Moral Mondays: Dragging Bad Laws Into the Sunlight

Moral Mondays: Dragging Bad Laws Into the Sunlight

When government legislates in private, the people act in public

Written by Ben Resnik

When government legislates in private, the people act in public. That is the message of the weekly, grassroots-driven Moral Monday protests that have swept North Carolina’s capital since the spring.

The actions began on April 29, when a small group (including members of Common Cause North Carolina) led by Reverend William Barber rallied in Raleigh to protest a divisive agenda being passed by elected officials in secret.

As officials inside the legislative chambers quietly gutted unemployment benefits and hid massive abortion restrictions in a routine motorcycle safety bill, among other things, citizens outside delivered a simple, clear message: Push a partisan agenda in the dark and the people will drag it into the sunlight.

Thirteen weeks later, that message has grown from a small, stubborn shout in the statehouse to a rallying cry for thousands of North Carolinians demanding accountability in their state government. More than 1,500 people reportedly attended the last rally, with dozens being arrested (including a 92-year-old woman) as they used civil disobedience to raise awareness of what is going on in North Carolina.

People aren’t protesting en masse just in response to the legislation “though there’s certainly plenty to be outraged about there” but to combat the misleading secrecy by which it was forced upon the public. They are responding to the arrogance of elected officials who ignore public sentiment to push their legislative proposals.

That’s why these protests are gaining so much traction in North Carolina and places like Texas, where the demand for an accountable legislature has gotten steadily louder: Every scoffing reference to “Moron Mondays” by elected officials further confirms that these so-called representatives have put ideology ahead of their constituents and need to be corrected. And until they are, protesters will continue to fill the State Capitol rotunda, speaking out against the divisive and damaging bills and the legislators who think they can force them through without consequence.