What if it there was an easy way to end HB2? A single action, a finger snap? A flap of butterfly wings that creates a tsunami?
There is — one action that would lead to a complete and immediate repeal of House Bill 2.
Let’s face it: New thinking is needed. Irresistible force (righteous indignation) has met immovable object (moral certitude). You can decide which side is which — it doesn’t change the physics. Meanwhile, the laws of political physics say the impasse can be broken only by the imposition of an outside force.
The force is this: The companies and organizations that have been punishing North Carolina start to reward Charlotte for having done the right thing in the first place.
It has never made sense for Charlotte to be included in statewide boycotts. Charlotte passed a progressive anti-discrimination law, yet has been punished for HB2 along with the rest of the state.
The animus for “Great State of Mecklenburg” is so great, it seems, that non-area legislators gladly ignore the statewide impact of HB2 as long as Charlotte’s economic engine suffers more.
So let’s reverse it.
It’s political physics: The impasse needs only a gentle tap at the right pressure point, and that pressure point is Charlotte. It could happen today. The NCAA announced last Thursday that NC will host no championships until HB2 is repealed. Imagine it amended its statement to add this: except for Charlotte.
The ACC could do it: Charlotte gets its football championship back, and the basketball tournament … but the rest of the state remains off-limits until HB2 is repealed.
Or that mass of CEOs who signed an open letter opposing HB2 — imagine they wrote a new letter saying they will now favor Charlotte, and Charlotte alone, for expansions and relocations.
This plan doesn’t punish the rest of the state at Charlotte’s expense. The cities and towns of N.C. would lose nothing more. They’re losing already — the General Assembly has seen to that. But if this works it fixes things for everyone.
And here, ultimately, is why it would work: If the cities and towns aren’t screaming about HB2 now, wait until Charlotte is given preference over them.
Watch the fur fly in the General Assembly.
That’s it: One act, one day, one vote to repeal HB2. All we need is someone — the NCAA, the ACC, the CEOs — to take that one simple action they should have taken in the first place: To reward the city that said everyone is welcome here.
Photo: John D. Simmons/Charlotte Observer