ALEC and “Stand Your Ground”

Over the past few days, I’ve heard about Stevie Wonder’s boycott of Florida

To be clear, he’s not simply boycotting Florida, but EVERY state with Stand Your Ground laws.

Then this morning, I saw this meme on facebook: 13239_10152653214733538_166653452_n
Yes, it’s a meme and I am not a huge fan of meme’s. They can be cute and amusing…but I digress.

First of all, at this point in time, I cannot verify Mr. Springsteen said this.

But the meme, true or not, made me think long and hard about the massive push to boycott Florida.

A marvelous quote from another blogger I highly respect comes to mind:

If you make fun of “Texas” (or “Ohio” or “Florida” or “North Carolina” or “Indiana,” etc.), you are by definition including the progressive activists who live there.

These places are our homes. We are working in demoralizing conditions and constant defeat to try to fix them.

Yes. A million times YES. Wherever you are in the States or in the world, think about your government: does it always do what you think it should? Is it perfect?

(If so, do tell.)

But back to the Florida-boycott issue.

I understand the outrage, the disgust, the terror. I am not claiming I understand what it’s like to be black in America and in Florida; I fully recognize my white privilege here. (Read that link, if nothing else. Please.)

I am a woman, however, so I do know what it’s like to be terrorized, by society and our government and the elected officials that technically represent me but don’t really…

Wonder’s boycott calls attention to a set of laws that may be hard to undo.

However, to me, the idea of others also participating in a boycott seems too microcosmic,  too narrowly focused.

(I can’t fault a person of color for not wanting to set foot in one to the states with Stand Your Ground Laws.)

Stand Your Ground (SYG) is a product of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Let’s repeat that: Stand Your Ground is the product of ALEC.

Their name sounds pretty innocent, no? Legislative Exchange…that sounds progressive-ish. Or at least semi-positive.

And just read these quotes from the ALEC website:

With more than 2,000 members, ALEC is the nation’s largest, non-partisan, individual public-private membership association of state legislators.

ALEC can claim it’s non-partisan because it’s 501(c)(3). Sneaky, eh?

All across the nation, states are looking for ways to boost their economies and become more economically competitive. Each state confronts this task with a set of policy decisions unique to their own situation. However, not all state policies lead to economic prosperity and while some states achieve economic prosperity, others continue to struggle in their efforts to revive their economies.

Fortunately, the United States, with its “50 laboratories of democracy,” provides us with empirical evidence to track exactly which policies lead to economic prosperity and which fail to deliver.

Doesn’t this just warm your heart and make you want to decorate the town with American flags waving?

The American Legislative Exchange Council works to advance the fundamental principles of free-market enterprise, limited government, and federalism at the state level through a nonpartisan public-private partnership of America’s state legislators, members of the private sector and the general public.

This quote is a tad more telling of what’s really going on at their closed-door meetings.

“Advance the the fundamental principles of free market enterprise?”  (emphasis mine; paging Ayn Rand.)

“Limited government?” (except for uterii. Forced birth is okay; ALEC is responsible for drafting the anti-reproductive justice bills that seem to be–sadly–sweeping the nation.)

“. . . partnership of America’s state legislators, members of the private sector and the general public.”

Any alarm bells yet? You should be shaking in fear right now. And angry as all get-out.

ALEC is writing your states legislation, and they’re doing it with a very heavy hand toward against progressives, women, people of color–okay, most minorities–and in the interests of  Big Business. ALEC is anti-worker’s rights. 

Of course, that’s just in the name of the “free market.”

*sigh*

ALEC is nefarious and evil in my progressive book.

SYG is a symptom of the disease, not the disease.

ALEC, and relatives of ALEC, are the disease.

At this point, it should be little surprise that the biggest donors and supports of ALEC are the Koch Brothers.

The best way to protest? Don’t boycott a state. Boycott the people and companies behind ALEC. 

If you have a smartphone, there’s a wonderful (free) app called Buycott.

Via:

1. Download Buycott to your smartphone. (Google Play Store & Apple Store have it.)
2. Create a login.
3. Click on the Campaigns tab.
4. Scroll down to All Categories.
5. Pick Civil Rights.
6. Pick Boycott ALEC Corporations. (It should have my name way down in the campaign description.)
7. Join!

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Liberty and Justice for All

To the Parents of Trayvon Martin:

I am so sorry.  So very sorry.

As a mother, I am tempted to say something insensitive like I feel your pain.  Perhaps even I can imagine how you must feel.  But, both are lies.  I can not feel your pain, nor can I even begin to fathom how badly this must hurt.  My brain can not wrap around the excruciating, soul-wrenching pain you must be in.  So, I am left with…I’m sorry.

I, like millions of others, am sorry that you will never again hug or kiss your boy.  We are saddened that his life ended in such a senseless, tragic, and  preventable way.  It breaks our hearts that it took nothing more than traversing the street – in a hooded shirt – for Trayvon to become a “suspicious” person.  To be thought of as “up to no good”.  To be stalked, and murdered.

Those millions and I are further sorry that our justice system failed you. We were shocked that your son had barely been retrieved from the ground before his killer was home.  Home.  We were upset that it took national flash mobs to ensure an investigation.   We were angry that his character was attacked and his named maligned.  We were livid at the notion that somehow Trayvon has less of a right to be on that street than his attacker.  We were determined to stand with you, and all who loved your son, while the wheels of justice turned.

We were stunned and outraged that, after all was said and done, George Zimmerman was convicted of nothing.

While we may not know how you feel, we did feel.  We do feel.

We feel that it is shameful, in America, that the way your son was dressed garnered suspicion and began this entire train wreck of events.   We know that the pervasive racism in this country continues to give credence to ridiculous stereotypes like the one your son came face to face with.  And that is wrong.

We feel that it is completely and totally unacceptable that our children are being stalked and killed due to someone else’s irrational fears.  We know that, in this country, the acts of rogue vigilantes should be discouraged.

We feel that if Stand Your Ground is a right of some, it is a right for all – Trayvon included.  He had just as much right to be where he was that night as his shooter did.

We try to imagine the confusion and fear your son must have felt that night.  We teach our children wonderful lessons about America.  We continually remind them that they can be anything they so desire, if they try hard enough.  We recount the horror stories of the past in order for them to appreciate the freedom and equality they enjoy now.  We tell them that their clothes, their hair styles, their shoes don’t matter.  Because what matters is on the inside.

I am certain Trayvon learned differently that night.  I am sure he didn’t have the foggiest idea why he was being pursued.  How could he?  His pursuer only knew he “looked off”.  He learned what hundreds of thousands of young, black males already know.  He learned that, for some, fitting a profile is deadly.  He learned that stereotypes can get you killed.  He learned that, sometimes, adults are wrong.  Sometimes, you don’t have to look for trouble, because trouble looks for you.

And that is the hardest thing to admit.  We were wrong.  We failed him.

Regardless of how hard we wish it, we will never be able to change the horrible events of that sad night.  But there are things that we can do.  We can’t give you back the child of your heart.  But we can work so that his dying was not in vain.  We can’t give you justice for his death.  But we can fight to change laws, removing them if necessary.  We can’t get rid of every irrational person.  But we can fight for a society that does not condone irrational actions.  We can’t heal you.  But we can stand with you.

We can stand with you in our communities and states.  We can stand with you in our jails and courthouses.  We can stand with you in the voting booths.

Our sympathy is a start, but we can do more.  We will do more.

Because liberty and justice for all is more than a slogan.

Our hearts, heavy and broken, are with you.

Sincerely,

America