Dear North Carolina: It’s Not Us, It’s You.

Y’all know I love letters.

And love letters.

But this one is particularly apropos as I watch, horrified, as North Carolina backslides into history through daily leaps and bounds.

Dear North Carolina:

I have mixed feelings about leaving you.

Mostly because I held you so highly for so long.

You seemed like a place where a southern liberal could find compatriots and a bit of that southern-style flair and hospitality I so cherish.

And, for a while, I thought you provided exactly that.

I grew academically in Chapel Hill.

I did my share of wine-fueled porch-hopping in Sanford.

I met the love of my life in Raleigh.

But the short time since the Republican majority took hold of both the House and Senate–the first time in a 100 years–you’ve become a shade of that state I personally held as the Southeast’s liberal scion. 

Now, though, you’re being driven into the ground by nonsensical legislation and a hyper-conservative government that attacks me, my family, and chosen family; other minorities–women, people of color, immigrants; individuals’ religious rights; and the environment. Just to name a few.

You’re becoming the laughing stock among your Deep South cohort. And, as a native Alabamian, you should know that some folks in my home state are whispering to their Georgia and South Carolina relatives, “Wow, is that cray-cray transferred by osmosis?”

So, North Carolina, I have a question for you.

Are you worth the fight?

Because the past few years I’ve done nothing but fight, march for equality, speak out against bigoted legislation like Amendment One, and rail against an apathetic majority. And, sure, there have been victories. But the severe degree to which you’re backsliding into history makes me wonder what the future holds.

I’m tired.

I’m done fighting for rights that other states, and countries, recognize as they should.

A life spent fighting doesn’t seem like a life I want to lead.

I want to focus on living.

Every single day over the past few weeks, my partner and I have been reminded why we’re leaving you for California.

Sure, Cali has her own problems. But at least with her there’s probably less likelihood that we’ll be accosted and called “faggots” for merely holding hands in our car while stopped at a traffic light; that we’ll be shadowed and stalked on the road by pickup trucks plastered with Confederate flags; that we’ll hear our legislators repeatedly legitimize unconstitutional, institutional violence and bigotry against us and other minorities.

Maybe I’m just sensitive. Or maybe I’m a slighted Millennial who’s experienced the recession’s pitfalls since its inception, and constantly sees my fellow generational cohort continually screwed through economic and legislative (in)action.

But my partner and I can only defend you so long before we acknowledge that your base does not deserve our economic contributions nor our innovative spirits.

We’re tired of reinforcing Battered Citizen Syndrome. We’re not going to come running back, defending you every single time you punch us, expecting everything to be roses and rainbows afterward.

We’ll do what we can to support our good friends who continue to fight. But know that they, too, are getting tired of your repeated blows. And it’s only a matter of time before your tactics to regulate citizens’ social lives in lieu of effecting positive, beneficial political change backfire–when you find yourself quickly sliding down that “Most Desirable” list, being abandoned by progressive companies seeking a home base.

So, my partner and I will move gaily forward with our lives. In California. And we’ll hope you’ll soon find a brain like Dorothy’s scarecrow, and actually realize that you’re aligning yourself with the wrong side of history. And that, very soon, you’ll know what it feels like to be a minority.

Bless your heart.

9 Replies to “Dear North Carolina: It’s Not Us, It’s You.”

  1. Oh Matt – we miss wine-fueled porch hopping with you! I see the handwriting on the wall though…time to move to a ‘real’ blue state. Colorado is calling me back…

  2. I just found your blog through an article about home decorating, and this entry is the first thing I’ve read off it, and it spoke to me. I too am disgusted by the state of things in NC right now, and have many dear friends who would have never dreamed of living anywhere else until Amendment One passed last year. Please remember that many of us in the straight community are with you in this fight and we are teaching our children that love is love, and that compassion and tolerance are everything. Wishing the two of you well in your new home state, and hoping that someday NC will once again be a good place to call home for all people.

    1. Hi Diane! Thank you so, so much for your comment. We both truly appreciate the strides every ally has taken to keep the fight going; education is so important these days, and it’s so wonderful to hear that there’re so many folks like you trying to make a meaningful difference. North Carolina will always be special to us, for many of the reasons I mentioned. Sometimes, though, life pushes you elsewhere. Here’s hoping for a much brighter future for all of us, and NC. Thanks so much for “popping in” while perusing for home decor ideas! (Ah, I love design!)

  3. Good piece,Matt! I think if the Supreme Court overturns DOMA but ultimately leaves it to the states on marriage equality that a lot of couples will relocate to the 9 states & DC where they will be legally married at both state & federal levels. They should of course mandate marriage equality nationwide but it seems highly unlikely. Yes, we have a ton of problems in CA but I don’t think they’re insurmountable. If Prop 8 isn’t finally put out to dry then it will be repealed by yet another ballot measure.(Ballot iniatives are the worst part of
    living here -Californians will vote on anything & everything!) So the Golden State will rejoin the others; meanwhile things look promising in DE and a number of other places. And our friends the Kiwis just passed marriage equality and the weddings will start in Aug. Good stuff all around!
    My mom is from NC originally and it’s indeed shocking to see what’s being done to the good people there; I hope the voters will realize their mistake and remedy it in the next election. You’ve fought the good fight and now it’s time for you& Andy to move forward with your lives. You’ll always have your memories of happier days in the Tar Heel State. Welcome to the left coast!

    1. As always, thanks a bunch, Mike! I literally laughed out loud at “the left coast”–never heard that one! It’s a bit disconcerting with the way things are trending in NC. But as I’ve written before, and as you mention, there’s a time to fight and a time to live your life. And we’re ready and willing to get on with things and have fun!

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