The "What You Don't Know, Won't Hurt Us" Law
I have a question to ask you. When did a highly questionable morality become a prerequisite to hold a position in politics and when did we become so numb to it, so accepting, that we turn a blind eye when they manipulate our laws to benefit themselves or their corporate benefactors?
Okay, that’s two questions but, lately, it seems like a majority of stories in the media lately are about the failures of our lawmakers who arrogantly gambled with the lives of their people for monetary gain. Look at Flint, Michigan. Or Porter Ranch, CA. If not for Erin Brockovich and Michael Moore, we’d still be in the dark about those life threatening situations. We live in a culture where money rules all, politicians and lawmakers never do the right thing and Whistle Blowers are the new super heroes of our society.
Speaking of whistle blowers, a new law went into effect in January in NC that has me scratching my head. It was named the Property Protection Act or House Bill 405 when it was making the the rounds in the NC House and Senate. Originally, the law singled out factory-farm exposés but when it failed to pass because of resistance from several animal rights activists, they re-worded the bill to make it comparable to everyone. Meaning, anyone who disobeys this so-called law by taping abuses of elderly patients, children in daycare, or farm animals while at work and then share evidence with the authorities or media — can be sued by their employer for bad publicity and be required to pay a five thousand dollar fine for each day they recorded. How bad can the law be, you ask? Well, Governor Pat McCrory, a man, I believe, of questionable ethics and motivations, vetoed the Bill because he believed it make it too difficult for employees to come forward to report unlawful activity by their employers. A guy who has been accused of allegedly creating and/or manipulating legislation for his campaign donors, thought this law was too unethical to pass. This would be laughable if it wasn't so freakin sad. Also, it should be noted that this marked the first, and possibly only, selfless act of his tenure in the Governors Mansion. Alas, it was short lived when the General Assembly and NC State Legislature over rode his veto last June.
So, WTF North Carolina?! Your lawmakers just placed a clear violation of your constitutional rights to free speech and a free press and no one has said anything?! The NY Times ran an editorial recently that spoke about a federal case that was won by several consumer protection groups dealing with a similar law in another state:
“They have precedent to back them up, in the form of a decision by a federal judge last August that struck down an ag-gag law in Idaho on free-speech grounds, the first such ruling in the country. Activists who pose as employees to gain access to farming operations, the judge wrote, “actually advance core First Amendment values by exposing misconduct to the public eye and facilitating dialogue on issues of considerable public interest. The outcry that follows revelations about factory farms has led to important policy changes, like California’s 2008 initiative banning some of the worst kinds of intensive confinement of farm animals. The secrecy promoted by ag-gag laws should have no place in American society.” .
So, other states are seeing the reality of turning a blind eye to corporate greed and dubious ethics and are standing up for their rights.
What’s it going to take, North Carolina, for you to say, “Enough…. It’s time to do the right thing.”