Big Brother Raleigh is watching

By Andy Winemiller -

We all need somebody to watch us on occasion. Part of human nature is pushing limits and boundaries.

As a child you push the edges all the time. How many times can I get out of bed before Daddy raises his voice at me, or how often can I defy Mommy before she absolutely flips out?

Children need guidance. They need somebody to check them and ensure they have not crossed the right/wrong line too often and without consequence.

Most times, the role is filled by parents. Once in a while, however, an older sibling is the voice of rule in a child’s life.

In this state, if your local government runs astray, Big Brother Raleigh will have to step in.

Recently, the city of Charlotte passed legislation regarding the protection of basic rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

The law is much needed. It protects LGBT citizens from being discriminated against by Charlotte businesses.

I imagine the line of thought a restaurant owner who refuses to serve an LGBT member of the community is similar to the flawed thought process which made it OK to hang a sign which said “no coloreds allowed.”

Just as the South was a bit behind in coming to grips with the fact it’s not OK to make black people sit in the back of the bus, many people in the South seem OK with bigotry directed toward LGBT members of the community.

Of course, not all people in the South have problems with LGBT folks. However, I’ve noticed people down here see a little more “wrong” with it than those up north.

Perhaps, the “values” which lead one to bigotry toward LGBT members of the community are found in the religions commonly practiced in this area. Perhaps, they are derived from other thought processes. I don’t know.

One thing I do know is the Republican Party allowed itself to be hijacked by the religious right. I believe it started in 2004 when a number of state constitutional amendments were placed on the ballot in order to pull religious people to the polls to vote for George W. Bush.

Now folks who are supposed to believe in smaller government are advocates for interfering in marriages between two consenting adults and legislation making it illegal for a local entity to require businesses to extend the same right of use to LGBT members of the community.

Those folks who use the religious right for their votes control North Carolina government.

Now the head of the group, Gov. Pat McCrory, has pledged to take action to overturn the Charlotte law.

No worries, here comes Big Brother Raleigh galloping on his steed to steal some votes. Sorry, I meant correct this dangerous situation.

Part of the ordinance — and one of which I’m actually not a huge fan — requires public restrooms accommodate people based on which gender with which they best identify.

It’s for that “T” part of LGBT. It affects none of the other three letters.

The intent behind it is to not force a person who is of one sex, but better identifies as the other, to use the “wrong” restroom.

I think it could be pretty embarrassing for a man, who lives life as a female, to walk into a men’s restroom while wearing a dress. I think forcing that individual to use the men’s room would only serve to demean that individual.

Who wins in that? Nobody. Society doesn’t win. The person doesn’t win, and the guy who walks into the men’s room and is met by a person wearing a sundress certainly doesn’t win.

The truth is it’s right to allow folks to use the “right” restroom.

McCrory’s public safety argument against the Charlotte ordinance is hogwash. You don’t take rights away from those who are just trying to live life to “protect” folks. Democrats try to do that all the time when they advocate for gun control.

What stops a guy from walking into a women’s restroom now? The sign? I’m not sure.

Additionally, other places which have similar legislation have seen no rise in rape or voyeurism.

This isn’t about public safety for McCrory or state lawmakers.

It’s about the votes of the religious right, which has a stranglehold on my party.

What McCrory is planning to do defies local authority and is an abuse of state governmental authority.

McCrory, a Charlotte resident, should write a letter to his councilman if he doesn’t like the new law.

If they don’t like the law, Charlotte residents can vote council members out of office.

That’s the way a representative democracy like ours is supposed to work. I think it’s ridiculous for state officials to believe they can make decisions for Charlotte better than those in Charlotte can.

Big Brother Raleigh should shut his mouth and figure out how to appropriately fund education in this state or pass a budget in the allotted amount of time.

By Andy Winemiller

Andy is a staff writer and can be reached at 415-4698.

Andy is a staff writer and can be reached at 415-4698.

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