By Rob Schofield In Commentary
NC POLICY WATCH
When it comes to the acts and statements of their politicians, North Carolinians have had, sadly, many things about which to be mightily embarrassed in recent years.
There was the spectacle of former House Speaker Jim Black taking payoffs in an IHOP restroom.
There have been any number of state lawmakers from both parties (former Rep. David Lewis is the most recent example) who have been forced to resign and, in some cases, go to jail for various acts of financial and/or personal misconduct.
There’s the recent Greg Lindberg bribery scandal that resulted in the criminal conviction of former congressman and state Republican Party chairperson Robin Hayes.
There was the Ninth Congressional District vote harvesting scandal that brought an ignominious end to the brief political career of the Rev. Mark Harris.
And, of course, when it comes to substantive acts, the list of embarrassments and late night TV fodder is quite arguably even longer — especially in recent years.
The list includes:
- the General Assembly’s preposterous effort to deny the reality of climate change by outlawing the consideration of sea-level rise,
- Rep. Lewis’s infamous admission of the GOP effort to gerrymander the state’s congressional map,
- Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson’s laugh-out-loud effort to unearth a monstrous commie plot in public education, and of course,
- the mother of all embarrassments: HB 2.
All that said, western North Carolina Congressman Madison Cawthorn is doing his utmost to leave all previous outrages and embarrassments in the dust by venturing aggressively into the realm of creating actual physical danger.
For months now, Cawthorn, a freshman lawmaker who’s yet to show any real interest in (or capacity for) advancing serious legislation, has been recklessly endangering human lives by spinning tall tales about COVID-19. He’s even gone so far as to crusade against the proven public health practice of wearing masks in public and called school mask requirements, quote “psychological child abuse.”
And, as you’ve probably heard by now, the pandemic isn’t the only area in which he’s promoting outrageous falsehoods.
Recently, he referred to last fall’s presidential election as quote “stolen,” described the people arrested in the January Capitol insurrection as quote “political prisoners,” discussed efforts to quote “bust them out,” and even warned of the possibility of quote “bloodshed” over future elections that Republicans decide are rigged.
This is dangerous and unacceptable stuff. Lies like Cawthorn’s are one of the reasons so many people distrust our government and are refusing the vaccinations that could have helped get the pandemic under control. And they’re also a factor in spurring on mentally disturbed individuals like the poor soul from Cleveland County who threatened to set off a bomb near the U.S. Capitol last month.
In short, in the seven months since he took office, Cawthorn has gone from a semi-amusing embarrassment to a genuinely dangerous one. All caring and thinking North Carolinians should be aghast and demand that the congressman put a sock in it immediately.