Fans of the movie Braveheart may remember the below exchange between the ruthless English king, Edward the Longshanks, and his field commander during the climactic battle scene. The English troops are engaged in fierce hand to hand combat with William Wallace's Scottsmen when Longshanks orders the archers to fire randomly into the melee.
English Commander: I beg pardon, sire. Won't we hit our own troops?!?!
Longshanks: Yes... but we'll hit theirs as well. We have reserves. Attack!
As events unfold in the aftermath of the NCGA passing HB2 which rescinded Charlotte's so-called "Bathroom Ordinance", that exact scenario seems to be unfolding with Charlotte playing the role of the English troops coming under friendly fire..
Tuesday's announcement by PayPal that it is no longer considering Charlotte for its expansion plans follows announcements by the NBA that it may rethink coming to Charlotte for the 2017 All Star weekend as well as numerous state travel restrictions from across the country - trips that likely would have included Charlotte.
Of course there is lots of finger pointing on all sides.
Charlotte officials blame the legislature. The NCGA says none of this would have happened if Charlotte had not acted first by enacting the ordinance in the face of clear warnings from Raleigh that doing so would get a response.
Regardless of who is right, Charlotte is paying the price. Frankly, if I was a Charlotte City Council member who voted for the ordinance which started this whole thing, I would be a bit P.O.d at these groups threatening to hurt the city.
Weren't they good soldiers for the cause? Yes. Yes, they were.
But, maybe that's the point. Good soldiers are sent into battle knowing they won't all come out unscathed.
Here is an interesting map from the ACLU depicting which states have statewide laws treating LGBT people as a protected class.
You will notice no state in the south has this protection. In fact it appears less than half of all states have LGBT protection in statewide law.
So, why all the brouhaha over North Carolina? Why now?
On some level, it is just electoral politics.
It is an election year. Gov McCrory is very vulnerable. Any damage done to him in Mecklenburg really hurts him. That explains at least some of it.
Also, if the NCGA cracks and adds LGBT protection to the state law, that's a major victory for the LGBT lobby by adding NC to that map as the first southern state.
However, as long as Charlotte is the main area paying the price for HB2, it would seem unlikely the majority of legislators hailing from more rural areas will care.
As this plays out it seems the Charlotte pols maybe didn't realize that, or they didnt think their supposed ideological allies might be launching arrows at their backs.
Charlotte pols may have thought they were actually in charge, when in fact they are just pawns in a larger battle.
Bonus Observation: Charlotte City Council member Kenny Smith (a Republican) had an interesting take on the issue this Wednesday AM.
WFAE.org article acknowledging this issue as welll. See here.