Yesterday’s HKonJ Moral March on Raleigh drew tens of thousands protesting HB2 and reckless governance at both our state and national levels, emphasizing citizens’ moral duty to stand against immoral and unconstitutional actions.  This is the 11th year of the annual march, coordinated by our state’s NAACP.
What’s at stake in our state?
The law excludes sexual orientation from its list of population categories protected from discrimination, AND declares that its articles “supersede and preempt any ordinance, regulation, resolution, or policy adopted or imposed by a unit of local government or other political subdivision of the State that regulates or imposes any requirement,” in other words only the state decides who gets protection and no county, town, or city, may now expand civil rights to the LGBTQ community.
HB2 follows an ironic pattern from our Republican lawmakers who resent being ‘told by Washington’ what states can and cannot do, then become proscriptive in Raleigh and tell municipalities and counties what they can and cannot do.  To wit, no county, town, or city may deviate from Raleigh’s official position on the minimum wage; the “Wage and Hour Act” article within HB2 relies on the “police power of the State” to supersede “any ordinance, regulation, resolution, or policy adopted or imposed by a unit of local government or other political subdivision of the State” when it comes to regulating “the wage levels of employees, hours of labor, payment of earned wages, benefits, leave, or well-being of minors in the workforce.”  Imagine the reaction of these  alleged small government advocates if such a directive came from the federal level to the states.  When it comes to government mandates, what is sauce for the goose is apparently not sauce for the gander, in their lawmaking perceptions.
Economic costs to our state have been well-documented, as employers and institutions, from the ACC and NCAA to PayPal and many more, are choosing to locate in states less enthusiastic about blatant discrimination based on sexual orientation.  Republicans in Raleigh declined their opportunity to repeal this punishing bill, even when Charlotte rolled over and repealed their local attempt to vanquish sexual orientation discrimination.  Charlotte’s anti-discrimination ordinance extending civil rights to the LGBTQ community was the alleged trigger of an emergency special session in which HB2 was hastily constructed in the first place.  Republicans responded to Charlotte’s repeal with an HB2 repeal bill that included a renewable 6-month moratorium against local non-discrimination ordinances, instead of a clean repeal.  The moratorium killed the repeal bill in Raleigh.  Politics over principle.
Yesterday was also the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, a potent reminder of why we all need to eradicate discrimination, in both investment and in access to educational, professional, and social opportunities.  Celebrating the heroines of “Hidden Figures” and other marginalized female contributors to science should inspire us to expand opportunity, support mentoring, and institutionalize equity.
Consider North Carolina’s resistance movement from a scientific perspective.  
What do the data tell us?
Clinton voters: 2,189,316 (46.2%)
Trump voters: 2,362,631 (49.8%)
‘Other’ voters: 189,617 (4.0%)
Ross voters: 2,128,165 (45.37%)
Burr voters: 2,395,376 (51.06%)
‘Other’ voters: 176,592 (3.57%)
Iredell County 2016 Presidential results:
Clinton voters: 24,734 (29.96%)
Trump voters: 54,754 (66.31%)
‘Other’ voters: 3,079 (3.73%)
Ross voters: 24,187 (29.66%)
Burr voters: 53,125 (65.14%)
‘Other’ voters: 4,248 (5.21%)
We need to spend time learning the lessons these numbers can teach us.

Many people believe that North Carolina is a battleground state and if so, then unaffiliated voters are critical to a winning campaign.

Who are the unaffiliated voters here in North Carolina?  We are growing.  From 2012 to 2016, the number of registered Democratic voters dropped by 72,919 voters, the number of registered Republican voters rose by 44,198, and the number of registered Libertarian voters rose by 14,398, while the number of registered Unaffiliated voters increased by 361,575.  We are exhausted and repelled by politicians who place party over principle, no matter the party.

Keep the faith.  Hold up the sky!