Thursday, March 11, 2010

Roanoke Times Calls Out Cuccinelli's Bigotry

Throughout the 2009 campaigns I had numerous conversations with progressive activists who were worried about what would happen if Bob McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli were elected to office. We had a lot of concerns of about their economic policies, but were even more worried about how they could send Virginia so far backwards by trying to push their extreme right wing social agenda on the Commonwealth. As I made phone calls and knocked on doors to talk with voters about the election, I had several people express some concern about this as well but they usually wanted to take McDonnell and Cuccinelli at their word that they would focus on creating solutions and not promoting backwards social policy. Bob McDonnell’s refusal to ban discrimination in the state workforce and Cuccinelli’s letter to colleges saying they shouldn’t have rules preventing discrimination based upon sexual orientation have helped to show the average joe that they had every right to be concerned about the negative impact the GOP leadership could have on Virginia.

In an editorial that asks “Who knew Virginia could regress into a social and cultural backwater so quickly,” the Roanoke Times highlights how the actions taken by McDonnell and Cuccinelli have already had a negative impact on Virginia and could potentially even result in more backlash in the very near future.
Between a governor who dropped a ban on discrimination based on sexual-orientation from state hiring guidelines, a General Assembly that again this year refused to add sexual orientation to the state anti-discrimination law, and now Cuccinelli's broadside, Virginia's national reputation is becoming one of intolerance.

Companies with more progressive policies -- say Northrop Grumman Corp., which is considering moving its headquarters to Virginia -- will take notice and think twice before creating jobs where some of their employees and their families risk open discrimination. Likewise, schools, if they do as Cuccinelli asks, risk alienating alumni, donors, potential faculty and students.

Those who blink innocently and say Cuccinelli merely stated the law to prevent illegal activities demonstrate negligent naïveté or, more likely, despicable dishonesty. He urges bigotry, nothing less.
I think it’s also important to note here that nobody could claim that the Roanoke Times is a liberal paper, so the fact that the editorial board has aggressively called out the GOP leaders for their extremist actions really goes to should how absolutely horrible they really are. Although there has been a fair amount of media coverage of the bigoted policies promoted by Cuccinelli and McDonnell, those Virginians who believe in basic civil rights need to make sure that the public never forgets just how extreme these two are.

They might have been able to fool voters in 2009, but that doesn’t mean we should simply stand back and let them get away with allowing discrimination. Speaking out against hatred and highlighting responsible editorials like the one in the Roanoke Times are just the beginning and we've already beginning to see that it has the potential to make a difference. I simply hope that everyone continues to draw attention to the extremism that's being promoted by officials like McDonnell and Cuccinelli.

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