North Carolina’s politicians seem to be unable to keep out of the national spotlight, from the politically gerrymandered maps to the surprise budget vote on 9/11. Now North Carolina’s partisanship is getting dragged back into the spotlight, with Democrats calling for polygraph tests, better known as lie detectors, on their Republican counterparts. What an embarrassment for North Carolinians.
The entire fiasco stems from what the Democrats are calling a “sneak attack” on the Sept. 11 vote to override Governor Cooper’s veto of the budget, as it was believed to be a non-voting session by Democrats, which Republicans deny. Republicans took advantage of the absentee members and held the vote amid objections raised by the few Democrats present. The vote passed 55-9 to override Cooper’s veto.
Republican leaders justified this by saying they would take advantage of any opportunity to override the veto, with both House Speaker Tim Moore and Rep. David Lewis denying misleading Democrats. It is important to mention, though, that Lewis did text a WRAL reporter that there were no votes planned that Wednesday morning. Also, Minority Leader Darren Jackson claimed that he was promised by the Republican leadership and Lewis that there was no vote planned.
For his part, Jackson recently took a polygraph test and is demanding that Moore, Lewis and two other Republican representatives take a polygraph test to prove their innocence. However, both Moore and Lewis have rejected this demand, with Moore saying, “I don’t plan to get in the gutter with Rep. Jackson and play silly games.”
The entire fiasco is confusing, messy and hard to sort out, but if there is one constant in all of this, it is that our state’s politicians will take any chance they get to quit doing their jobs and score political points. Both sides are guilty of playing a silly game of “he said, she said” in order to demonize each other. Instead of lawmakers, North Carolina has kindergarteners.
If Republicans really have nothing to hide, then they should just take the polygraph test, not for the sake of proving Democrats right or wrong, but to simply be done with all of this. They additionally could provide any more evidence to back up their words. Or, best of all, they could just not pull distasteful, childish stunts such as these.
Admittedly, this was legal. Michael Bitzer, a professor of politics at Catawba College, said it is perfectly within the legislative rules to pull a stunt such as this. Gov. Roy Cooper rebutted by saying that democracy works when lawmakers can rely on each other’s words.
It’s Cooper that puts it best. Lawmakers really should be able to rely on each other’s words, but what kind of a circus is being put on by the people who should be representing our ideals when they are just lying to one another? How can we claim to be any sort of a civilized society when we can’t get two political parties to exist as coworkers?
We should not tolerate this complete mockery of our politics that our representatives are pulling. We deserve better than this middle-school farce. These politicians need to act like the dignified and experienced representatives they claim to be every time they run for reelection. If they refuse to grow up, then it’s time to vote them out and vote in people who will actually represent our ideals and not waste our votes and money on disgraceful stunts such as these. It’s time we get politicians to start working together and stop embarrassing our great state on national television.