Given all the other news coverage of Moral Mondays, you might have missed this interview with William Barber in the American Prospect. It’s worth reading for two reasons:
…In [Governor’s McCrory’s] first week in office, something happens that we deem immoral and extreme…We had to have a moral challenge because these policies they were passing, in rapid-fire, were constitutionally inconsistent, morally indefensible, and economically insane.
There’s a lot here in this section. Essentially, it sums up Barber’s justification for mass lawbreaking. So I’d like to pick this apart a little bit, sentence by sentence.
…Something happens that we deem immoral and extreme.
It’s funny how the plural pronoun can be used to gain credibility and distance at the same time. If you say, “I deemed this to be immoral and extreme,” your credibility comes under scrutiny. But if you say “We deemed this to be immoral and extreme,” suddenly you are both unassailable and disassociated from ownership or responsibility.
But it bears asking – who is Reverend Barber to “deem” anything? Is he an elected official? Was he elevated by the ballot box to a position of trust and authority? No – he was not.
We had to have a moral challenge because these policies they were passing…were constitutionally inconsistent, morally indefensible, and economically insane.
Apparently the majority of North Carolina does not agree, seeing as they picked these officials to enact exactly those policies.
Now, I’m not saying the majority is always right. As I’ve said earlier, people have a sacred right to dissent and protest in this country. But Barber is not just protesting. He is encouraging people to disrupt and break the system. It is one thing to protest in a city park, or on a public street. But that’s not what Moral Mondays are. Instead, protestors are intentionally breaking the law in order to arrested and bring more media attention to their cause. In the process, they are wreaking havoc on the Wake County criminal justice system.
Here’s another part of Barber’s interview that is worthy of closer scrutiny:
We just delivered a letter to the governor and the speaker saying, you’ve got the power to stop this. Just reconsider your attacks on Medicaid, voting rights, the unemployed, and the poor. If you don’t, then we will probably escalate in some ways – I’m not going to say how – because what they’re not going to do is live in peace while they hurt so many people and destroy so many lives.
That sounds awfully close to a threat. It sounds awfully close to coercion. It sounds awfully close to holding a metaphorical gun to the heads of elected officials and forcing them to execute the will of an unelected and tiny minority – or else.
To use one of the Rev. Barber’s favorite phrases: “That’s immoral. That’s extreme.”