Happy Thanksgiving all,
I hope you each have a wonderful day where you can spend time with family, friends and loved ones and remember what makes our lives so rich and nation so great. Especially this time of year, I am cognizant of my rights (or lack thereof) and for the things that I have in my life.
One of my political friends & former CA Republican Party State Chairman, and incoming RNC National Committeeman from California, Shawn Steel, has posted a blog entry today about the vitriol that the Mormon Church and other “conservatives” are facing in the exposure of their campaign contributions to California’s Proposition 8 (to repeal/eliminate the right of gays to marry). His article can be found here on the Flash Report, published by colleague Jon Fleischman.
As my background lies heavily in campaign finance (either the raising of it or examination of the laws surrounding it), I have a special place in my heart of the ability of Americans to contribute money as an expression of their Constitutional right to free speech. Luckilly, the Supreme Court agrees with me.
The central point in my response to Shawn’s message (listed below) is that money, like words, is something one must be held accountable for. Just as we hold people accountable for their words, money should be held to that same standard. And where one can be criticized for their words and intentions, one can judge another by the way they spend their money on campaign contributions as well. My opinion on boycotts is that in general, people don’t take them seriously. But each person has the power to spend their money in ways that support their own personal conviction, from making a campaign contribution down to making that decision to buy that toothbrush that costs 15 cents more and is made in America versus the cheaper one made abroad.
So don’t hate those who actually fulfill their promises to hold others accountable for their money/speech, and choose to exercise their own right to NOT spend their money against those who would advocate against one’s own personal interests.
Happy Thanksgiving everybody…
Thank you for provoking me to register for to comment on Flash Report and now to respond to your article. Unfortunately Shawn, you’re choosing to cherry-pick your arguments to paint the pretty picture that the Mormon Church and other individuals who actively supported the Prop 8 campaign are unduely being maligned.
That could be farther from the truth.
More than anything, this entire ordeal is basically holding people, organizations and business accountable for their actions. Privacy in the ballot box is a right – privacy for giving money, contributing resources and advocacy is not a right…and is far from it. Given we are both quite versed in campaign finance law, we both know that the Supreme Court ruled that contributing money is considered an expression of free speech. And just as we all know the story that you can’t yell “fire!” in a crowded theatre, you cannot escape the consequences of one’s actions in the name of free speech.
Just like those businesses had the right to contribute money to the Yes on 8 campaign, I have the right not to patronize them for that, just like you have the right not to patronize businesses that support the No on 8 campaign. The difference is that the No on 8 side is organized and is telling people not to patronize those who support taking away their rights. Why on earth would I want to patronize a company that takes my money, then uses the profits against me?
These businesses have the right to give money to whomever they choose if they feel so compelled to get involved in a civic campaign – and with that free speech comes the risk that there are those who will not agree with them and will exercise their right NOT to patronize their businesses and tell their like-minded friends not to.
It’s about holding people accountable. You can vote however you want, but the minute you give money, you’re speaking – and their are consequences to speech in this nation.
As for the Mormons? I’m sorry, but I have no sympathy. Mormon temples across this state acted as campaign headquarters (and were distributing hundreds of thousands of those campaign signs that they had printed in China) for the Yes on 8 campaign – you don’t get to act as a campaign headquarters one day then the next after the election ask for “respect for the reverence of the holy nature of the church.”
Sorry Shawn – this is about accountably. The only thing that is confidential & private is the vote itself. Money, speeches, contributions – that is all fair game. Every person has the right to free speech, but that doesn’t come without accountability. So don’t cry over spilled milk just because our No on 8 boycotts are working and all those ridiculous boycotts that AFA tries fail miserably. These are exactly the same tactics that have been used against gays for decades – and now the tables are finally turned.