Sometime in the mid-1960s, my grandfather took us kids to visit the then-new N.C. State Legislative Building. Memories of that visit are hazy, but I retain the vivid impression that he owned the place. Perhaps someone greeted him by name or maybe it was his posture: In my child’s eyes, it was his building. Over the years, I’ve reflected that, in an important sense, he truly did own the place and so do I.
Like my grandfather, I value my identity as a citizen, appreciating its privileges as well as its responsibilities. I have taken seriously the duties and responsibilities of citizenship.
Thanks to House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger’s special session to curtail the governor’s powers, though, I now realize my sense of efficacy was mere illusion. Unlike my grandfather, I no longer feel ownership in the North Carolina government. There is no citizenship here anymore.
We are consumers and only those with money can afford to get what they want from this state government. Americans for Prosperity apparently owns it now.
I am savvy enough to realize that when dedicated citizens as I aspired to be no longer feel efficacious, North Carolina ceases to be governed as a democracy. My question to Moore and Berger is, what do they intend to call this system they have wrought?
Ellen Massenburg Beidler