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Stay and Fight

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Among the many photographs I've amassed over the years, I obtained a prized picture of the gravestone of David White, my grandfather eight generations removed. He and other family members began arriving in North Carolina around 1750, settling into new and difficult lives as residents of the British royal colony.

By 1770, North Carolina had an estimated population of just fewer than 200,000 residents, but the settlers had begun to shift from British citizens to the earliest American citizens. England retaliated to the spreading unrest with "The Intolerable Acts," which severely limited the freedoms of the settlers and helped, in turn, foment the revolution. My ancestor, David, joined the cause and fought for independence in the Evans Company of the North Carolina regiment. I've often perused records of North Carolina's participation in the war and found nods to those forebears; it's as amazing as it is humbling to see a relative's name on such ancient documents. 

In the centuries since the American Revolution, my North Carolina bloodline has produced farmers, teachers, businesspeople, and even a couple of writers. To my knowledge, we haven't had a politician in the bunch, although a few family members did represent the government by working as postmasters.

In the past five years, I've seen my pride and love in North Carolina tested. Zealots within our General Assembly craft and pass laws that seek to limit the rights of many citizens. Women have been told what they can and cannot do with their bodies. Gay and lesbian North Carolinians have been told that their unions would not be legally recognized. And now we have House Bill 2, the twenty-first-century legislative equivalent of an Intolerable Act. It is a regressive embarrassment and a prime example of "tyranny of the majority," which the founding fathers recognized as a profound danger.

Social media has allowed me to browse the pages of the bill's architects and their supporters. I'm appalled by so many of them. I've seen those who oppose HB 2 referred to as freaks, sickos, perverts, and other insulting epithets. Others have said that those who don't like HB 2 should leave North Carolina. Such arrogance is stunning.

My "people" worked to make this land into one these radical politicians are now using to exclude others. I hate it, but I'm not going to tell them to move out of North Carolina. I'll leave that sort of nastiness to them and, when it happens, invite them to kiss the rear of this North Carolinian native—and the 205-year-old gravestone of David White, my long-ago Tar Heel ancestor.

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