LETTER: Conscience drove me to civil disobedience

Jun. 27, 2013 @ 04:59 AM

To the Editor:

Up until today, I have generally obeyed the law. I am a 79-year-old woman who has one traffic ticket in more than 60 years of driving and never been arrested. I am not an “agitator, "hippie" or “outsider“ as the governor and many politicos on the right like to believe. So why did I choose now to be arrested for civil disobedience during a peaceful protest in the state legislative building?

I have watched in disgust and horror as the super majority in Raleigh has cranked out one unjust and outrageous piece of legislation after another under the complicit nose of our supposedly “moderate” governor. North Carolina is one of 24 states with a Republican governor and both houses of the legislature controlled by ideologues dedicated to the interests of the wealthiest at the expense of the poorest and weakest. In the Tar Heel state, many of those elected officials owe their seats of power to a “cash cow” newly appointed to the influential position of budget director (Art Pope).

Ultimately I was so bothered that my conscience drove me to attend a Moral Monday protest on June 10. While there, I was much taken by a sign that paraphrased Thoreau: “In unjust times, the only proper place for a person is jail.” Silence feels to me like acquiescence. Since the number of people protesting and speaking has been met with only non-hearing and accusations from the majority of our Republican legislators, I decided it was important to do what may not be “lawful” but what is morally “right.” I remember Margaret Mead’s statement, “Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have.” So I signed up for civil disobedience. I hope Margaret Mead’s words prove to be true.

Judith Butt