the witches of east laurinburg


I consider myself North Carolinian – it’s where I spent the majority of my late-blooming puberty, it’s the place where I lived the longest, and it imbued me with most of my belief system (courtesy of Dean Smith, Frank Porter Graham, and Rasheed Wallace). Of course, one source of pride for all Cackalackians is that we aren’t South Carolina, a place where dreams go to die of heart disease.

In fact, of all the talk of the New South, we’re the only state that has done it right – Georgia tries hard, bless its heart, but its politics and infrastructure are positively vile. Forget about Alabama, Tennessee will only break your heart, Virginia is a suburb, Florida ain’t the South, and all of them have the motto “thank god for Mississippi” (a state that guarantees no other will come in last).

North Carolina has remained on top, economically and culturally, because it saw the future coming and actually did something about it. We switched from a tobacco-ruled economy to a culture that embraced Richard Florida’s “Three T’s”: technology (pharmaceuticals, IBM, RTP, etc.), talent (UNC, NCSU, Davidson, Wake, even Durham Klown Kollege), and tolerance (like Chapel Hill, Asheville, Wilmington, and most of Durham).

Sure, we have a healthy dose of moron rednecks, but so does New Hampshire. We’ve got our overprivileged white debutante country club families, but just look at Rhode Island. We’ve got the sun, the beaches, the mountains, and we were the only real southern state that voted for Obama. And believe it or not, we’re the only state in the South that doesn’t have a ban on same-sex unions.


my attempt at artily depicting our beach share, Duck, NC, fall 1981

Then along came this unbelievable hunk of shit called Amendment One. Crafted with the usual cruelty by Republican assholes running out of people to hate, the bill not only bans same-sex marriages, but also civil unions. When asked why the fuck a law like this would be trotted out while the economy is still reeling, Commissioner and outspoken twat Todd Johnson said, “If the moral and social issues of our country are not addressed, we don’t have to worry about the economic issues. They will not matter at that point in time.”

Look, I get it: the Republicans are out of ideas. They’ve got nothing left except epithets and think-tanks dedicated to making blacks and gays hate each other. The sound you hear emanating from Romney’s creamy-white ass is the cadaverous death-rattle of end-time farts.

But two things actually matter to me. First off, that fucker Jesse Helms has finally been dead long enough that it isn’t the first thing other Americans think when you say “North Carolina”. We’d rehabilitated, we’d almost become the South Done Right, the “light on the hill” that promised the best of all worlds: enlightened thinking with enlightened weather.

The other is this: no matter the outcome, what does it tell children when their government puts something like this up for a vote? We’re supposed to look up to our civic leaders, and they’re openly telling the populace that 10% of them aren’t real people? Maybe some of you conservatives types engage in this with a shrug, figuring as long as you distract people with one hand, the other can keep power and fiddle with your real concern, the business of money.

The end justifies the means, you think, and politics is bloody. Do what you must to win. It’s the binary age, digital, you win or lose, it’s all “moneyball” and stats.

I have to say, I’ve been tempted by similar canards on my side. I’ve reveled in how fucking stupid Michele Bachman, Sarah Palin, and Darrell Issa are, delighted in the perversely hypocritical travails of Larry Craig and Mark Foley, cackled with glee whenever I saw even a tangential benefit to progressive causes.

But the time will come when white, married, straight guys like me won’t have to stand up for the gays of the world; they’ll be able to do it for themselves. I hope they show you a little more mercy as you insult them from your wheelchairs. In the meantime, fuck Machiavelli, fuck your tacit approval of this sort of cynical bigotry. I promise you it won’t be worth it.

0 thoughts on “the witches of east laurinburg

  1. dean

    I don’t understand the anger. First, I could NOT care less one way or the other about the LGBT issue and will probably vote against the Amendment. Second, my lack of understanding of the vitriol comes from the following: there is already a statute in NC that says the same damn thing as the proposed Amendment. The Amendment also says the same damn thing as the federal law passed by President Clinton — that heathen Republican!
    The only reason to codify the statute into an Amendment is to protect it from Judges and to also make sure that gay marriages from other states can’t be recognized in NC.
    I don’t ever remember such anger when the NC statute was passed. What makes the Amendment so hated? I don’t ever recall any groundswell in NC to get the statute overturned. So, again, why hate the Amendment? I know that many of us can hate the Amendment on its merits, but shouldn’t the same hate have existed for the statute or Clinton’s law?
    The entire debate seems so silly and insincere ON BOTH SIDES.

  2. cd

    I am a North Carolinian by grace of birth and breeding, although a New Yorker for the past decade or so, and I’ve been watching this shitstorm with particular sadness. Bless the NCCJ of the Triad (led by my former DTH colleague Anne!) for their good work, and keep those donations flowing.
    On a separate note, I tried explaining to someone the other day about the very great differences between North and South Carolina. They had insisted on just calling N.C. “Carolina.” Moron.
    And finally, this is going in our cabin:
    And I thought of you when I saw it.

  3. Megan

    The question in Amendment One is not about marriage. As you noted, there is already a law in NC defining marriage as between one man and one woman. So that’s NOT the issue you are voting on. Amendment One denies ALL legal recognition and civil rights to gay couples. The actual language of the Amendment states, “Marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.” It writes discrimination into our state constitution and denies equal protection under the law to not only gay and lesbian couples but their children as well as unmarried heterosexual couples. It’s a bad law. For more detailed, factual information, consider visiting here:

  4. emma

    I am an North Carolinian both by birth and by choice as I continue to live in this great state. I have friends who are “moron rednecks” and friends who are “overprivileged white debutante country club folks” and also many Republican friends some of whom were supporters of Jesse Helms (these categories do overlap from time to time). I don’t know of anyone who supports this Amendment. The Epicopal Diocese of Eastern North Carolina at convention voted not to support the Amendment. I have received well though out emails from retired folks who probably are more conservative than our generation explaining their reasons not to vote for the Amendment and encouraging me to follow that. No one has asked for my support of the amendment. If people around me are supporting this – they aren’t talking about it.

  5. wottop

    I drive around mostly in Raleigh and Durham. I have seen signs in many yards against the amendment but only a few for it. Probably 10 to 1. Do I think only city folks will vote? No. But it does give me hope.
    Equal treatment under the law for all citizens must be paramount or we should just fold up shop and go home.

  6. Piglet

    “The sound you hear emanating from Romney’s creamy-white ass is the cadaverous death-rattle of end-time farts.”
    I love you just a little, Ian.

  7. No To The Amendment

    The Amendment is bad. I’ve been happy to see opposition to it from the unlikeliest of people on Facebook and been disheartened by ambivalent supporters or apathetic status quo folk whose ignorance about the facts make it that much more likely to pass.
    If there was ever an amendment that affected straight white dudes, then they might–for once in their existence–have some empathy.

  8. Megan

    @No To The Amendment:
    “If there was ever an amendment that affected straight white dudes, then they might–for once in their existence–have some empathy.”
    But this Amendment *does* affect straight white dudes. And their kids. That’s what people don’t get.

  9. Tanya

    Amendment One is simply a ploy by the Republicans in this Great State to get people out to VOTE on May 8. I guarantee you (based on conversations I’ve had WITH ACTUAL REPUBLICANS) that they do not give one luke warm shit about whether gay marriage is legal or not, but it’s the only social issue out there that can get the fat, dumb, Republican rednecks out of their trucks and Lay-z boys and off to the polls. The fact that Obama carried NC scared the crap out of the Republicans, and now they’re having to gin up enough fear and predjudice among their knuckle-dragging constituency to get back to the Deep South Status Quo.

  10. dean

    Tanya: If anything you said was true, then why didn’t we Republicans schedule it for November instead? And, if what you say is true, then why does the Elon poll show support at over 60%? Must be some fat, dumb Democrats too, right?

  11. Alyson

    I think Tanya is right. It’s a Karl Rove tactic from 2004.
    I’m not sure why they do it during primaries, but they did it in both primaries and the general election in ’04.
    Those neocons were wily.

  12. Scott

    They scheduled a vote on it during the primary because, at that time, there was not a Democratic primary for Governor, so there would be less Democrats at the polls…

  13. kevin from NC

    Actually, it was the Dems that moved the vote to the primary election rather than the general election. I wonder if they were scared the Pubs would pin the amendment on them in the general election and use that as cannon fodder.
    This is an odd bill and the Pubs even admit they know it will be overturned in a generation or less. It seems they have nothing else to do.

  14. Neva

    This issue really upsets me and makes me sad to be a North Carolinian. Not something I usually feel.
    I’m glad to hear Emma’s perspective from down east. That is encouraging. Unfortunately though what I hear from my Mom out in Salisbury is similar to T.J. in Caldwell County as lots of folks supporting it and when I drive into Butner just 9 miles north of Durham I drive right past a multitude of “for” signs for this amendment.
    Also, as Scott says Dean what I heard was that they scheduled this for the primaries because at that time they thought only Republicans would be coming out to vote (Purdue hadn’t said she wasn’t running yet).
    It’s hard for me to hear someone say they don’t care about LGBT issues. Yes, I’m not gay, but I have lots of friends who are (as all of us who actually leave the house to work must) and even if I didn’t I cannot sit by and watch human beings be discriminated against so blatantly.
    I truly believe that the next generation will see this as a civil rights issue that some of us sat back and watched and did nothing about (ie whites in the 60s who didn’t stand up). I don’t want to be one of those people so I’m doing what I can to educate folks about this amendment and fight for it that way I know I did at least a little bit to help.

  15. Neva

    Actually what’s really sad to me is how uneducated many people are about the whole issue here. My 5th grader and her classmates know more about this than most of the adults I work with who will just knee jerk vote against anything that is against “the gays”. Maybe we can hope they just don’t bother to show up to the polls that day.


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