Friday, November 04, 2011

Michigan is the New Alabama: State Receiving Very Bad Publicity Over Republican Anti-Bullying Bill

By the time Gretchen Whitmer gets done living through eight years of insanity in a Republican-controlled Michigan Senate that has done its best to move this state backwards with their obstruction and reactionary ideology, she is going to be one very tough lady from the experience. I've had the privilege of both posting her speeches and watching her in person, and if she chooses to run for a higher office someday, I hope she has made a list of the atrocities she has witnessed and has a plan for setting things right. It's going to be a huge job.

Nothing - nothing - I've seen beats this speech though. This is the floor reaction from the Senate's passage of Michigan's "anti"-bullying bill, and now it's going viral. Very viral. Over 46,000 views - up 15,000 since I began this post just a short while ago.

All I can say is, thank the tubes that most sites are now carrying video as a regular feature, because it's going to be up to Gretchen to convince the nation that we aren't a state filled with right-wing zealots. Here are a couple of examples I've run across so far of the commentary that's out there. Just to give you a feel for the mood.

Of course the national LGTBQ outlets have picked it up. I'll let John Aravosis from Americablog give you the gay community's take on this.

Remember, Michigan is also on the verge of rescinding domestic partner benefits in that state for the partners of gay state employees (e.g., university professors and other university employees).

Michigan is the new Alabama. Stay far away from that state if you are gay, or even just fair minded, and planning a vacation, looking for a job, or looking to study at a university. Do not go to Michigan - we have plenty of other states that aren't trying to bash minorities, leave people's family members without health care, and literally kill children.

Michigan hates. Stay far away.

Ouch. And for those who would dismiss Aravosis, how about TIME Magazine's Amy Sullivan, who writes every Friday on politics and religion.

As a transplanted Michigander, I’ve always maintained pride in my home state. I’ve only owned American cars. I believed in the Lions even during the really dismal years. I still point to my hand to show people which part of the state I’m from.

But the Michigan legislature is doing its best to make me hang my head in shame. On Wednesday, the Republican-controlled state senate passed an anti-bullying bill that manages to protect school bullies instead of those they victimize. It accomplishes this impressive feat by allowing students, teachers, and other school employees to claim that “a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction” justifies their harassment.

Other outlets to pick this up so far: Daily Kos, Talking Points Memo, The Atlantic, Huffington Post, Newsweek, Perez Hilton, Think Progress,,, more being added as I write this I'm sure - and anyone who carries a national AP wire. Which is just about every major newspaper and television station across the country.

Need I go on?

If this passes through the House and Synder signs it, expect to see Round Two of negative publicity about the state of Michigan. It sure flies in the face of the thought that were going to run this state "like a business". What business would behave like this and expect to gain new customers?

Republicans have put Michigan in a very bad light across the nation, and that is going to cost us jobs, investment and talent in the long run. Impressions like this last a long time, too. Most businesses will do what they can to correct a negative perception once it's in the public mind; it's highly doubtful that our current legislators will take that into consideration.

Guess electing Republicans wasn't good for business after all. Wasn't much good for the people, either.

Update: The Washington Post writes a nice column today featuring Senator Whitmer.
And as of 3:40 pm: This video is on the front page of HuffPo. Nearly 61,000 views.
5 O'Clock WOOD News: Sen. Rick Jones (R-Media Whore) accuses Dems of "playing politics" on this issue because "some are running for higher office". Refuses to address the outcry over his bad bill.