Children have to be told over and over again to do things properly. At some point, for most of them, the lessons kick in. How many lessons will legislators need before they realize they are headed down a path no one wants them to take?
Lawmakers continue their assault on nearly every government enterprise in existence (with the notable exception of incentives for big business). As of this writing, legislators have proposed a nice pay raise for teachers, but they’ve added the caveat that teachers must give up their job protections in order to get the extra money. That’s a protection may teachers say they are not willing to give up.
In the meantime, protests continue unabated, the most recent one was held in Garner last week, as teachers stood on a sidewalk outside North Garner Middle School to voice their dissatisfaction with the latest plan tossed out by legislators.
In Raleigh proper, the Moral Monday protests continue on a weekly basis. The people being arrested are pictured in newspapers and look very much like sympathetic figures. The converse to that, of course, is that legislators end up looking like thugs who throw unwanted visitors off the front porch. That’s not the North Carolina way of doing things, but then very little about this legislature has been North Carolina-like.
Republicans in the majority have the votes to do what they want, but in the world of politics, they should remember that what comes around goes around. At some point, the GOP will be a minority party and they will find themselves hoping for a seat at the table. Continued indifference to what constituents are saying will not help them win that seat at the table. The failure to work in any meaningful way, with the current minority, or to even listen to constituent groups with whom they have philosophical differences, will result in burned bridges. That’s not good for long-term governance.
Lawmakers would do well to welcome protesters into their office and engage them in a dialogue. Listen attentively and look for opportunities to work with them. That will win more elections well into the future. The current scorched earth policy turns everyone off.