Editorial: Both parties are to blame

Published 12:09 am Sunday, December 25, 2016

A monumental task lies ahead of anyone looking for truth in the rhetoric used to lambast the N.C. General Assembly’s failure to repeal House Bill 2. The simple truth is that Democrats and Republicans deserve equal blame for Wednesday’s lack of action.

For months, Republicans have resorted to unrealistic fear mongering to promote House Bill 2. Even as the state suffered millions of dollars in economic losses, House Bill 2 supporters stood firm. The economic losses were a political windfall for the Democrats. Gov.-elect Roy Cooper rode a wave of discontent into the Governor’s Mansion.

As losses from House Bill 2 mounted, there’s been credible reporting that Cooper meddled with solutions as they were being crafted. Republican leaders again raised concerns that Cooper played a role in the failure to repeal House Bill 2 on Wednesday.

Democrats said they wanted a clean repeal with no strings attached. Republicans were OK with a repeal but also said they suspected that a clean repeal would lead to a number of nondiscrimination ordinances identical to Charlotte’s. The lack of trust led to a moratorium being placed of the repeal. Thus, it no longer was the repeal Democrats desired. Democrats stood firm against Republicans just as the most conservative legislators stood firm against any sort of repeal.

So, where do we go from here, North Carolina?

The best place to focus is the economy. With millions in economic losses from House Bill 2, it’s time to think about how legislators — red and blue — are damaging the state by failing to agree to a repeal of any sort. There’s no need for political spin. Both sides have smeared a large stain on North Carolina’s reputation by failing to repeal House Bill 2.

In Rowan County, we don’t feel the negative effects stemming from House Bill 2 directly. Like most North Carolina counties, we have other problems to worry about.

While state legislators burn an estimated $42,000 for each day they’re in session, many families in Rowan County need an extra $42 to put food on the table.

There are leaders across Rowan County who are working hard to make our community a better place. Occasionally, we lose focus on what’s most important, but we’re generally moving in the right direction.

At the state level, our elected leaders seem to have lost sight of what’s most important at the most critical moment.

Our state is growing in urban areas and physically dying in rural communities. Jobs left and haven’t returned. Rowan County is inching closer to a full recovery from the Great Recession, but others are miles behind.

A daunting task lies ahead of any elected leader trying to truly improve the entire state of North Carolina, and coming to a bipartisan agreement will only be one step in a long process. Voters elected state legislators to improve the quality of life for North Carolina residents. Democrats and Republicans failed to do that on Wednesday.