David Williams; Remarks to the Joint Redistricting Committee Meeting; 8/4/17

The oral delivery of these remarks had to be truncated due to time limits imposed by the Committee.

 

Good morning. Thank you for this opportunity to speak. I have already submitted my criteria recommendations in writing to both the NCGA site and to each of you individually so I will not re-plow that field.

Those who do not learn from their history are doomed to repeat it. You, as a Committee, are at a point in our state’s history when you may choose to heal that which is broken, or to compound the injury by pretending.

My name is David Williams. Since early January I have been the Lead voice for Transylvania Indivisible and became Chair of IndivisibleNC’s Fair Voting Action Group in May. But I’m really neither of those things.

I am really a husband, a father, and a grandfather; a son and a brother; a citizen, an educator and a friend. Those roles are the lynchpins of my life, the roles I value most, they are my raison d’etre.

But in January, I chose to sacrifice the primacy of those roles to become a Resistor.

I chose to fight for:

– a country in which facts are true whether we like them or not, where science seeks truths, and where truth is valued;

– a state where the people’s business is conducted publicly without attempts to avoid meaningful public input;

– a state that celebrates the value of human diversity so strips no one of a voice;

– a state where lives are lived in Faith, not Fear;

– a state with equality of economic opportunity;

– a state where stewardship of the Earth is the natural choice;

– a state in which racism, sexism and intolerance are a source of shame, not pride;

– a state led by people who that know hubris, greed and lust for power are sins;

– a state where every voice has a vote and every vote has a voice;

– a state government that is of all the people, by representatives of all the people, and for the welfare of all the people.

I chose to fight for the future, for my son and grandson.

In January, I chose to become a Resistor.

I chose to resist:

– a force so hostile it works to destroy the fundamental principles that drove our forefathers to declare their independence in 1776, to destroy those things that have made us truly great since our founding: a more perfect union where differences exist but do not divide; a more perfect union where justice for all under the rule of law is the law, excepting none; a more perfect union with opportunity for all to pursue lives well lived, lives of meaning, within whatever gifts we have each been endowed; a more perfect union giving to all the right to embrace the blessings of liberty; a more perfect union bestowing on all the right to seek happiness and to make that which is good, even better;

– a hostile force that strips its people of the Constitution’s guarantee of equality through a voice embodied in a vote- one voice, one vote;

– a hostile force that interprets the preamble to mean “…all men of wealth and power have an unalienable right to acquire more wealth and power without regard for those who suffer from its loss”;

– a leadership that buries our national moral compass under a blanket of hollow hypocrisy of cries for integrity;

– a leadership now held by men and women who can only protect that hostile force by gerrymandering voter districts and diminishing voter rights “with near-surgical precision”.

We judge the character of a (hu)man not by words, but by deeds.

By that standard, this committee is found wanting in character. By the majority’s deeds and choices, both within this committee and without, hate, bigotry, intolerance and divisiveness have reached heights not experienced since the end of the Civil Rights movement.

By the deeds of the majority, the tools of democracy: Civility; Negotiation; Compromise; Transparency; Respect for minority views; and, Accountability have been derided and eroded to the point that they no longer exist in public practice.

By those same deeds, North Carolinians have lost faith in representative democracy because their democracy is no longer representative. It is winner-take-all. It is gerrymandered. This debate is not about right against left; it’s about right against wrong, and depriving votes of their voice is simply wrong.

I say again, those who do not learn from their history are doomed to repeat it. By the exercise of its power to preserve your own privilege, this committee and Legislature have become branded as racist. These Committees, jointly, are at a point in our state’s history when you may choose to heal that which is broken, or to compound the injury by putting a fake band-aid over it. Heal us. Healing must begin with intention. Show your intention to do so by adopting non-partisan redistricting now and for all time. Restore democracy to this state.

Thank you.