Randy Riddle’s letter, printed below, was sent directly to Gov. Roy Cooper in Raleigh, N.C. as well as qnotes and several organizations in North Carolina. Many people seemed to feel that it expresses valid criticism of the governor and his support of HB142, the HB2 “repeal” that left much of the discriminatory law still in place.
qnotes reached out to the governor’s office in the hopes of an interview with Gov. Cooper. After several emails and a number of voice mails, Deputy Press Secretary Samantha Cole responded with a two-sentence statement:
“Governor Cooper has said that the compromise to repeal HB2 was the first step but that it cannot be the last step. It was not his preferred solution, but now he is focused on fighting for statewide protections for LGBT North Carolinians.”
Many points brought up by disappointed Riddle are not addressed by this statement. Further messages to the governor’s office elicited no response as of press time.
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Enclosed, please ﬁnd, the remnants of my voter registration card. You’ll notice it has been run through a cross-cut shredder.
Today, I submitted the form to my local elections board to cancel my registration as a North Carolina voter after reading of your support for the so-called HB2 “compromise” bill.
I’ve been registered to vote in the state since the early 1990s. I’ve attended fundraisers and events. I’ve lobbied for liberal NC candidates and causes online and in letters to the editor. I’ve worked to encourage normally apathetic friends and acquaintances to register and vote.
A few years ago, during the Amendment One debacle, I changed my registration from Democratic to Unafﬁliated. At that time, I saw it as a personal protest against a party that seemed to be willing to talk equal rights to get LGBT votes, but simply curled up in a helpless mess when they actually had to stand for them. It was my personal protest against a lack of leadership and vision within the NC Democratic Party.
I was willing to give NC Democratic Party leaders more time to ﬁnd a uniﬁed voice on LGBT issues.
With your roll in the homophobic mud with Phil Berger and Tim Moore, you have demonstrated that the Democratic Party of NC simply is really no choice at all — it is just as corrupt and willing as the Republicans to sell out the citizens of NC for appearances and political expediency.
I felt reluctant voting for you in the primary and general election. I remembered how, in late 2015, you agreed with Pat McCrory on “pausing” the settlement of Syrian refugees in the state, supporting the unfounded rhetoric of right-wing extremists, willing to use the battle cry of “terrorism” and the fear of brown-faced foreigners to promote bigotry and intolerance.
I put those concerns aside and supported you because of your promise to eliminate HB2.
You were willing to throw Syrian refugees under the bus. Now, it’s clear you were more than willing to sell out the state’s LGBTs when the time was right.
Who will be discarded the next time for political convenience? NC’s African-Americans? Muslims? Women? Schoolchildren? Senior citizens? Our nationally ranked UNC campus system?
I have been politically active — and a Democratic voter — in this state since the days of Jesse Helms. I’ve seen friends die of AIDS because of the inaction of Democratic politicians. I’ve seen, ﬁrst hand, violence and discrimination against LGBTs, promulgated because you and others like you were simply afraid to do what was right. I have seen the leadership of the Democratic Party stand by — publicly silent — as Berger, Moore, and the GOP have spent years running roughshod over the basic human rights of LGBTs.
Rather than voting in the future in North Carolina, I will instead be donating my time and money to organizations such as the NC NAACP, Equality NC and the ACLU, that are actively working to make a difference in the everyday lives of our citizens, rather than trying to “compromise” with right-wing extremists and getting nothing except photo-ops and headlines in return.
I will avail every opportunity to remind others of what you — and leaders of the NC Democratic Party — have done to the the LGBT community and other minorities over the years.
In the primaries, I will support and work for any opponent that runs against you or any NC Democratic Party candidate that has expressed any support for this misguided, discriminatory mess.
I will be giving my time, my money, and my vocal support to the people in NC working for genuine change who keep their word and show respect for every citizen of North Carolina.
You will have my anger, my wrath, and my scorn — but you will never have my vote.
If any major ﬁgure in the NC Democratic Party decides to grow a conscience — and a spine — perhaps I’ll register to vote again. Based on what I’ve seen today, after decades of inaction and acquiescence by NC Democratic Party leaders, I do not harbor any illusions that a signiﬁcant show of backbone or basic human decency will come any time soon.
At least in my case, you’ve taken the vote and efforts of someone who is passionate and active about Democratic candidates and causes and simply ﬂushed all that effort right down the HB2 toilet.
As you hold the remnants of my voter registration card in your hands, consider this: How many other liberals and progressives in NC, come the next election, are just going to stay home, saying, “There’s just no difference between Democrats and Republicans, so why bother? Look at what Roy Cooper did with HB2!”
Why should I — or anyone for that matter — tell them to bother registering and voting for candidates that will simply screw them over at the ﬁrst opportunity?
After working for Democratic causes and candidates for almost thirty years, do I simply say, once again, “Just be patient. The Democrats will help us eventually.”?
I am only one person, one vote, and one voice.
But I say it’s time for the NC Democratic Party to change or get the hell out of the way.
Randy A. Riddle
Wayne Goodwin, Chair, NC Democratic Party
Jim Yarbrough, Publisher, QNotes