It occurred to me yesterday that you and I live in a test tube. No, it's not some mixture of noxious chemicals, but it's just as dangerous.
If you step back from all that's going on in Raleigh and look at the big picture of what's happened to our state the past few years, it really comes down to a small group of people, led by Art Pope, that have used their money to push the Republican party to extremism, buy state offices, and influence policy. And all because they believe in a very particular philosophy on how the state should be run.
They believe that the state (and themselves) can benefit and prosper by limiting the role of government in parts of your everyday life to a point that it drowns in a bathtub. Cut education and privatize it as much as you can until it dies. Remove protections for labor and let the "free market" sort out the sick and unemployed. Take away checks and balances for ethics and transparency and put it in private hands. Legislate morality and one view of religion and Christianity. Only allow certain types of voters to have a voice and discourage "undesirables" from showing up at the polls. Let the middle class and poor bear the burden of taxes so that "job creation" can follow.
We see battles on each one of these issues everyday. But have you stepped back to think about how the agenda of the extremist Republicans in the legislature and in appointed positions in state government are attempting to reshape most every aspect of life here in North Carolina?
North Carolina's not alone. We're seeing the same experiment carried out in Wisconsin and other parts of the country.
The problem is that this experiment to bring alive this political philosophy has already been tried many times. We saw it with the "robber barons" of the Guilded Age that dragged the country into depression several times in the 19th and early 20th century. We saw it with the pre-Civil War South, with an economy based on slavery, cheap labor and immense concentrations of wealth and power. We see it in other countries - in parts of the Middle East and Africa - and witness what it has done to destabilize countries and economies and suppress minorities.
All of the millions of dollars spent on think tanks, so-called "studies", political campaigns, ads, and dirty tricks is all being done just to prove a particular theory about how the world should work.
And you, your friends, your family and your co-workers are all lab rats.
If we allow this experiment to continue, North Carolina will be a very different place. And, based on where we've seen this experiment before, we know how it will turn out.
Do you want to be a lab rat, poked, prodded, exposed to poison, and just thrown in an incinerator at the end of the day?
Are you willing to let Art Pope experiment on you?