Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Equality Virginia Has Apparently Resorted To Telling Lies to Champion Its Cause

In their zeal to rally the troops against Ken Cuccinelli, Equality Virginia has apparently resorted to telling outright lies. Check out this little gem from their website:

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli Jr. has sent a letter to the governing boards and presidents of the Commonwealth's public colleges and universities directing them to rescind policies that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, arguing that the colleges have no legal authority to adopt such statements.

What's the problem with this? Well, let's set aside the major problem with this issue, which is that critics of Cuccinelli's letter have displayed (1) a complete lack of understanding of the role of the AG's office vis-a-vis state universities; and (2) a complete lack of understanding of the law. Despite these shortcomings and their complete lack of understanding of the import and effect of Cuccinelli's letter, that hasn't stopped the easily excitable masses from spewing hatred and vitriol Cuccinelli's way (never mind the fact the guy is just doing his job by providing legal advice in response to a question). Some folks are apparently so "angered" by this situation that they have resorted to contacting Northrop Grumman (which is considering relocating to Virginia) to tell them to go to Maryland instead -- talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

No, the major problem I have with this little blurb from Equality Virginia is its statement that Cuccinelli is "directing" universities. The letter says no such thing. Read it here yourself. Moreover, Cuccinelli has no such power. He is the state's lawyer. His job is to give legal advice. Universities can heed that advice, or they can ignore it at their own peril. In Cuccinelli's opinion, ignoring his advice will open the state up to lawsuits. Only time will tell if he is right.

The bottom line is that the nastiness that is coming out of groups like Equality Virginia on this issue is at best, misdirected, and at worst, harmful to their cause. They should be spending time lobbying the General Assembly, not hounding the state's top lawyer who is powerless to effect change on the issue.

Come on Equality Virginia -- intellectual dishonesty does not suit you.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Westboro Counter-Protestors Do More Harm Than Good

First off, don't get me wrong, I find the adults w/ the Westboro Baptist Church to be repulsive, misguided individuals. Their message is one of hate and intolerance. But, as an American, I respect their right to share their views, no matter how ignorant they may be.

That said, it seems pretty clear to me the the "Counter-Protestors" in RIC who have organized to rally against Westboro's activities in Richmond today are doing more harm than good for their cause. How? Simple -- they bring this very small, fringe group of hate-filled loonies the very publicity they seek.

First, it seems pretty obvious to me that 99% of the general public would not have even known that Westboro was in town today but for the advertising that the Counter-Protestors have done over the last week.

Second, the Westboro group is a very small group of loonies. Them standing alone outside a building in protest is hardly a big media event. BUT, if you throw a couple hundred counter-protestors into the mix, you've got something reportable, and something that is visually compelling to put on the local news. Of course, that means the Westboro loonies get interviewed, and have a greater opportunity to share their message of hate with the masses.

Seems to me that sometimes the best way to protest something is simply to ignore it, especially when a group is as small and marginalized as the Westboro group is already. Silence does not always equal indifference. Perhaps the best approach is to stop giving these loonies the attention and publicity they seek.

Just a thought.