False, No Credit Received

By Jesse Taylor
Sunday, February 8, 2009 13:03 EDT
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No, New York Times. No.

FOR the backers of Proposition 8, the state ballot measure to stop single-sex couples from marrying in California, victory has been soured by the ugly specter of intimidation.

Some donors to groups supporting the measure have received death threats and envelopes containing a powdery white substance, and their businesses have been boycotted.

Death threats are not the same thing as boycotts. When the civil rights movement boycotted buses in the 1950s and 60s, they were not threatening to kill the bus drivers. Here is a simple breakdown of the difference between the two:

Death threat: Threatening to kill someone.

Boycott: Threatening to not spend money on the new shipment of Shamwows you got in.

With tools like eightmaps — and there are bound to be more of them — strident political partisans can challenge their opponents directly, one voter at a time. The results, some activists fear, could discourage people from participating in the political process altogether.

There’s a very easy way to avoid the apparently exactly equal threats of living in fear for your life or selling fewer scarves. You could just stop supporting things that openly discriminate against your customer base. If I have a large Latino base of customers, voting for the “No Names That End In Z” proposal probably isn’t a good idea. Simply put, you have a decision to make: if you want the money of a certain identifiable group of people linked together by some quality, and there’s a ballot initiative that denies people with said quality certain rights or privileges, either you get the denial or you get their money. You don’t get both and you don’t get to declare that a nonviolent economic response to an electoral “fuck you” is equivalent to getting an anthrax letter in the mail.

Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor is an attorney and blogger from the great state of Ohio. He founded Pandagon in July, 2002, and has also served on the campaign and in the administration of former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. He focuses on politics, race, law and pop culture, as well as the odd personal digression when the mood strikes.
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