Life is full of ironies, and tonight the UNC Tarheels will play against Villanova for the NCAA National Championship. Winning team in a losing state. Oh, the irony . . . .
The Tarheels will be playing for the title in the shadow of the recent legislation that discriminates against the LGBT community and continues to marginalize the poor, is jeopardizing public school funding and limiting the minimum wage.
The legislation recently out of North Carolina, the so called “Bathroom Bill,” made changes to the legal rights of the LGBT community the day before an ordinance out of Charlotte was going to grant more liberties to this community.
What would the late Dean Smith, UNC’s legendary coach of thirty-six years and an advocate for civil rights, say? Whatever it would be, it would not be good.
Dean Smith supported gay rights and spoke out against the death penalty. He was known for his support of desegregation, and integrated UNC basketball with its first black player, Charlie Scott. In addition, he has held basketball practices in North Carolina prisons.
He, apparently, did not denounce or avoid those who were marginalized. Instead, he supported and embraced them.
Recognizing injustice, calling out hate, and acting to change it, creates forward social movement. Standing up to others when it is needed is an act of courage. It lets others know that you “see” what they are doing and are not okay with it.
With a portion of North Carolina up in arms about who will be in the bathroom with them, fear tactics have been used to garner support for the bill. But, seriously, with New York and Minnesota banning non-essential travel to North Carolina, people cancelling their vacation and business plans to the state, and more than one hundred and twenty CEO’s in opposition to the measure, it seems that North Carolina is cutting off its nose to spite its face.
Money is talking and the state is losing revenue. Lots and lots of revenue. There has been the suggestion that McCrory is reconsidering the prudence of the State’s actions. That would be a wiser course of action, it seems. We like to think that hindsight is 20/20, but with this administration, who knows? Ask them when the NCAA Championship Game is over. Maybe they will be thinking more clearly then.
Citizens, government and businesses are holding North Carolina accountable for its discriminatory actions. If the government cannot be trusted to do the right thing, it is reassuring to know that others are willing to step in and offer some tough love guidance and a dose of economic reality.
Of this, I suspect Dean Smith would be proud . . . .