government missteps, we gradually surrender our freedoms to the whims of the powerful, until one day we awaken to the reality of living in a state oppressive to all.

Tom Zimmerman

Raleigh

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