Barber in Asheville: We will fight until hell freezes over

Rev. William Barber at a Nov. 13, 2014 speech to about 100 supporters at the First Congregational Unitarian United Church of Christ in downtown Asheville. Photo by Jake Frankel
Rev. William Barber at a Nov. 13, 2014 speech to about 100 supporters at the First Congregational Unitarian United Church of Christ in downtown Asheville. Photo by Jake Frankel

In the wake of North Carolina elections last week that maintained conservatives’ firm grip on state power, Rev. William Barber urged progressives in Asheville not to lose faith in the strength of the Moral Monday movement.

“We will fight until hell freezes over, and then we’ll fight on the ice,” declared Barber, Moral Monday leader and head of the state NAACP. “Elections come and they go, but the movement stays.”

He delivered a rousing  Nov. 13 speech to about 100 supporters at the First Congregational Unitarian United Church of Christ in downtown Asheville and then took questions from local media.

Barber blamed Republican electoral wins on a long list of factors, from gerrymandered voting districts to corporate campaign donations. He also argued that Republican Thom Tillis’ 1.64 percent margin of victory in the U.S. Senate race was aided by a law Tillis shepherded through the N.C. House that restricted voting.

Barber also criticized Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan for running a timid campaign. Tillis’ message was “I’m not Obama,” said Barber, “and the Democrat said, ‘well, I’m not Obama either’  — that’s not a way to run a campaign.”

He added: “Democrats need to start doing what they know is right. Republicans need to stop doing what they know is wrong.”

Much of Barber’s address focused on pushing Gov. Pat McCrory and Tillis to pass Medicaid expansion, which both elected leaders said they would consider in the weeks leading up to the election. Barber called on them to hold a special session of the General Assembly before Thanksgiving to do so.

The Moral Monday leader also said the measure would make health insurance available to 500,000 people in the state, including more than 40,000 people in Buncombe County. He said the General Assembly’s previous decision to deny expansion will cause North Carolina to lose billions in federal funding and is already hurting hospitals and the economy. The argument that the measure will cost the state money in the long-term is “fraudulent,” he asserted.

Barber announced that more Moral Monday rallies are being planned in Raleigh, including a major one on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. He also told local supporters that he’ll come back to Asheville for more Mountain Moral Monday rallies whenever he’s invited. Alluding to the fact that Buncombe County was one of the only counties in the state to unseat Republican N.C. House incumbents in this year, Barber praised local enthusiasm for progressive causes.

“People did not populate the mountains without having tenacity. You’ve got to have some guts,” he said. “I want to thank you for inspiring me and the nation and this state.”

However, he emphasized that it will take a long-term approach to attain the changes progressives want. “Don’t think that just because just the election is over your advocacy is over,” he said. “Movement time and election time is not always the same time.”

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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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5 thoughts on “Barber in Asheville: We will fight until hell freezes over

  1. Jim

    People populated the mountains with hard work and sacrifice. The current population of retirees living off of fat cat state pensions from other states and idealistic, yet stupid hipsters have sacrificed absolutely nothing. The aging baby boomers are living in the past and the young hipsters are more concerned with getting a buzz than anything else. But will they ever protest as they park their BMW’s, high end SUV’s, and other cars downtown while heading to Pack Square. And many have no realization or know what is going on in the rest of the world. China and Russia are laughing at this nation. The dollar will collapse simply by it’s debt. These tools don’t care. Then again they are misinformed and easily manipulated. Just like Gruber said.

    • Big Al

      I agree with all of your points except one: “The dollar will collapse simply by it’s debt.”

      The dollar is THE Reserve currency of the world. Even while the U.S. was in recession, foreign banks were converting their currency into US dollars in US banks. American debt does have a downside, but collapse is an exageration.

      I will add to your comment on out-of-town retirees: Please stop telling us “how we did it back in” NYC/Maine/Denver/etc. If it was so great there, why are you here, and why don’t you go back?

  2. SwankBanker .

    I agree completely with Jim above. ^
    Liberal politics, welfare state dependence, and unbridled corporatism is ruining our nation.
    Everything is going downhill, even the music nowadays totally sucks.

  3. RR

    I’m with you guys on this also. And by the way…I love how they call this Moral Monday and let’s see…what do progressives stand for? Abortion (immoral), gay marriage (immoral), bare boob protesting (not illegal, very entertaining, but immoral).

    • geraldine peterson

      Project much?

      Is that all you can muster up with juvenile insults about Moral Monday and what it stands for. Sorry, but it’s you folks that lack the intellectual capacity to understand just what this all about. Go back to your secret love of “bare boob protesting” and other perceived “immoral” acts as that’s all you can understand given the limitations of your small minds, and dead end thinking skills.

      Evolve, little children…..

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