Memo to Senator Goolsby: You SERVE North Carolina; You Do Not RULE Its People
I‘m off to get arrested for asserting my constitutional right to assembly peaceably at the N.C. General Assembly and may not be back for quite a while. Y’all just carry on without me, jaaa? (There, I got both my Great Plains and Tar Heel idiomatic cadences into one sentence. The world shrieks when I put my linguistic lutefisk into that jar of boiled peanuts.)
Sec. 12. Right of Assembly and Petition.
The people have a right to assemble together to consult for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and to apply to the General Assembly for redress of grievances; but secret political societies are dangerous to the liberties of a free people and shall not be tolerated.
You’ve undoubtedly heard about N.C. Senator Goolsby, who wrote this editorial column in the Chatham Journal on Friday, June 7. A few choice excerpts:
- The circus came to the State Capitol this week, complete with clowns, a carnival barker and a sideshow. The “Reverend” Barber was decked out like a prelate of the Church of Rome (no insult is meant to Catholics), complete with stole and cassock. All he was missing was a miter and the ensemble would have been complete.
- Several hundred people [actually, more than 1,600 on June 3 alone] – mostly white, angry, aged former hippies – appeared and screeched into microphones, talked about solidarity and chanted diatribes.
- […] Never short on audacity, the Loony Left actually named their gathering “Moral Monday.” Between the screaming, foot stomping and disjointed speeches, it appeared more like “Moron Monday.”
Most of us here in North Carolina have a response one way or another to this petulant screed.
Here, below the Orange Swirl of Brilliant Chaos, is mine.
Dear Sen. Goolsby,
My great-grandfather, Peter Sorenson, immigrated to the United States from Norway in the late 1800s and eventually served, as you are doing, as a Republican state legislator. He had been a Lutheran minister all his adult life and also served as the county’s undertaker, general store proprietor, a farmer who established Liberty Hill Farms, and the owner of the area’s first car dealership. He worked hard for the state of South Dakota, championing rural electrification and other programs to build communities and strengthen the efforts of families to ensure that they and their children could be healthy, educated, and productive. He was a proponent of civil rights and social justice and understood the needs of the people he served.
My great-grandfather was an opinionated man with a great deal of experience with people of all walks of life. And one thing he never did in all his years of public service was write or speak about thousands of his constituents, neighbors, and community members as you have done with your most recent diatribe.
You call our rightful public assemblies “Moron Monday” and write disparagingly about those of us who have been trying for months now to speak with our legislators about how best to represent and serve us as the North Carolina Constitution clearly states in Section 12 (“The people have a right to assemble together to consult for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and to apply to the General Assembly for redress of grievances; but secret political societies are dangerous to the liberties of a free people and shall not be tolerated”). Thus doing, you discard the tone of a public servant and steward of the public and take on the mantle of a preening tyrant who rules with entitlement, imperiousness, and contempt.
Sen. Goolsby, you SERVE North Carolina; you do not RULE its people. Your job is not to ramrod through legislation that you believe is best for us; your job is to be our public servant in The People’s House, the N.C. General Assembly. It is your job to heed our counsel, to meet with us when we request it, and to honor our efforts to participant in our own governance.
One hundred years ago, my great-grandfather knew what it was to serve the people of his state with respect, dignity, and humility. He knew that his job was to act as a steward of the public trust, not create his own empire and then mock the people who take up their constitutional rights and responsibilities and refuse to bow down before legislators who act like petty tyrants.
Shame on you, Sen. Goolsby. Serve your state and its people. Obey the constitution of North Carolina. Be instructed. Consult with North Carolinians, and do not ever shut us out or shut us down.
We are the people of North Carolina. We take our governance seriously. You should, too.
I will be dropping off a paper copy of my letter at his office in Raleigh today before I step into the chamber hallways to be among those risking arrest for civil disobedience on our sixth wave of Moral Mondays at the N.C. General Assembly.