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.

Friday, June 13, 2008

More questions about the Crafton amendment

Nashville saw a number of interesting developments on Councilman Eric Crafton's English only charter amendment today. The Tennessean discovered the story. The City Paper's Clint Brewer and Mike Byrd traded barbs about the coverage of the campaign. And the Nashville Post put up this rare no-subscription-necessary item about all the usage errors in the post card being sent out that urges people to sign the ballot petition.

But let's get back to the issue of the coverage. As Byrd points out, P.J. Tobia seems to be assembling the largest array of voices opposing the measure. Despite the fact that I believe the editorializing of the Scene, the City Paper, the Post, and the Tennessean do not and will not take Crafton's side, he is still driving the coverage of the story. His simple message that everyone needs to learn English gets repeated day after day. Even when Crafton's opponents say that immigrants know this and are already are learning English, that just amounts to an argument that the amendment is unnecessary. In some ways, it has the effect of reinforcing Crafton's message by making some people wonder why anyone would oppose the amendment.

What the coverage in the mainstream media and in the blogosphere also indicates is that the organization of his campaign is way ahead of the opposition. Poorly worded and punctuated though it is, the post card is going out to thousands of people. The website is up, running, and collecting donations. Robocalls have already begun. (A hat tip to Mr. Kleinheider for posting the link to Southern Beale who received one of the calls.)

The next question that the media should be asking is what the opposition is going to do about it. So far, all I've seen are some well stated public arguments and hints of a law suit if (after?) it passes. The battle of ideas is important, but you can win the battle of ideas and lose the war. Will there be an organized campaign, a referendum committee? If so, who will lead it and become the organizing focus for the opposition?

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