Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Crafton in the Lead--Part 2

Part 1 is located here, if you care.

The City Paper has an extremely revealing look into the two camps on either side of the English-only debate. The title of the article sums it up perfectly: 'English Only' issue presses forward while opponents play waiting game.

Once again, Eric Crafton has dominated the coverage. He has already gathered half the signatures he needs to put the measure on the ballot and more post cards are going out this week. He comes across as optimistic and organized.

“I’m very happy at the tremendous level of support,” Crafton said. “I’ve gotten a lot of donations and a lot of very nice letters. I’m very, very appreciative of all the support we’re getting. This is a citizen-wide effort.”

I'm not sure whether Crafton's opponents come across as naive, disorganized, or what. Here's what Mark Walwyn, chair of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce had to say:

“We don’t feel it’s necessary for us to try to prevent people from signing it or for us to mobilize our individual members at this point,” Walwyn said. “I think the issue is pretty clear to those who have been following this. I really believe it will fail as it has in the past.“At the right time, we’ll make the right steps and do the right things.”

Translation: There is no plan.

Stephen Fotopulos, the executive director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, wasn't much more encouraging:

Stephen Fotopulos, the newly named executive director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, anticipates a “broad and outspoken coalition” against the initiative, should the issue find its way onto the ballot. Fotopulos pointed to the groups who spoke out against the measure when it was before Metro Council a year ago — the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, not to mention then-Mayor Bill Purcell who eventually vetoed legislation.“There are sort of informal conversations of what we’ll do if it is on the ballot,” Fotopulos said. “I think you’ll see leaders all over the city that understand what a negative reflection this will be for the city. Pretty much everyone but Eric Crafton thinks this is a bad idea.

Translation: No one is responsible for leading the fight against the amendment, but a lot of people are talking about how awful it is.

Do Crafton's opponents honestly believe he's the only one who thinks the amendment is a good idea? At this rate, the amendment will not only make it to the ballot, but it will pass. When it does, progressives will be left with their embarrassment over the amendment. But the embarrassment will be all their own for not fighting it when they could have. If they're relying on lawsuits to dismantle the amendment after it passes, then they're in for a fight. Crafton says he already has a D.C. law firm "that will be more than happy to defend any lawsuit for free."

Let's check the score. Crafton has the only mechanism to persuade citizens to sign or not to get the measure on the ballot. Crafton has the only organized effort to engage voters once it gets on the ballot. Crafton has lined up attorneys to defend the amendment once he wins at the ballot. Crafton 3, opponents 0.

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