As I watched the “Moral Monday” display last night, there came to mind another blast from the past: Mayberry.
A recent news story talked about Mt. Airy, NC, Andy Griffith’s home town, and the model for Mayberry of TV fame. The town embraced that connection and used it to drum up tourism. But as television programs fade into the past, so do the memories that drew visitors. The town is wondering what to do next.
That comes to mind because of Moral Monday. The heroic age of the civil rights struggle fades into the past. But to many of the demonstrators, it still seems to be 1963, or perhaps 1968. But “The Andy Griffith Show” went off the air in 1968, and times have changed.
So the demonstrators chant the old slogans and the speakers recycle the buzz words of the past. But they have no new ideas or realistic solutions. I heard the Rev. William Barber, head of the NC NAACP, shout out his accusations about “we are right and they are wrong.” He ranted against the rich and said they were plotting to take from the poor. But the problems of 2013 are seldom amenable to the solutions of the past.
Consider unemployment insurance. I heard Barber rail against how the legislature was cutting off benefits for people who got laid off from jobs through no fault of their own.
But of course lawmakers aren’t cutting off all benefits; they are returning the program to what it was supposed to be. In extending unemployment benefits, North Carolina went $2.5 billion in debt to the federal government. Let that sink in: the program went $2.5 billion in debt to fund extended unemployment benefits. It’s not a question of giving people a cushion when they lose their jobs — it’s a question of paying for that cushion.
Remember, every dollar paid in unemployment insurance is money taken from funding that could pay for education, or better roads — or just to allow people with jobs to keep more of the money they have earned.
And extended unemployment could be a trap for many. It tempts people to hold out for a great job, but if they stay out of the workforce too long, their skills and contacts erode, making it harder to get a job.
We could also talk about how the Obama administration has bungled its job of helping the economy grow. But that doesn’t fit the Sixties narrative either.
Building an economy that helps everyone is a tough job. Just chanting Sixties slogans won’t do the trick.
Then take the slogan of “Solidarity Forever!” that the crowd chanted when they moved into the Legislative Building. Ah, yes, the old alliance of progressives and minority groups. Many of the chants and speeches hailed the links between progressive politics and racial advances.
But by coincidence, earlier that day a professor had provided a reminder of the progressive movement’s racist roots. Lee Craig, a professor at NC State, is author of Josephus Daniels: His Life and Times. Craig spoke at the John Locke’s Foundation’s Monday luncheon and reviewed Daniels’ life.
Daniels owned the News & Observer, was a staunch progressive, and was a political kingpin when the Democrats solidified their hold on power around 1900.
And he was an unabashed white supremacist, and was a force in the Democratic Party that instituted segregation policies. Daniels was also secretary of the navy for Woodrow Wilson, a fellow racist. As Navy secretary, Daniels strengthened segregationist policies there too. And of course the Democratic Party was a bastion of segregation for decades.
So the old slogan of “Solidarity Forever” is exposed as myth, like the idyllic Mayberry that never existed either. Progressives and Democrats abused black people when it suited their purposes. Later progressives and Democrats became all in favor of helping minority groups. But that doesn’t change the past. And what will the future bring?
The Monday protesters live in a Mayberry of their own imaginations. The things they protest are long gone; their demands are for things that could never be. The demonstrators would do better to face up to the real problems of today.
I love the part about progressives and the dems. I have been bringing up this point on the Policy Watch blogs and it has those guys all in a tizzy. They love to call me a racist for bringing up the bondage the government puts people in (even when that bondage actaully knows no racial bounds), but then do not want to own up to how their side has traditionally, and still does, promote discrimination and bondage of people.
It amazes me how much effort the Art Pope puppets at the Civitas Institute will invest to show how out of step Art Pope’s ideology is with the basic tenants of a free and democratic society, keep in mind these are the same people controlling the NC Republican Party and current NC State Government. Civitas Institute seems to have little shame in their quest for a Plutocracy style repressive government in NC complete with a majority serf class of citizens living in poverty without political power or access to health care…. editorial Boone, NC
The truth says
Andy Griffith ran commercials for Obama’s election.
I think “Mayberry Monday” would have Andy
spinning in his grave.
He would be appalled and ashamed of the wreckage of NC
Just wait until 2016
You are right, I doubt he would approve of sending the state into deep dept to fund an ever expanding welfare state, and cleaning up the wreckage is what is being done now after years of corrupt progressive rule for 100+ years.
Unemployment insurance is just that–insurance–which we paid for. “Free market” policies sent all our jobs to China and collapsed the stock market, but Art Pope wants to blame liberals. Whatever.
Let me understand: Obama has failed to make the economy grow and progressives are guilty of using old ideas. So the solution is to lower taxes on the wealthy. Didn’t George Bush try this and we know that he left office with the economy booming! Speaking of old ideas, putting money in the pockets of the wealthy was described in the Old Testament prophets and was quite severely criticized. You call this a new idea? You are right in that today’s problems need new ideas, but I have yet to hear any coming from the General Assembly. On the other hand, the chants and songs from the 1960s fueled major changes in this country and they are likely to do so again.
Keith Cutler says
What is the point of your article? I mean one could simply replace the word progressive with conservative and Democrat with Republican. Thabo touches on this quite well. What you and many righties seem to always forget is that Progressive does not equal liberal or democrat. And wasn’t the progressive movement first brought to political prominence by a Republican?…a man who looked at the plight of those taken advantage of by big business and was sickened…Theodore Roosevelt.
The modern Republican Party is just a front for Big Business and Big Church…the reasonable folks among us are starting to see this quite clearly now…and I wouldn’t doubt Mr. Griffith did too. The GOP pounds away at false arguments to take advantage of the uninformed and less powerful…and continually over reach their supposed mandate…so their “power” will never last for long…and the pendulum will again swing.
Rue the day says
And all in the name of their jesus—let us pray that they can bring this great nation back to their god. LOL NOT !!!!! these bible thumping THUGS would do effectively the same as the Taliban was aiming to do.
Go for it republicans. go ahead and try to impede, restrict, obstruct citizens trying to vote. the demographic trends are such that this will only speed your extinction.
AMEN AND GOOD RIDDANCE
Wake up people~ says
As for morality? Intolerance wrapped up in the cloak of patriotism and evangelicalism isnt morality, its the same sort of logic that justifies any horrific act as moral. Claiming to listen to religious leaders regarding abortion, and then ignoring them when they criticize republican cuts to food and basic care i would seriously call problematic as well. Demanding that your employer has control over your healthcare, i would call at least as problematic as having the government overseeing those issues if not more ( such as basic birth control devices not even abortions ).