Issue #214

North Carolina’s civil war: The South’s prettiest, ugliest, most forward-thinking, most backward-minded, most divided state

They arrived, like their forefathers did a half century earlier, in buses, with small signs taped to the windows for the North Carolina cities they represented: Fayetteville, Asheville, Charlotte, Newton, Weldon, Wilmington. There were visitors too, with signs that said not from around here: A James River bus carried a group from Richmond, Elite Tours of Atlanta came up from Georgia, and there were two shiny Spriggs buses from Washington, D.C. They were here, on Feb. 8, for the “Moral March,” the culminating rally in a new movement that grew from a few dozen protesters for weekly “Moral Mondays” protests to a few hundred to these tens of thousands, a movement that has been gaining steam with nearly every stroke of the new Republican governor’s pen. One month into his term last year, Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill cutting unemployment benefits. By the time the legislature’s session ended in August, the state seemed like a new place. In six months, lawmakers passed gun laws that allowed permit-holders to carry concealed weapons into bars and onto playgrounds, and they slipped more restrictive abortion measures into a bill about motorcycle safety, and passed that, too. The state rejected Medicaid expansion called for under the Affordable Care Act, and 500,000 people who would have been eligible for benefits on Jan. 1 weren’t. And so the Moral Marchers came. Politico Magazine, 2-25-14.