The devil never sleeps; for four years the Republican powers-that-be in Raleigh worked and strained to have Pat McCrory appoint their sons, cousins, friends and contributors to patronage jobs – then Roy Cooper defeated Pat and, a moment later, temptation whispered, Protect your friends. And loved ones. If you don’t they’ll lose their jobs.
Only a rare legislator could resist that kind of temptation – Republicans called the legislature into session to pass a law to make Governor McCrory’s patronage appointees career government employees.
Then temptation whispered again.
Roy Cooper was also about to inherit Pat McCrory’s appointments to the boards of every state university; it’s a sad but unavoidable fact that appointing a contributor to university boards is a sure way to raise money – so temptation whispered, Why let Roy Cooper raise that money? Another law sailed through the General Assembly giving the Governor’s appointments to Republican legislators.
By then Republican legislators were looking like politicians instead of heroes – so they had to defend themselves.
One legislator tried to explain to the newspapers what he’d done wasn’t a power grab at all: This undoes power grabs, he said. By protecting patronage appointees.
The Democrats, other legislators said, had done the same thing. Look at what Jim Hunt did 40 years ago.
But arguing two wrongs make a right had Republican legislators standing exposed and vulnerable.
All the Democrats needed was a champion of their own to walk onto the stage to answer the Republicans – so this time temptation whispered to a Democrat.
The Reverend William Barber rolled into the legislature alongside his Moral Monday stalwarts and as the protestors, screaming bloody murder, were arrested and led away by policemen, Republican legislators looked heavenwards saying a silent prayer of thanks.
The next morning across North Carolina people woke, sat down to breakfast, opened their newspapers, stared at photographs of coiffed legislators and howling protesters, then sighed, A plague on both their houses.