After getting a turn-out call from our friend Connie Leeper of NC WARN, we did just that this morning for a rally at the Duke Energy headquarters before their shareholders' meeting. A good and spirited crowd on our side, with moving speakers highlighting the environmental depredations of mountaintop-removal coal mining, the dangers of nuclear development and dirty coal, the advantages for the environment and the economy of clean energy, and the less-than-commendable business practices of what could become our nation’s largest utility company with the Progress Energy merger. Some brilliant street theater, as well, lead by Mr. Monopoly and his whip-cracking henchman lording over cowed ratepayers who kept doling out cash on command.
There was also a good-sized and spirited crowd out flying the FreedomWorks flag. For those who don’t know, that’s the organization founded by Dick Armey, former Republican House of Representatives Majority Leader from Texas, and over the past couple of years a major promoter of the Tea Party. There were many Fire Jim Rogers signs (Duke CEO), and chants of We Need Coal, and USA-USA! And the requisite CLIMATE CHANGE IS A HOAX! fliers.
At first we were puzzled on our side, and wondered for a moment if this weren’t an instance where strange political bedfellows could indeed coalesce around at least some portion of our respective agendas. Closer inspection of their signs revealed, however, that the real reason they wanted Rogers on the chopping block was Duke’s commitment to provide a $10 million line of credit in support of the Democratic National Convention here in Charlotte next September.
Mystery solved. Just when we thought it might be safe to stick our toe back in the water, the partisan agenda behind their signs lunges up like the shark in Jaws. The promise of bipartisan agreement dashed again. To quote Charlie Brown: Rats!