How did you guys celebrate the Fourth of July? Hotdogs? Beer? Fireworks? Downtown Raleigh’s The Works festival, even though it inexplicably allowed a cover band to play goddamn Maroon 5 songs against all notions of decency? All good options. Here’s another: If you were a member of North Carolina’s General Assembly, you spent the week before ‘Merca’s birthday trampling the rights of ordinary citizens.

U-S-A, U-S-A!

To recap a week of legislative disgrace: They voted to take away your right to battle unwanted developments by eliminating zoning-protest petitions. They proposed a bill to ward off pesky groups like the Sierra Club and the Southern Environmental Law Center from challenging their destructive environmental policies. And then, because that wasn’t enough, they revamped the Greensboro City Council, which had entirely too many Democrats on it, just like they did Wake County’s commission and school board. Democracy is for suckers, guys.

Spot the common thread? We did: The rights of the powerful need protecting, while, for the rest of you common peasants wanting to prevent congestion and preserve the clean-water supply and have your votes count, well, tough shit. Which, naturally, is exactly what the Founders had in mind 239 years ago.

Or, you know, not.

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