Brave conservative leaders in North Carolina, such as Gov. Pat McCrory and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, are fighting off well-funded attacks by radical activists over the state’s restroom-privacy law.
One would expect other Republican governors to support their North Carolina colleagues in defense of what’s morally right. Instead, as politically correct corporations threaten to punish North Carolina for adhering to common sense and decency, neighboring vultures such as Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal are poised to profit from the shameful campaign against that state.
THE NORTH CAROLINA bill was a response to a local ordinance in Charlotte mandating that government offices and even private businesses open their women’s restrooms to men. To protect the privacy and safety of women and girls, the legislature stepped in. It restored the legal landscape that existed before the Charlotte ordinance – that is, it required sex-specific facilities in government buildings but allow private businesses to adopt whatever policy they choose. Presumably, businesses (such as Target) that choose to abandon women and girls with unisex facilities will pay the price in the marketplace.
BUT THE POLICY of the privacy bill – which would have been considered unquestionable until approximately the day before yesterday – is now brandished by the left as evidence of hatred, bigotry, insensitivity, microaggressions, etc. The National Basketball Association moved its all-star game out of Charlotte. The Atlantic Coast Conference pulled its championship events from North Carolina. (No explanation from these sports leagues about why they still maintain sex-segregated teams.) And PayPal, whose founder is so beloved of the current Republican Party that he was given a prime-time speaking spot at the national convention to shrug off social issues, announced that it would abandon plans for an expansion in North Carolina.
The vultures sharpen their talons and prepare to swoop. Deal already has used his veto of a moderate religious-liberty bill to bolster his credentials as someone willing to abandon all principle. He was then asked early in the North Carolina controversy whether Georgia would try to attract companies such as PayPal that were threatening our neighboring state. While denying negotiations, he hinted, “I think they know Georgia is open for business.”
A man of principle might have said something different: “Georgia, like North Carolina, is a welcoming state to all people, including people of faith, and like our neighbor we’re proud to protect fundamental freedoms of both businesses and individuals. That’s one of the things that make our business climate so hospitable.”
But instead of that, Deal signaled to the left and to the craven corporations it so easily bullies that his god is money. If a constitutional right obstructs landing a job-producing business, then that constitutional right can and will be abridged. And if corporations demand unisex restrooms and locker rooms in Georgia? Deal’s conduct and statements so far indicate that he would happily cave to that. The little girls whose privacy and safety are threatened would just have to get over it.
THE GOVERNOR probably is pleased over stealing a couple of minor ACC events from North Carolina. He also brags that, because of his veto, companies such as General Electric, Adidas and Honeywell are expanding operations in Georgia.
But do corporations really make multimillion-dollar decisions based on innocuous religious-liberty statutes? Accounts in the business press suggest not. Companies considered Atlanta’s proximity to customers, transportation system and culture of technology innovation. Only when directly asked a misleading question about the veto of a “discriminatory” bill did one of the officials say well sure, we oppose (undefined) discrimination.
And Deal doesn’t mention two uncomfortable facts: first, that North Carolina has gained more private-sector jobs than Georgia has since the controversy erupted; and second, that Georgia and Atlanta spent enormous sums of taxpayer money to lure these companies – in Honeywell’s case, $2 million in grants and $10 million in tax credits. Could that possibly have had some influence on the decision?
VLADIMIR LENIN famously observed that when the last of the bourgeoisie is hanged, a capitalist will be there to sell the rope. To paraphrase Comrade Lenin, when the left degrades American culture to the point of no return, a Republican politician will be there to provide the tax credits.
Americans have to stand behind and support McCrory and others who, unlike Deal, are fighting for our values and for American principles.
(The writer is an attorney and a senior fellow at the American Principles Project, a policy think tank.)