Photo essay: Moral Monday’s mixed messages
Posted on 20 Aug 2013 by Matthew Tyndall
When I first learned of the #MoralMonday protest happening in Raleigh, I was intrigued about this grass roots movement in opposition of the very backwards agenda at the NC General Assembly. I wanted to know more and become involved, but became hesitant when I couldn’t get a solid grasp of what this movement hoped to accomplish.
Today was my first Moral Monday protest and unfortunately my expectations were spot on. For each one of over 2000 protesters in attendance it seemed there were just as many issues being advocated for.
There were signs for the legalization of pot, reinstitution of the Racial Justice Act, various signs advocating for NC Teachers, many signs addressing the Citizen United ramifications, anti-GOP/Teaparty messages, no fracking, a myriad of signs asking for a recall of the governor, and a strong push to repeal the voter suppression/voter ID laws. Nothing even close to unified message or agenda.
While the movement is gaining a ton of media attention, I’m pessimistic about how long it will last once we leave the summer media drought behind. Moral Mondays are on track to hit the same problems shared by the Occupy movement, with its laundry list of issues. And while the movement does have some form of leadership in the NAACP, how this could translate into any kind of actual changes in the General Assembly remains to be seen.
With the GOP making up more than 65% of the General Assembly, and Pat McCrory winning handily with 54% of the vote, it’s not going to be easy to make these changes, and attacking Republicans might not be the best strategy for the next election. The odds are stacked even further in the GOPs direction with the new Voter ID laws making it harder than ever to get progressive voting groups to the polls. The Moral Monday movement and the voting block it represents needs to simplify its message and rally around a cohesive set of issues to have any hope of making an impact in the next election.
In my opinion, fixing our new Voter ID laws and making strides toward limiting corporate involvement in state politics is the best place to start. If the movement pushes for too many of the more progressive issues represented at this week’s demonstration, they will be doomed to fail in 2014, with the ultra-conservative agenda continuing relatively unhindered for the foreseeable future.