Let’s Define “Radical”

Yesterday I wrote about how outgoing North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and the Republican state legislature were working to pass legislation to severely curtail the power of the state’s governor now that a Democrat has been elected. As Albert Hunt (and others) reported, consideration was also given to “stacking” the state’s Supreme Court because Mike Morgan, an African-American judge, defeated a conservative incumbent, giving Democrats four of the seven seats. The North Carolina NAACP (headed by Rev. William Barber, leader of the Moral Mondays Movement) threatened to sue if that was attempted. The House Rules Committee Chair took to twitter about that.

Let’s start a response by pointing out how Republicans have now seized on the idea of “fake news” as a way to discredit any reporting that they haven’t sanctioned. Whether Lewis and his collaborators plan to follow through or not, the fact that they were at least contemplating stacking the state supreme court was widely reported. And perhaps it was the threat of a law suit that led them to reconsider. Of course, Lewis also throws out a zinger by suggesting that threatening a law suit is nothing more than a way to raise money.

But what really struck me was the suggestion by Lewis that it is the North Carolina NAACP that is a “radical activist group.” That’s coming from someone who has been intimately involved in what many are calling a legislative “coup.”

Let’s take a look at how Merriam Webster defines the word “radical.”.

a : very different from the usual or traditional
b : favoring extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions
c : associated with political views, practices, and policies of extreme change
d : advocating extreme measures to retain or restore a political state of affairs

To further explore what the word means, I’ll simply ask you to take a look at this video comparing statements from Rev. Barber with those of Rev. Franklin Graham (leader of a conservative NC activist group) to see which one sounds more radical.

The conservative activist in that video also tweeted this recently:

So let me ask you this: who are the radicals? The people who advocate for the poor and suggest that they will stand up if the legislature attempts to pack the supreme court? Or the people who launch a legislative coup when the opposing party wins election, say that all progressives are godless socialists and pretend that God intervened to elect a lying narcissistic bully as this country’s next president?

This is the kind of thing that messes with people’s minds. The Republican Party of North Carolina has gone off the rails. They then proceed to call people “radical” who are doing everything they can to protect folks from the train wreck.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.