North Carolina has gone decidedly red in recent years. After voting for Obama in 2008 along with a democrat for governor and senator we have gone red; very red. In 2010, however, that all changed. Republicans won majorities in both the house and the senate. In fact, it was the first time that had been the case since the Civil War ended.
In 2012 the trend continued. North Carolina was the only battle ground state to switch and go for Romney. The governor’s race was, in essence, a rematch between the candidate from the 2008 election. Except the sitting governor chose not to run and instead we saw her Lt. Governor get trampled. In the state house? The republicans not only held serve but they extended their majority. To the point that they hold a veto proof majority. In fact, they are so in the majority that the republicans are able to submit constitutional amendments to popular vote without even one democrat agreeing.
I think this level of dominance is dangerous. Dangerous in the same way that I thought the democrats held control of the federal powers in 2008.
So far, the majority has taken to a little political payback. The democrats, predictably, have squealed, but to be very fair, the fact that they are not getting their way after more than 100 years of uninterrupted control is a bit of righteous karma.
As I feared the republicans are using their muscle in a way and manner that would be checked with a more balanced government:
Resurrecting last session’s bruising battle over the death penalty in North Carolina, a Republican state senator on Wednesday filed a bill to wipe all traces of the Racial Justice Act off the books.
The 2009 law allowed statistics compiled statewide to be used to prove racial bias in the prosecution, jury selection or sentencing in capital cases.
Now, in full disclosure, if I could have the “Eye of God” and be certain that the guilt or innocence of an individual could be ascertained with certainty, I have no problem with the death penalty for certain crimes. However, we do not possess this “Eye of God” certainty and, in fact, I have no more faith in the government “getting it right” when determining said innocence or guilt, or the sentence associated with that verdict, than I do with that government managing health care, or nutritional needs, or education.
In short, I don’t trust government all that much at all.
So when people tell me that the poor and minorities are subject to sentences of the death penalty in meaningful volumes, I advocate creating a law that has the ability to not change the verdict, but change the sentence from death to life in prison.
And the republicans are changing that.
And it’s wrong.