by John Grooms
Wow, our Brave New Bosses in the GOP-controlled General Assembly are truly a class act. I mean, nothing says Im a classy guy like publicly mocking the poor.
Case in point: state Sen. Don East of Pilot Mountain. (Yes, its the basis for the Mt. Pilot references on the Andy Griffith Show.) The other day, as reported by Rob Schofield of NC Policy Watch, Sen. East co-chaired a committee meeting to consider a small, rather odd bill. The measure, sponsored by Sens. Jim Davis and Bill Rabon, would repeal a state law that lets poor people obtain a waiver for fishing license fees. Since time immemorial, the waiver has been granted to people largely rural folks, mostly on the coast who are so poor that they often lack the income to sufficiently feed themselves and/or their families.
As Schofield writes, it wasnt enough for some conservative lawmakers to discuss such a hard-hearted and miserly bill . . . they felt compelled to yuck it up while doing so. When one senator tried to ask note: tried to ask bill sponsor Sen. Davis whether the current law was intended to help poor people get food to eat, Sen. East laughed and asked, Isnt it true that under current law these people can still use the food stamps to buy munchies to eat when they go fishing? HA-HA-HA-HA! That Don East, what a comedian, huh? Thats not all. Easts knee-slapper inspired the other co-chair, Sen. David Rouzer of Johnston County, to laugh and tell Sen. Davis that he didnt have to answer all the questions asked of him. Wow, kinda like having Cheech and Chong in the legislature, huh?
Ive written before that I think well-to-do people who make fun of the poor have stooped about as low as one can go, short of physical violence. Its the kind of behavior youd expect from some ignorant, hard-hearted brute whose own good fortune has led him to think its cool to steer clear of such normal human traits as empathy, charity or understanding. In other words, like Sens. Don East and David Rouzer. Congratulations, gentlemen, your dickish behavior has won you our Hard-Hearted Assholes of the Week Award!