I don't like getting involved with political debates but my new home has dragged us all into a bitter one. These past few weeks have been rough for Tar Heels who don't support discrimination. North Carolina's HB2 has led to countless boycotts and protests that will lead to huge economic fallout. I don't think the bill's supporters are even considering the damage that will come from all this. Another group of people has emerged and like me, they are scrambling to explain that we are not a state of discrimination. These courageously loud voices want everyone - not just those who have been affected by HB2 - to know that we are not this.
I don't want to rail against these 82 politicians and their supporters for too long because that's a trough full of inconsistencies to point out. All I'm asking is for these people to think about who's really going to suffer most from you keeping "NC Safe." Are you following the protestors and the businesses that are demanding North Carolina stop this madness? Think about the hardworking taxpayers whose livelihood depends on people to visit. Have you even considered the economic impact of your actions on this entire state and its people?
Imagine a scenario like this: spring and summer come and for some reason, popular attractions like the Blue Ridge Parkway or the beaches are inexplicably less crowded. New film permit applications have disappeared and big names like the NCAA and Google pull out of previously established partnerships. Is it making sense now? Are you going to be as strong in your convictions when the budget pie is much smaller? With some exceptions, you're affecting people who probably never thought about twice about getting involved in this attack on one's rights.
Park officials or local business owners are going to lose their jobs, homes, or worse because of your personal convictions and beliefs. Instead of working hard to keep North Carolina moving forward, these people will find themselves back to the job hunt or worse, collecting welfare. Just to be clear to those who are boycotting my state, don't think that I'm using the plight of the common people to keep you quiet. I admire you speaking with those hash tags and wallets but keep in mind that most of us are with you. Trust me when I say that this is the worst distraction from the special places and people living in North Carolina.
Historic cities and quaint small towns are surrounded by gorgeous landscapes from the mountains all the way to the coast. If I weren't giving bigots and fear-mongers my time, I'd be happy to tell you about them. My life would be full of thoughts about upcoming trips to Asheville along the BRP or to Wilmington and up the coast. I'd love to ignore all this and play dumb but I must cite the legendary Don George here. He explains that a writer must "focus on subjects or places that especially interest you." Right now, I can't shake the fact that a minority of suits are holding us back and have to speak out against the hypocrisies of this bill by using the only thing that will convince people - money.
Above the beauty that comes from exploring life and the places it occupies, we have to treat each other with care and respect. We have to set examples for future generations that the world is not a place where bigotry and discrimination will succeed. Shouldn't we stand in favor of everyone and not the interests of a few? I struggle to believe that the 21st century still requires a group of people have to come out and condemn such atrocities, but it's absolutely necessary right now. The people of North Carolina are better than the politicians who passed this law who will belatedly realize the permanent damage it will do to our state.
We are not this.