From time to time we may all encounter a little “craftiness". Defined as “deception”, it also lends itself to “astuteness” as in “intelligence manifested by being astute (as in business dealings.)” But an additional meaning shines brightly and continues to magnify the Republican controlled North Carolina General Assembly. That word is “chicanery.” “Chicanery” digs deeper and is truly the hallmark of current affairs. Defined as “verbal deception or trickery, especially in legal quibbling; dishonest or sharp practice”, it also means “the use of sly or evasive language, reasoning, etc. to trick or deceive.”
“Politician speak” isn’t new. When you hear a politician refer to language in a bill followed by “there was never an intent”, more than likely that was exactly the intent. This past week chicanery continued, but buffoonery closed in quickly. When Republican House Speaker Tim Moore attempted to throw crumbs at House Bill 2 opposition Friday night, he re-enforced what many of us already knew. Talking to reporters, Moore emphasized his ability at craftiness. “As we said from the beginning, there was never an intent to limit the right of anybody to seek redress in state court”, he said. And while House Bill 2 has several legs, its most sacred remained in place. Moore, the youngest person ever to hold the position of House Speaker, is surely an admirer of states’ rights. But states’ rights and Republicans’ definition of states’ rights have two entirely different meanings. One is aligned with the Constitution while the other (for Republicans) means absolute control. To legislate or defer, whichever is consistent their purpose. In Moore’s case, his reinstitution of residents’ ability to file discrimination claims threw cold water on a contract he and his colleagues have waged against North Carolinians. The intent all along was to sap energy out of would be claimants while making them jump through even tighter hoops on a federal level. And following a long tradition of state before federal redress, Moore acknowledged from the outset that his definition of states’ rights didn’t include its citizens. “Never an intent” will be a hallmark of Moore’s legacy along with the chicanery of a buffoon.