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The Fault, Dear Brutus

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On March 30, as news broke of the fast-moving compromise between Governor Cooper and Republicans in the General Assembly, we published the elegantly titled blog post, "This HB 2 Repeal Is Bullshit and Roy Cooper Is Selling Us Out." That post later got picked up by The Drudge Report, which means we got all kinds of lovely fan mail. One writer, S.S. McDowell, who hails from Florida, took exception to the headline and made it kind of personal: "My parents taught me at an early age that if I use profanity to make my point, that it reflects badly on my upbringing, my education in expressing myself, and reflects negatively on my parents. The parents of the author [Jeffrey C. Billman] of this diatribe obviously failed him."

Actually, S.S., a study published by researchers at Marist College last year found that people with larger vocabularies of curse words tend to have higher-level rhetorical skills.

Of that same post, commenter Insightus wrote that "while I'm certainly not popping any champagne corks over this bill, I can't rise to your level of outrage, either. The proposed bill is a good example of what we call 'politics,' which is what we elect politicians to do. Cooper faces a legislature that is absolutely controlled by intransigent Republicans. Your article is notable for failing to suggest how he might have gotten more out of those ideologues at this time, and for good reason: because he doesn't have the votes behind him to do more at this time. So he has accepted a compromise that rights one wrong while leaving another standing—for the moment."

Other commenters are less forgiving.

"The Dems who voted for this fake repeal keep saying the LGBTQ community now has the protections they had before HB 2," writes FONCitizen, "trying to convince people that there are some locations in North Carolina with job protections and public-accommodations regulations protecting LGBTQ community members. This isn't really true. As this article points out ["Lipstick on a Pig," April 5], the pre-HB 2 protections only protect city employees and employees of city contractors. The citizens of these locations have no protections. There is no place in North Carolina where the LGBTQ community is protected against discrimination in public accommodation. There is no place in North Carolina where the LGBTQ community is protected from discrimination in housing. There is no place in North Carolina where the LGBTQ community is protected from being fired from a job outside of some city employees. No matter how politicians want to spin it, this being a step forward is just not true. Worse yet, the governor and his Democratic accomplices gave away the only leverage we had."

"Cooper and Democrats screwed the LGBTQ community big time," adds Natelue. 

OrionMaize argues that this was all predictable—and the fault of LGBTQ advocacy groups: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars. If politicians fail to act as LGBTQ advocates desire, the fault is in the LGBTQ movement (such as it is) in North Carolina, not the politicians. Since 2012, the professional LGBTQ movement in North Carolina has expressly and deliberately made itself a subset of the minority party (Democratic) of state power. Why would rational advocacy leadership do that? And if it did, why would it expect successful policy results to flow from a position of such complete powerlessness?

"When you do not serve your mission first, you abdicate any control of your mission objectives. This outcome was entirely predictable. A new strategy—if not wholesale movement leadership change—is required for new policy outcomes."

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