September 1, 2006

Mob Rule in Michigan Requires Repudiation at the Polls

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:35 pm

In a Thursday OpinionJournal.com, Terrence Pell, President of the Center for Individual Rights, describes the extreme actions those who want to preserve “affirmative action” in Michigan have taken to intimidate those who oppose it. The same group was involved in mob-like coercion in December, as noted at this previous post.

He also describes a judge’s disgraceful ruling that has the potential to open a Pandora’s box of troubles in future elections, which is an important issue and jusitifies reading the whole column. But I want to focus on the outrageous actions of affirmative-action defenders:

….. Just a few weeks before the deadline for Proposal 2 to get onto the state ballot, the “Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action By Any Means Necessary” (BAMN, loosely) argued that the signature gathering process used to qualify the referendum was tainted by racially targeted fraud. From the beginning, BAMN has claimed the initiative disguised an anti-black and racist agenda. But because many black individuals had signed the petition, BAMN had to show they’d been duped.

So the group launched an “investigation.” They systematically called and personally visited blacks who’d signed the petition. In some cities, they had friendly talk show hosts read the names of black signers over the radio. In all cases BAMN’s message was the same: How could you, a black person, sign a petition to roll back affirmative action?

BAMN’s high-pressure tactics worked. Some signers and even gatherers decided they’d been deceived. In some cases they recalled being told that the petition was to “support affirmative action” and to help get their “children into college.” Using pre-printed affidavits (some “signed” over the phone), BAMN collected statements from dozens of individuals and started a legal campaign to get the referendum pulled.

BAMN’s claims were hardly credible. The Michigan constitution explicitly guarantees the right of citizens to put issues on the ballot, so long as they can collect signatures of registered voters equal to 10% of the last gubernatorial election. And, in accordance with state law, the language of the referendum was printed in full at the top of each signature page, so that voters had the opportunity to read it for themselves.

BAMN has taken a famous legal proverb even one step further:

If the law is on your side, pound on the law; if the facts are on your side, pound on the facts; if neither is on your side, pound on the table.

Now the last phrase is apparently “pound on, threaten, and intimidate your opponents.”

In a saner world, BAMN would be embarrassed about its behavior.

Since they aren’t, they must be (figuratively, of course) trounced at the polls.

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