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Photo essay: Moral Monday's mixed messages | CLT Blog

Photo essay: Moral Monday’s mixed messages

Posted on 20 Aug 2013 by Matthew Tyndall

When I first learned of the #MoralMonday protest happening in Raleigh, I was intrigued about this grass roots movement in opposition of the very backwards agenda at the NC General Assembly. I wanted to know more and become involved, but became hesitant when I couldn’t get a solid grasp of what this movement hoped to accomplish.

Today was my first Moral Monday protest and unfortunately my expectations were spot on. For each one of over 2000 protesters in attendance it seemed there were just as many issues being advocated for.

There were signs for the legalization of pot, reinstitution of the Racial Justice Act, various signs advocating for NC Teachers, many signs addressing the Citizen United ramifications, anti-GOP/Teaparty messages, no fracking, a myriad of signs asking for a recall of the governor, and a strong push to repeal the voter suppression/voter ID laws. Nothing even close to unified message or agenda.

While the movement is gaining a ton of media attention, I’m pessimistic about how long it will last once we leave the summer media drought behind. Moral Mondays are on track to hit the same problems shared by the Occupy movement, with its laundry list of issues. And while the movement does have some form of leadership in the NAACP, how this could translate into any kind of actual changes in the General Assembly remains to be seen.

With the GOP making up more than 65% of the General Assembly, and Pat McCrory winning handily with 54% of the vote, it’s not going to be easy to make these changes, and attacking Republicans might not be the best strategy for the next election. The odds are stacked even further in the GOPs direction with the new Voter ID laws making it harder than ever to get progressive voting groups to the polls. The Moral Monday movement and the voting block it represents needs to simplify its message and rally around a cohesive set of issues to have any hope of making an impact in the next election.

In my opinion, fixing our new Voter ID laws and making strides toward limiting corporate involvement in state politics is the best place to start. If the movement pushes for too many of the more progressive issues represented at this week’s demonstration, they will be doomed to fail in 2014, with the ultra-conservative agenda continuing relatively unhindered for the foreseeable future.


  1. croatan1908 20 Aug 2013 at 11:02 AM

    With so much to protest, doesn’t it make sense that the protester’s message would be more kaleidoscopic? It seems a bit disingenuous to expect a single agenda from so many grass roots sources with little central organization. These protests are more about speaking out against the many injustices masquerading as new laws in our state, and less about changing one specific thing. Rather than bag on these honest folks expressing their rightful myriad of opinions, Shouldn’t we be viewing this through the lens of the inspiration these protests create in us to activate ourselves politically and advocate for the issues about which we feel most strongly and which we deem to be most accessible? These protests should be judged on their after effect, the ripples which they create in the political pond, rather than how closely they cater to your own agenda.

    • Avatar of Matthew Tyndall
      Matthew Tyndall 21 Aug 2013 at 11:17 AM

      I had every expectation of a kaleidoscopic message when I attended. I do criticize the movement because they have yet to coalesce into a movement that might actually get something done. They are following the playbook of the Occupy movement and if we are to judge protest on their effect the Occupy movement has a pretty bad track record of reforming politics.

      The first Moral Monday protest was in late April and in nearly 4 months not much has been accomplished, nor does it look like they are on the path to make real change in the future. That is my biggest gripe with this movement. While it is nice to have people protest and exercise their place in this democracy, you have to have the attitude and diligence to turn that into real change. If you don’t focus on having a plan to rectify your grievances, then your protest means little.

      My post was not to belittle the movement, it was to give people a kick in the ass, if you want your problems heard you need a plan.

  2. Elizabeth 20 Aug 2013 at 11:43 AM

    What’s so hard to understand? People are protesting the regressive agenda of a far-right General Assembly that does NOT reflect the values of most North Carolinians.

    • Avatar of Matthew Tyndall
      Matthew Tyndall 21 Aug 2013 at 11:30 AM

      If the majority of people voted the GA and the Governor in I am sure some of these laws do address the wants of their constituency. My argument is all these messages don’t necessarily align with each other and if you want to start to change what happened in the last legislative session the best route is not to argue all the issues at once approach. Considering the state went decisively red in the last election and that the amendment 1 vote also showed how conservative large portions of the state were, I think trying to swing the pendulum to the left to quickly will not work at all. I am advocating that the Moral Monday crowd find the issues that divide the right and attack from there, since they have already shown they are a formidable voting block in the state.

      Unfortunately focusing on some issues like abortion and gun control will just make it easier for the GOP to get more people out to vote. The GOP had about 3% better voter turnout in 2012 and historically will have higher turnout in non-presidential election years.Its not an easy road to make change, thats why you need a unified message and plan.

  3. Mary Daily 20 Aug 2013 at 1:48 PM

    Protest what is close to your heart now and coalesce in time to vote for those who will best represent your ideals.

  4. Chase 20 Aug 2013 at 4:49 PM

    this moral Monday protest agenda has simply became another arm of the naacp, teachers got the short end of the stick with Perdue but i don’t remember this level of outcry. thousand people arrested already, sounds like a bunch of criminals that seem to have every Monday off work. Mccory won with 54% right, and with the GOP at 65% in nc sounds like most of North Carolinians got what they wanted. And with the defeat of that lack luster stooge the DNC had picked out for NC the only alternative for them was to send out their “race team” which now some how encompasses woman and teacher rights too. how about we look at it like this, all these little groups want to have their five minutes of fame and thats fine, but the whole process is about furthering the naacp’s and democratic’s motives

  5. Stephen (@sjbftmlsc) 21 Aug 2013 at 12:41 AM

    How come the NAACP spends hours every Monday complaining about the voter ID law, but doesn’t spend a minute or a penny helping those who need an ID get one?

    • Sher 26 Jan 2014 at 10:37 PM

      I agree. The Democratic party was quick to require IDs during the convention in Charlotte. What is wrong with making sure someone is a citizen of the country whose leader they choose (as required by law) and not a felon (as required by law) before showing them the voting booth? This deters voter fraud and individuals who would literally “vote early and vote often” and makes perfect sense to me. It applies to all parties equally. If I may not drive a car or cash a paycheck of my own earnings or apply for a passport or take some tests in college or start a job or be drug tested for employment or sign any contract without state ID, am I suppressed? If so, someone give me a job without ID and cash my check without ID and administer my test without ID… or better yet, put your own job on the line to stop asking for IDs of anyone at work when you hire or sell alcohol or notarize an agreement. Anyone willing to say voters should not show IDs to cut down on fraud but you would like to see my ID before signing a contract to sell me your owner financed house is disingenuous. Why not do away with all uses for IDs? Period. Would you like the banks to stop asking for IDs when someone asks to withdraw funds from your account? Of course not! There are times people need to prove who they say they are, and voting is one of those times because I don’t want thousands of foreigners from anywhere in the world voting in our elections or people voting 5 times and neither to do you. People need to realize that hypocrisy hurts their cause and just makes them look like they are trying to get over on fraud issues where they might benefit. If you really want to help homeless American citizens vote, help them get IDs which will also allow them to apply for and collect all kinds of other benefits, and possibly get off the street. Such a sacrifice on your part could literally change a life forever! Now that would be productive and truly compassionate and I would back such an effort 100 percent.

  6. MBS 21 Aug 2013 at 11:23 AM

    McCrory is Awesome! Taking back the State after 100 years of suppression by the Dumbocratic party!

  7. David 21 Aug 2013 at 2:42 PM

    Voting in blocks ie. racial; gender; occupation; socio economic; liberal; conservative; single issues like abortion; divides us as human beings and renders the democracy useless to all.
    Obfuscation is a tool used by the media and special interests to keep the masses squabbling with each other while the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful. It used to be referred to as “baffle em with bullshit.
    One people AMERICAN
    ONE Race HUMAN

  8. James 21 Aug 2013 at 5:39 PM

    The Moral Monday tour has been a kaleidoscope of messages at Asheville and Charlotte, but each of the weekly gatherings at the capital was focused on a specific issue. I think they have done a fantastic job of raising awareness of issues with votes.

    The general population didn’t care much for the occupy protests which really only attracted young, primarily Caucasian crowd. The Moral Monday movement is much more diverse in age and race. A comparison to the Tea Party is more apt than to Occupy — it’s a like a Tea Party for normal folk.

    One of the biggest factors is public opinion. I was suprised when the PPP poll came out indicating a majority of North Carolinians support the movement and more people in the state support the protests than support the legislature.

    The movement has been a great awakening of religious moderates. The far right used to control religion in the state, but people are turning on them in droves and realizing that religion isn’t just about getting between a woman and her doctor and looking down the pants of everyone who wanted to get married.

    The Moral Monday movement and many religious North Carolinians are waking up to the idea that there are moral issues at stake — that poverty and what we do “unto the least of these” is a moral issue — that “welcoming the alien” is a moral issue — and that how the political leaders approach these are moral issues.

    Now that the NCGA has adjourned I don’t think we will see the movement grow much now. The drama will play out in the courts as NC is forced to waste taxpayer money defending legislation that is likely to be found unconstitutional. Things will rev back up in time for the 2014 election, were current state administration is a 10-point underdog.

  9. John 21 Aug 2013 at 8:26 PM

    What struck me most was the folks trying to claim the “moral high ground” while defending killing unborn children as a “right”. Seriously screwed up priorities!

  10. Lee 21 Aug 2013 at 9:45 PM

    thanks for the photos. the media has been falling over themselves to promote this movement. these are ideologically repressive groups–our way or the highway. thank God Mccrory has the guts to stand strong. these ‘moral’ issues are as moral as spying on Americans. the groups should not be taken too seriously.