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Google Political Transparency
January 12, 2009 12:11 AM   Subscribe


 
Yay lynch mob?
posted by dhammond at 12:27 AM on January 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wow, that sure is an, uh, invasion of privacy right there, yessir.
posted by minifigs at 12:28 AM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's sort of an invasion of privacy, but if you're going to stand up and push for nullification of 36,000 marriages, be prepared to reap the whirlwind.

Sunshine kills mold, this is the same thing.

Either this is a socially acceptable thing to push for, and we congratulate the supporters, or these people are (as I believe), no better than the racists of yore.

I can't see a positive discourse coming out of this though..


Anecdotally, there's a LOT of finance folks and retired people....
posted by Lord_Pall at 12:33 AM on January 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Remember the old days when you could be an ass and get away with it? Those were the days...
But this is wrong. Is it possible to donate under another person's name? If so this could be really scary.
posted by wolfewarrior at 12:37 AM on January 12, 2009


To add this in before it gets lost in the ensuing thread, this could be seen as a reaction to the attempts to make the donor list anonymous, which many of the people of the Prop 8 folks have been pushing in the wake of the protests.
posted by Weebot at 12:37 AM on January 12, 2009


Lucius Fox, please type in your password.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:46 AM on January 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Interesting. I'm not American by birth, so to be embarrassingly honest, I didn't know the ins-and-outs of donating to these sorts of initiatives and how the public record aspect of it all functions.

Of course, I'm one of those pesky foreigners who came here believing in the American love of justice, fairness and tolerance . . . and I'm still a little disturbed when something like Prop 8 comes along and legitimizes a point of view that seems something other than "American" - not to mention the actual constraints on free expression that the proposition allows to happen.

So out of curiosity, I clicked on some of the names. I was really bothered when I saw teachers and charity organizers and people in positions where dealing with the public is an important part of their job support what is fundamentally hate legislation. One such person was a realtor. Now, you'd think in a city as proud of its gay-friendliness as SF that realtors wouldn't spit in the eyes of such a large percentage of the population. I googled this realtor, and was interested to see that there was already a little review forum on her, with three negative reviews "outting" her as a Prop 8 supporter. You can see it here. As my clicking on her name was entirely random, I'm sure others who supported Prop 8 have been similarly outed.

This openness about records didn't exist when I was living in Sarajevo. So that same neighbor who smiled at me and said hello might have been one of the same people plotting to kill me and my family and donating large sums to genocidal political parties. This may sound a bit hysterical, but when the war ended, some of the big local war criminals ended up being people friendly to my parents (in one small bit of happiness, my parents were killed before having to suffer from this knowledge.) The shock of learning the truth about people was (and remains) in many ways much worse than the deaths of family and friends, the physical wounds and scarring and the other lingering psychological effects of the war.

So it's with great pride that I've now discovered that people in America who materially support good or bad legislation with their dollars must have their names attached to the causes, and that they will be publicly revealed. Perhaps, when business drops off - when buyers no longer buy or even walk-through houses listed by Ms. Mazzei and her ilk - she will have to think about her position, and I hope then (because I am an optimist) that she will see the folly of her belief in this matter.

I'm proud to live in a country with this level of transparency. I know America's faults as well as anyone, but this is something that the USA has that many countries don't.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 12:51 AM on January 12, 2009 [119 favorites]


You can be as much of a dick as you want as long as it's to a person who supported Prop 8.
posted by 0xFCAF at 12:52 AM on January 12, 2009


You can be as much of a dick as you want as long as it's to a person who supported Prop 8.

Isn't the corollary to that "you can take away the rights of any U.S. citizen, so long as it's a person who's sexuality doesn't agree with your dogma"?
posted by revmitcz at 12:56 AM on January 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


Who said I was being sarcastic?
posted by 0xFCAF at 12:58 AM on January 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Human flesh search engine! Surely not another great Chinese innovation going to be stolen by the West? :(
posted by Abiezer at 1:02 AM on January 12, 2009


Wow, that sure is an, uh, invasion of privacy right there, yessir.

I'm not really seeing how it's any different to simply publishing the list -- a matter of public record. It's not like any of this is secret, its simply a more effective way to display the same information.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:08 AM on January 12, 2009 [10 favorites]


Good.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:09 AM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think anyone should be a "dick" to anyone in life, but I like to know if the businesses I support are supporting the public enforcement of ideologies I find hateful, discriminatory and wrong. This wasn't about a private thought or vote, it was about monetary support of legislation that could (and does) have a negative effect on many peaceful, law-abiding good citizens. I don't believe in an eye-for-an-eye . . . I'm from a country that has been "trading" eyes for centuries and it doesn't do anyone any good - if I believed in it, I'd be filling a jar with eyes right now. I'm a strict pacifist and ardently against any sort of physical or verbal retribution towards these naive, foolish people. On the other hand, if you're going to spend money supporting something that really does discriminate (and who can argue with that?), then you should be brave enough to stand up and say so. A boycott or refusal to do business with someone who'd restrict the rights of anyone strikes me as a righteous thing to do.

Of course if the majority of the population really were against gay marriage, one could argue that public support for Prop 8 would actually be good for business! Didn't the haters "win" this vote? I like how they claim to be a sort of "moral majority" and offer all sorts of blather about being the Voice Of The People. But when reality becomes a little more complex, and a little less obviously on "their" side, they want anonymity!

Being Bosnian, I never understood why - if the American South were as totally racist as we were taught it was (back when I was a schoolgirl in Sarajevo) - the members of the Ku Klux Klan needed to wear masks. But seeing this situation, it makes perfect sense, doesn't it?
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 1:10 AM on January 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


I'm not in favor of prop 8.

This post is exactly what the internet, and especially MeFi is not for.

Carry on.
posted by vapidave at 1:16 AM on January 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


Yay lynch mob?

Because we all know there's a long and tragic history of gay on straight violence?
posted by yeloson at 1:17 AM on January 12, 2009 [32 favorites]


For all the ignorant complaints about this being an "invasion of privacy", no one complains about Mormons and their ilk sticking their noses in the relationships of others. If you think this is an invasion of privacy, you don't know what the term means.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:18 AM on January 12, 2009 [51 favorites]


I'm not really seeing how it's any different to simply publishing the list -- a matter of public record. It's not like any of this is secret, its simply a more effective way to display the same information.

Well, here on Mefi, if someone posted a link showing the exact location of someone's home because they disliked them or their positions it would be deleted. I have no problem with the names of these shitheads being published, the schadenfreude is delicious, but publishing their addresses and showing people exactly where those addresses are seems likely to lead to trouble.

Companies that donated though? Fuck those guys, publish and boycott.
posted by minifigs at 1:21 AM on January 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


What minifigs said.

I'm worried the list may lead to someones house/person getting hurt, but I appreciate knowing what businesses,dentists,etc. donated so I can never do business with them again.
posted by arwulf at 1:25 AM on January 12, 2009


" . . . publishing their addresses and showing people exactly where those addresses are seems likely to lead to trouble."

I could almost respect this, but look at it this way:

1) The information, including donor addresses, is public record. And increasingly put on the internet via government websites. In many cases, that's the only way you can get it today.

2) Anyone who'd stumble across this mashup can easily do a Mapquest or Yahoo! Maps or Google Maps address search. The people who can't do these sorts of searches are likely too computer-illiterate to stumble across the mash up anyhow, like my 62 year-old great-aunt who lives in a Bosnian village and has only seen a computer up close once.

3) So what you're protesting is less an invasion of privacy than the loss of people having to add two plus two to get this information in "map" form.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 1:30 AM on January 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


but publishing their addresses and showing people exactly where those addresses are seems likely to lead to trouble.

The donor addresses are not published on this mashup.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 1:33 AM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would like to mention that the map, nor the California Secretary of State's Office online donor list, publish the full addresses of the contributors.

From what I can tell, the online donor list only has the zip codes, city, and state, though this is only from a cursory view of it.
posted by Weebot at 1:33 AM on January 12, 2009


Google Maps has always made me a little unnerved. It's that "I can see your house from here!" sort of vibe.

I mean, I can literally SEE some of these peoples' houses. That's a little freaky, to me.

I think, on the balance, this sort of transparency is positive, but that still doesn't stop me from wigging out a bit and wanting to move to the middle of the wilderness and grow very tall trees around my house, if not actually construct it subterranean.
posted by Scattercat at 1:36 AM on January 12, 2009


Simply put, they want to break up marriages, but they don't have the courage to stand up and be known for their convictions. What a bunch of cowards.

Repeated for emphasis.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:36 AM on January 12, 2009 [12 favorites]


So what you're protesting is less an invasion of privacy than the loss of people having to add two plus two to get this information in "map" form.

That's true I guess. I also ,apparently falsely, assumed that the addresses had been published somewhere in order for the map to be made. For the record, I'm not American and didn't mean invasion of privacy in a legal sense, more of a "I'd feel invaded if this happened to me" sense.
posted by minifigs at 1:53 AM on January 12, 2009


Dustin Updike is going to be a very popular man on the UCSC campus now. Doing a google search I see he's from the University of Utah. Pulling out my Jump to Conclusions mat, lemme just say, ". . . Figures".
posted by troy at 2:00 AM on January 12, 2009


troy: hah! Yeah, as a UCSC alum, that was one of the first things I checked too.
posted by Weebot at 2:07 AM on January 12, 2009


With the financial disclosure report I was able to look up to see if my neighbors donated. But with this mash up I can make a whole road trip out of revenge!
posted by munchingzombie at 2:13 AM on January 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Prop 8 is terrible, terrible legislation. That said, this map is some privacy invading bullshit. Not to mention potentially dangerous.
posted by zardoz at 2:19 AM on January 12, 2009


Byron De La Beckwith didn't need no fancy computerized interactive map to find his way to Medgar Evers's house and shoot him in the back.

I'm disgusted by Prop 8 too, but this sort of cutesy "see we could lynch 2.0 you, but we won't, but we could" bullshit tantrum isn't going to win you any votes, Prop 8 opponents. It just makes it look like there's another "fundamental value" you want to undermine, this time the one we call "democracy".

You guys need to disavow this shit right the fuck now.
posted by orthogonality at 2:19 AM on January 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


It just makes it look like there's another "fundamental value" you want to undermine, this time the one we call "democracy".

Democracy would be the fundamentalist Right spending millions to take away the rights of citizens in California.

There needs to be more accountability for hateful behavior and this is a good start.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:23 AM on January 12, 2009


How is this an invasion of privacy? Open Secrets allows me to search for everyone in my zip code who donated to Hillary Clinton's campaign, for example. Donor lists are public information. We're supposed to have this kind of transparency.
posted by tzikeh at 2:47 AM on January 12, 2009 [31 favorites]


If you're willing to drop five large to ban "teh ghey," you should be willing to stand up and say so. I donate money to my local shelter and I donated once to Obama's campaign. Neither one being associated with my name is going to make me cower and whimper.
posted by maxwelton at 2:56 AM on January 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


Prop 8 is ridiculous, and these people are not my friends, but still... voting itself being anonymous seems sort of cute and pointless with info like this out there.

I realize this info was always available. This just highlights the scariness of it to me.

Are little people supposed to... NOT donate, and merely vote? Hrm.
posted by rokusan at 2:56 AM on January 12, 2009


This doesn't undermine democracy. This has nothing to do with the *votes* of anybody, just the financing. I like the level of transparency in financing, allowing us citizens to see who's financing what causes. If they just wanted to keep their votes secret, they could have donated to the cause in a number of other ways (going to Utah and tossing wads of cash into Mormon collection plates, for example).

Transparency in funding *protects* democracy. At least that way, if some person or group does buy an election, everyone eventually gets to know about it, and see who was doing the buying, and to what degree.

Now, how would I feel if someone did a map mashup showing Obama campaign donors, and it showed my name on a map somewhere? I could live with that. (Of course, nobody would believe my name is real anyway.)
posted by jamstigator at 2:58 AM on January 12, 2009 [8 favorites]


Look, I'm sympathetic to boycotting businesses, and I understand it's pernicious to allow large anonymous individual donations.

And given that individual donations are a public record, it's obvious that for most people, you can with some level of effort tie the donation to an address, and publish that aggregated information.

But one thing we've settled on, in the US, is that losers in political games don't get punished for losing (indeed, we've gone too far in the opposite direction). That's why George and Dick will smile and move out in eight days, rather than surrounding the White House with tanks and forcing the military to choose the next President.

We've foregone revenge (and even appropriate punishment) to avoid what happens in Argentina and Sarajevo: people so in fear of losing everything, including their lives and livelihood, that they feel they have to fight to the death, that they can't afford to make the compromise required of democracy: that being, having up to 49.99% of the population acquiescing to an outcome they are unhappy with.

This map doesn't leave room for your enemies to become your friends.

And appearances are vitally important in politics. This map manages to suggest both that Prop 8 opponents won't go along with a democratically decided vote, and that they've willing to threaten and punish people who merely exercised their political rights to donate in opposition to Prop 8. It's only going to cement opposition to gay rights, and makes gays less sympathetic.

Martin Luther King, willing to brave dogs and firehoses, got the Civil Rights Act passed (with LBJ's help); the Black Panthers just confirmed a lot of whites' beliefs that blacks were a threat and civil rights legislation only increased that threat.

This seems threatening and simultaneously juvenile and petulant.
posted by orthogonality at 3:04 AM on January 12, 2009 [12 favorites]


I wish we wouldn't do this on Metafilter
posted by dawson at 3:11 AM on January 12, 2009


And, is it legal to put your employer as "God"?

Psycho-right wing pastors will often do this as part of a scheme to claim that their income isn't taxable.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:16 AM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't really understand why people are getting upset about this. It's public information put on a map. These people are in no more danger than they were prior to this map's creation. They knew when they donated money that their names would be publicly available and attached to this cause. In a functional democracy, you need to be able to follow the money. If they didn't want this information known, they shouldn't have donated money to a political cause. Not donating wouldn't have cost them their vote, after all. They could always have volunteered their time instead.

I'd be more upset that civil rights of others are even available to be voted upon by the masses than that political donations are public knowledge.

I'm surprised at the number of homemakers on the list; I didn't realize there were that many "homemakers" still around. (If there is no homemaker in my family, does that mean my home has not yet been made?)
posted by Hildegarde at 3:30 AM on January 12, 2009 [11 favorites]


The 49.999 percent thing doesn't actually apply for presidential elections, because some states/areas have a far larger effect on the outcome than other states/areas. I saw a site once that calculated that if 100% of the populations in just a few select areas, comprising just 23% of the population of the country, cast their votes the same way, then their candidate would win, regardless of who the other 77% of the population voted for. This has nothing to do with Prop 8, obviously; just pointing out that in our democracy, 23% of our population could, if they coordinated, choose our leader every time, regardless of what the majority of the people in the country think or how they vote. That's some weird-ass democracy there.

As for transparency in funding, I kinda hope this level of transparency becomes the norm. It should never show actual addresses (and this one doesn't), but if you want to use moolah to influence an election, I want everyone to know about it, regardless of who you are or what the election is about.
posted by jamstigator at 3:31 AM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow. I understand that this is totally legal and a matter of public record, and I completely understand why. I just hope that this information isn't acted upon violently.

I think that we're better than this, and that this movement is better than this. Getting even doesn't change minds.

Today, I was stuck in West Virginia for three hours on a mechanical delay. An airport cop sat next to me and my crew, and we began chatting about our families and sharing pictures(it was very late, and the passengers had all been rerouted). He showed me a picture of his wife, and I showed him a picture of my girlfriend. He looked uncomfortable, and said that he didn't agree with gay people...but then he said that she was very lovely, and we began chatting again. When we left, hours later, he shook my hand. I don't think that I changed his view on gay people, but maybe I chipped away at it a bit.

I know what it's like to feel trepidatious about being who you are, and as much as I disagree with the people on the Prop 8 donation list, and as angry as I am, I would still hate for them to feel that way. I would hate for that cop, with his rambunctious two year old with the cherub cheeks, to feel that way.

I see the potential for this to turn ugly, and I pray we all listen to the better angels of our nature.
posted by jnaps at 3:33 AM on January 12, 2009 [10 favorites]


This seems threatening and simultaneously juvenile and petulant.

It seems that way, because these Prop 8 bigots have, sadly, successfully conned people into believing their propaganda, that they have a legitimate basis for their twisted persecution complex.

No one says this sort of thing about reporting PAC lobbyist contributions to the public. There's nothing different about those lobbyists and these, except that bigoted religious fundamentalists are involved with these lobbying efforts, and we must give them a pass because God is with them.

It is disappointing to see intelligent people fall for their scam, and it doesn't bode well for equal protection laws when we cannot even try to hold bigots accountable for trying to manipulate the legal system.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:37 AM on January 12, 2009 [12 favorites]


And appearances are vitally important in politics. This map manages to suggest both that Prop 8 opponents won't go along with a democratically decided vote, and that they've willing to threaten and punish people who merely exercised their political rights to donate in opposition to Prop 8. It's only going to cement opposition to gay rights, and makes gays less sympathetic.

Realistically, though, within a year this sort of map will exist for anything it can be made to exist for; it'll soon just be a part of the move towards easier access of information in general. To jump on it simply because it happens to have been done *first* in relation to this issue is pretty meaningless. (Not that this is necessarily the first example of it being done, of course, but to my knowledge it's the first use being discussed here.)

This map suggests only what one wants it to suggest. To me it's raw but useful information and nothing else. Again, this sort of donor information being public is nothing new. What you seem to be suggesting is that the public record simply not be so easily accessible by any interested public party. (If not, please explain why. Do you want donor information to be made anonymous?) I have seen no threats of violence or damage to people or property because of this map. And it's a little disingenuous to suggest that actions taken (donations) in sympathy with a majority vote are somehow perilous . . . especially when nearly all violence between those who wish equal rights for homosexuals and those who would deny some or all of those rights has been directed against those supporting homosexual rights.

Furthermore, we have a federal constitution, and states such as California have their own constitutions as well. I'm all for democracy and democratic votes, but such votes should not usurp the rights of individuals. This vote was no more "right" than a vote to make Jews wear yellow stars would have been in Nazi Germany (they didn't vote, but at certain times it would have passed, I'm sure) or votes in America that would have denied equal rights of citizenship to African-Americans, such as the right to vote (which, put to a vote, would have passed in many places at many points in time. too.) Just because Prop 8 was a vote doesn't make it more legitimate than the diktats that forced Jews to wear yellow stars or disallowed African-Americans from voting. The ultimate law of a state is its constitution; the ultimate law of the USA is its constitution. The courts which interpret these constitutions have frequently made poor decisions in doing so, but with time they've tended to fix things. In time, the ban on gay marriages will be viewed as unconstitutional - I expect I may live long enough for the current debate to be seen as the joke it is, with people asking me if the population in the first decade of the 21st Century was as stupid as it sounds to them.

The opposition that is "cemented" is the people who believe some folks should have "bonus" rights over others. In Bosnia, before the war, many believers in multi-culturalism pushed the same sort of argument . . . "If we argue too much for "our" side, opposition might be cemented against us, and we worry about 'appearances.'" Consequently, many people didn't push for measures that, in the end, might have protected them. Then they were killed, because no one took the "moderates" they voted for seriously, or because the "moderates" bowed too quickly to the whims of the bad guys, so genocidal nationalists had a clear path to do what they wanted. I could make analogies with similar parties in pre-Nazi Germany doing the same thing.

I'm not gay, but I've many loved ones who are. Guess what? Gay people don't need sympathy per se. They just need the same rights and respect that the rest of us receive automatically.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 3:38 AM on January 12, 2009 [14 favorites]


I would like to see the Venn diagram that shows where folks who are outraged that their information is on this map overlap with folks who have poked around on a web-based sex-offender database. I am NOT saying the two situations are ethically alike, merely that they both represent turning publicly available information into an easily searchable-by-your-neighbors resource. There are consequences when we have the ability to turn this much data into actual information.
posted by ersatzkat at 3:50 AM on January 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


We've foregone revenge (and even appropriate punishment) to avoid what happens in Argentina and Sarajevo: people so in fear of losing everything, including their lives and livelihood, that they feel they have to fight to the death, that they can't afford to make the compromise required of democracy: that being, having up to 49.99% of the population acquiescing to an outcome they are unhappy with.

Your characterization of "what happens" in Sarajevo is entirely misleading and wrong, but I'll leave that for another day!

The disturbing part about your quote above has nothing to do with "49.99% of the population acquiescing to an outcome they are unhappy with." We're not talking about the fact that their candidate didn't win office, or their party lost seats in Congress, or that the new sewage treatment plant will be built in their neighborhood, or that the library-funding tax increase failed.

We're talking about a minority groups whose basic "equal" rights were restricted, for quasi-religious or quasi-moral grounds which have no basis in the constitution, by a group of people seeking to limit the rights of others for no real substantive reason.

That's a big fucking difference, in my book. Had Prop 8 been a vote to ban African-Americans from voting, should they accept that? Should that acceptance of the lose of their voting rights be characterized as "the compromise required of democracy?"
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 3:50 AM on January 12, 2009 [13 favorites]


... states such as California have their own constitutions as well. I'm all for democracy and democratic votes, but such votes should not usurp the rights of individuals

California does have its own constitution, and it now unfortunately says that marriage is between a man and a woman. That's what the constitution says as a result of democracy. It doesn't make any sense to say that a vote that amended the constitution is itself unconstitutional - how else does one change the constitutionality of a particular thing? Even if the constitution had previously granted that right, it no longer does (see the 21st amendment for another example).

Sometimes in democracy you end up with a really shitty result (i.e. prop 8). The democratic method of fixing the shithole California made for itself is readily available - another amendment to the state's constitution. If there were a legitimate case to be made for the federal unconstitutionality of these bans, it would have been made by now. We can't just wave the "unconstitutional!" wand and fix this mess, it's going to require another amendment (in this and many other states, or just this one plus a repeal of DOMA).
posted by 0xFCAF at 3:58 AM on January 12, 2009


It takes more than that to intimidate a fundamentalist, especially when you're the one afraid of guns. I suggest you find ways to provoke them that won't harden their resolve and undermine your own cause.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 4:21 AM on January 12, 2009


It's sad that we immediately assume violence is the only choice available to convince these people that their choices are wrong.


This guy had it right.

Pipe dream in this day and age?

Dunno, but the other ways haven't worked out so well..
posted by Lord_Pall at 4:28 AM on January 12, 2009


Or for the more modern.

Don't want to read, watch the movie.
posted by Lord_Pall at 4:29 AM on January 12, 2009


i'm surprised this wasn't done by knowthyneighbor, a group that started out posting petition signature lists online for the anti-marriage proposals in MA. one interesting thing that came out of this is that some of the petition fraud got exposed - some signature gatherers from one company were being paid by the name and had been doing things like lying about what petition they were collecting signatures for.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:31 AM on January 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is no worse than the outing of the BNP membership list. I, for one, would like to know if my neighbors are hateful assholes.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:38 AM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's sad that we immediately assume violence is the only choice available to convince these people that their choices are wrong.

The only ones who have proposed violence, to date, are those who support Prop 8, by fighting to codify bigotry under the threat of force of law.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:43 AM on January 12, 2009


Wow, Orange County has nearly as many donors as it does country clubs.

I doubt the point of the maps is implied menace or retribution -- verbal lists are obviously more effective for business boycott purposes, and since no street addresses but only zip codes are available, this is hardly some sort of Revenger's Walking Tour. It's just a very graphic way of illustrating who really financed the revolting initiative. Really, I'd like to see how many red pointers two states away from Michigan would pop up on a distribution map of contributors to the campaigns for/against any of our recent ballot propositions. Probably about 4 total if that.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:53 AM on January 12, 2009


As someone who who writes checks and clicks "donate now" buttons all the time on websites, I am fully aware that any information about who I am and where I live and to whom I donate is public knowledge.
I know this by the sheer amount of mail I receive asking for more money, and by the fact that it's coming from mainly the types of organizations that I donate to.
As a matter of fact, the only time I have a second thought about donating to any cause, is when it could be potentially seen as being anti-government, or on a stretch, pro terrorist (in other words, aid to civilians in any country that we are currently not supporting). This fear is of governmental retaliation.
Any organization that I care about enough to give money to I am proud enough of my contribution to stand behind it and argue it's merits.
Is there the chance that some odd looney will go off and come hunt me down because they disagree with me? Yes, just as there is a chance that some random person that I walk by in the street could freak out and stab me with a pair of scissors.
People who donate money should have the backbone to put their money where their mouth is, and seriously, where is this fear of physical recrimination coming from, anyway? Is it that much of a reality?
posted by newpotato at 5:01 AM on January 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


I also own businesses that are frequented by the general public. At this moment I have some very opinionated signs up in one of them regarding the upcoming inauguration (promoting a good riddance party for a certain politician).
I fully expect that those that disagree with my POV will eschew my business altogether, not wanting to support my business because they don't support my politics. I am okay with that.
That being said, I'm pretty secure in the knowledge that based on it's location, the majority of people likely to see the signs or frequent the business would tend to agree with my politics.

I might have thought twice and kept my politics to myself if I was in a different neighborhood or even city where my opinion would be more controversial, but that is a business decision that is mine to make. I would still be supporting those causes I believe in, albeit more privately, and still be expecting the information to be made public.
posted by newpotato at 5:08 AM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


If Obama proved one thing this year, it's that reasonable discourse and appealing to a broad range of ideologies is IMPOSSIBLE and the strongest and quickest path to political success is to isolate your enemies and make them feel stupid and evil while stirring up your muddle-headed base with divisive and pandering language. This map sets an excellent precedent for our political future!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:20 AM on January 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


In case you couldn't tell, I'm being sarcastic. This "mashup" is a senile, buck-toothed, old mummy with bony girl arms and it smells like an elephants butt.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:23 AM on January 12, 2009


quickest path to political success is to isolate your enemies and make them feel stupid and evil while stirring up your muddle-headed base with divisive and pandering language

Prop 8, QED.
posted by gimonca at 5:33 AM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


1. Publicize people as being anti-Prop 8.
2. ???
3. Convince them to support gay marriage.

Is (2) supposed to be public shaming?
posted by smackfu at 5:43 AM on January 12, 2009


This openness about records didn't exist when I was living in Sarajevo.

I'm not sure that's a good thing. It didn't originally exist in the USA, either. Specifically, the people who turned that hunk of the British Empire into the USA were able to do so in part because they were able to give anonymous support to political causes. It wasn't until later that "Common Sense" felt free to identify himself as "Thomas Paine", for the most famous instance.

I admit that if you have a perfect (or just a good-but-at-risk-of-declining) society, one way to help ensure its stability is to make it impossible for the minority groups who support changing that society to propagate their opinions without being "outed" to the public at large. I can't really argue against that idea in a context where "changing that society" is code for "ethnic cleansing"... but I would like to point out that in the context here and now, "changing that society" means "allowing gay marriage", and here social liberals are the ones in the growing minority, and I fear that our opponents might be just as capable of identifying and punishing us as vice-versa.
posted by roystgnr at 5:52 AM on January 12, 2009


Invasion of privacy my ass. Are you Invasion of Privacy folks afraid of what you've donated to?
posted by grubi at 5:59 AM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


And besides, it's not illegal, it's not even immoral to reveal these lists. It simply makes you uncomfortable, and I understand that. Taking away homosexuals' civil rights makes me *very* uncomfortable.
posted by grubi at 6:01 AM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Are you Invasion of Privacy folks afraid of what you've donated to?

Amen. If you're not doing anything wrong, you've got nothing to hide.
posted by 0xFCAF at 6:01 AM on January 12, 2009


Why assume that the map is for shaming or revenge, or any other negative thing. Certainly I would think that were one to re-fight the Prop 8 battle it would be very helpful to know where it was most important to concentrate one's efforts.

The data is public. Re-presenting the data in a more usable format is hard to see as any sort of invasion of privacy or violation. Can you imagine if epidemiologists were cautioned against publishing graphs of infection rates in sub-populations just because graphs are easier to read than raw statistics?
posted by OmieWise at 6:07 AM on January 12, 2009


If you're not doing anything wrong, you've got nothing to hide.

Uh,

That's the same argument they use to put cameras up on every street corner, and to allow warrantless searches of vehicles.

Anger is understandable but this is not the way to go.
posted by waraw at 6:10 AM on January 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


And besides, it's not illegal, it's not even immoral to reveal these lists. It simply makes you uncomfortable, and I understand that. Taking away homosexuals' civil rights makes me *very* uncomfortable.

Please don't equate people who are uncomfortable with this with people who voted yes on prop 8.
posted by minifigs at 6:13 AM on January 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


Amen. If you're not doing anything wrong, you've got nothing to hide.

That's a pretty simplistic attitude. I guess federal wire tapping and all the trappings of the Patriot Act are benign as well as I personally have nothing to hide. Having anything to 'hide' would mean I'm a racist, hate-mongering homophobe.
posted by dawson at 6:14 AM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is no worse than the outing of the BNP membership list. I, for one, would like to know if my neighbors are hateful assholes.

The outing of the BNP membership list was definitely worse, since members of the BNP did not provide their personal information with the understanding that it was entering the public domain, unlike the Proposition 8 donors. Maybe you would like to know if your neighbours belong to certain political parties, but you certainly don't have a right to. As long as the BNP is a legal political party its members have a right to privacy.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 6:14 AM on January 12, 2009


Glad I saw the map, it's worth knowing that Philly's John Templeton Foundation whose stated purpose is "to encourage research into 'big questions' by awarding philanthropic aide to institutions and people who pursue the answers to such questions through explorations into the laws of nature and the universe, to questions on the nature of love, gratitude, forgiveness, and creativity," donated $450,000.
posted by The Straightener at 6:16 AM on January 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Hooray, another pile-on of self-congratulatory hate-on-prop-8!

I thought we had finally gotten tired of these things. I know I am. The vitriol consistently expressed in regards to this issue really makes me want to disassociate myself with the anti-8 crowd, without regard to my personal views on the subject. Please let's just agree to get civil unions for -everybody-, get rid of marriage, and get on with life and be nice to each other.
posted by po at 6:18 AM on January 12, 2009


I understand Focus on the Family and their 50,000, but what's with all the rest? Result from bake sales? Passing the plate during a service? Bell ringer donation box? Focus on the Family taking a cut?



Focus On The Family
$50,000.00 3/28/2008
$55.80 1/29/2008
$1,321.88 2/15/2008
$83.15 2/13/2008
$84.08 3/3/2008
$62.70 3/5/2008
$51.92 2/15/2008
$301.53 3/20/2008
$301.53 3/21/2008
$301.53 3/27/2008
$63.90 3/24/2008
$492.76 3/12/2008
$68.40 3/12/2008
$313.57 1/4/2008
$100.79 1/15/2008
$75.23 10/8/2008
posted by Eekacat at 6:23 AM on January 12, 2009


Hooray, another pile-on of self-congratulatory hate-on-prop-8!

Yeah, it's like Ron Paul! Part Deux.
posted by dawson at 6:25 AM on January 12, 2009


I'm not American by birth, so to be embarrassingly honest, I didn't know the ins-and-outs of donating to these sorts of initiatives and how the public record aspect of it all functions

Dee, I teach introductory American politics in college. I offer you my personal assurance that the vast majority of Americans by birth know positively fuck all about it.

It doesn't make any sense to say that a vote that amended the constitution is itself unconstitutional - how else does one change the constitutionality of a particular thing?

It does in this case, if Prop 8 actually rises to the standard of a "revision" instead of a mere "amendment" and so required the approval of the Legislature as well. More generally, while it might or might not affect the legalities, it's not torturing the language to speak of things that are so vile that they violate the fundamental principles underlying a constitution as being "unconstitutional," even if approved by an amendment.

Specifically, the people who turned that hunk of the British Empire into the USA were able to do so in part because they were able to give anonymous support to political causes.

I need to look at the Declaration of Independence again. I had thought that the signatures on it were those of real people who were risking execution for treason if they lost, but now I learn that it's just Hubert Jass and Oliver Clothesoff and Ingmar Petter Freileigh.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:26 AM on January 12, 2009 [11 favorites]


Um, po, what pile-on are you talking about? Seems like an interesting discussion about donor information to me. Or, did you just assume it would be and jump to the end and add your comment?
posted by Eekacat at 6:27 AM on January 12, 2009


The U.S. Government was initially based on transparency.

The point is -- no secret cabals, no secret tribunals, everyone sees everyone eye to eye.

That's why stuff like political donations are public knowledge. If you're freaked out that someone fed the zip codes into Google Maps, well you're not going to like what I'm going to say next -- it's going to get even more networked. The data is already public knowledge, but as we build more and better tools to analyze and review that knowledge, we're going to be able to get more and better access to the data. The technology is empowering the policy, and the policy is transparency.

This isn't necessarily Best of the Web&trade, but if you view it through the filter of "Well, last week Prop 8 groups filed lawsuits to seek to hide/obscure the transparency of their actions", then this is a neat counter statement. Essentially they voted for a hate bill, and now they're concerned about reaping some of that karmic hate they've registered for. Well, I'm not saying flaming turds or physical violence are an answer, but they certainly should be capable of answering why they feel other people's rights are less important than their own.
posted by cavalier at 6:32 AM on January 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Bring Forth the Tar and Feathers!
posted by ericb at 6:42 AM on January 12, 2009


This is interesting.
Is the Elsa Prince from up near Holland, MI, Eric Prince's mom.
You Eric Prince head of Blackwater International?
posted by readery at 6:43 AM on January 12, 2009




My name's out there as someone who donated to No-on-8. My side lost - lost to people who don't think I'm a full person deserving of rights like them, who think my "lifestyle" is icky, perverted, disgusting, etc. - and the winners are the ones who don't want their names publicized? Spare me.

Prior to the election, if I'd wanted to find Prop 8 supporters, all I'd have had to do was go around and look for campaign signs in people's windows or front yards. They were happy to put signs in their front yards! But this is somehow an "invasion" of privacy? I don't get it.
posted by rtha at 6:48 AM on January 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


Elsa Prince and Prop 8 previously on MeFi.
posted by ericb at 6:48 AM on January 12, 2009


Eekacat - I was referring more to the creators of the link than to the discussion here, though I see several comments here which qualify as well ("The only ones who have proposed violence, to date, are those who support Prop 8, by fighting to codify bigotry under the threat of force of law," "people who don't think I'm a full person," "You can be as much of a dick as you want as long as it's to a person who supported Prop 8," "What a bunch of cowards," etc.).
posted by po at 7:04 AM on January 12, 2009


There's no reason address and phone number info couldn't be added to this mashup. Does this change the effect? All it does is connect public databases, which we as a society have deemed useful and not a violation of rights. An unintended technological effect, perhaps. Short of revisiting the public nature of the information, which many of you have been discussing, I'd suggest that we need better regulation of the ACCURACY of the information in these databases. If it is going to be so easy for people, government, employers, etc. to do this kind of data mining, then I'd like to be damn sure that my information is not on the wrong lists. Like this one.
posted by Ella Fynoe at 7:07 AM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


FWIW, the map isn't complete. I looked at a list of businesses* that donated and found a couple in my neck of the woods (don't remember names, as they're business I've no interest in patronizing) but couldn't find them on this map.

*Businesses. Not individuals. [NOT STALKERIST]
posted by stet at 7:08 AM on January 12, 2009


Hang on, po - my characterization of pro-Prop 8 voters as "people who don't think I'm a full person" is piling on how, exactly? (Not snarky, genuinely asking, and about to leave for work, so I won't be back here for a bit.)
posted by rtha at 7:11 AM on January 12, 2009


This would have been cooler if it had the "No on 8" contributers mapped too (maybe with blue tags?). Oh well.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 7:14 AM on January 12, 2009


rtha: you shouldn't call people who hate/despise black people "racists" because it hurts their feelings, and that's just mean, you're trying to rob them of their first amendment rights, and so on.
posted by vivelame at 7:18 AM on January 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Please don't equate people who are uncomfortable with this with people who voted yes on prop 8.

Please don't equate people who are comfortable with this information as a potentially revengeful lynch mob. Deal?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:31 AM on January 12, 2009 [10 favorites]


This is just so wrong. It is wrong when an employer denies you a job because you donated to Obama, or MoveOn.org. It is wrong when you are blacklisted from Hollywood for having had any contact with the communist party (as if all people who did were seeking the downfall of our government rather than just perhaps being concerned about labor rights). It is wrong when people boycott your store because you are a "nigger lover." All of these things are wrong, and so is boycotting people who voted for Prop. 8. All this does is further hatred and put barriers up to political discourse. I completely understand the sentiment, and if I knew someone who had voted for this abomination I would likely take a dim view of them, but an organized witch hunt to punish people who take views contrary to your views is harmful to society. This is intimidation pure and simple and it will rather than change hearts and minds, further entrench those against whom you apply this aggression. Fight hate with love, not more hate.
posted by caddis at 7:33 AM on January 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think I alreadydid that but sure.
posted by minifigs at 7:35 AM on January 12, 2009


That was in reference to KevinSkomsvold not caddis
posted by minifigs at 7:36 AM on January 12, 2009


Prop 8 was an organized witch hunt, caddis. This is just a map with some public information on it.
posted by Hildegarde at 7:39 AM on January 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


Now, how would I feel if someone did a map mashup showing Obama campaign donors, and it showed my name on a map somewhere? I could live with that.

That's probably a good thing.
posted by EarBucket at 7:44 AM on January 12, 2009


Yeah, vivelame, my denunciation of hatred totally makes me a bigot.

rtha: I apologize if I offended by including that. However, I am unaware of the majority of yes on 8 voters believing that no on 8'ers are not people. Yes, there are true bigots and people who would commit despicable acts of violence, and I do not excuse them for a moment for their views or their actions. But I honestly don't see that kind of attitude existing in over 50% of the voting California population. While their justifications may not be rational or acceptable to anyone but themselves, I never heard an argument, official or otherwise, for prop 8 that included the reasoning that gays are not people.

If this is because I haven't been paying enough attention or don't know 50% of California's voting population, feel free to correct me. I can live with that, and I'll just apologize and be done.
posted by po at 7:51 AM on January 12, 2009


The Dishonor Roll
posted by vim jamba at 7:53 AM on January 12, 2009


My Dog's Veterinarian gave $3000? Wow, that sucks. I guess Rowdy needs a new Vet. It's weird looking around my neighborhood and seeing so many red flags.

This would have been cooler if it had the "No on 8" contributers mapped too (maybe with blue tags?). Oh well.


That would be cool. It would be a great neighborhood listing of who knows how to throw a good party and who doesn't. Mormans can't throw a decent bash to save their lives. I speak from experience, having consumed my fair share of butter cream frosting without coffee to wash it down.
posted by JimmyJames at 7:57 AM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


caddis: It is wrong when people boycott your store because you are a "nigger lover."

Bzuh? People can't boycott businesses when their ideologies differ from the owners? Let's turn that around. "It is wrong when people boycott your store because you are a "nigger hater."

The Civil Rights movement would have been stillborn.

Like it or not, people are free to think for themselves, and act on their thoughts, even if you disagree with those thoughts and actions. I used the website (seems to be gone now, turned into a book) that listed which businesses supported which candidates / social movements (Sam's Club - Republican; Costco - Democrat) to choose where to shop. Was that wrong?
posted by tzikeh at 7:59 AM on January 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Best use of mashups to provide publicly available information yet.

What people do with this mashup (stop supporting businesses or intimidation) is up to the individual, not the mashup. Intimidation is wrong, choosing who to associate with is not.

If I give money to a political cause it's because it is something I believe in and will stand up for. Couldn't care less who knows it. If I didn't want people to know I wouldn't publicly support it.
posted by twistedonion at 8:02 AM on January 12, 2009




Something I couldn't help notice. Do students in your neck of the woods not have better things like drink, drugs and general partying to be spending their money on?

Try getting a student here to donate even 50p to their favourite cause would be a battle!
posted by twistedonion at 8:16 AM on January 12, 2009


po- To put it in an enthymemic form:

All persons in the USA are created in equal standing with full rights.
Gay people do not deserve full rights.
Therefore, gay people are not persons.

Whatever one's religious beliefs are, those beliefs should be separate from what governs our (praise god) secular society. Gays ARE persons and deserve rights and rites of marriage, divorce, and so on.

As far as a pushpin in a virtual map showing who or what causes one donates to being an invasion of privacy---well, that's what kept me from donating to Gus Hall's presidential campaign.
posted by beelzbubba at 8:21 AM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


It is wrong when people boycott your store because you are a "nigger lover."

OTOH, it's absolutely correct to boycott somebody's store because they're a "nigger hater" and refuse to serve them. It's the support for bigotry and hatred that's wrong, not your desire to support or to refuse to support certain businesses.

You can be damn sure that these people aren't buying their buttplugs on Castro. Should we force *them* to buy their buttplugs at a gay sex shop?

Also: you know who else wanted secrecy and anonymity for their political actions? Think white sheets and pointy hats!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:24 AM on January 12, 2009


I'm with other people who are pointing out that this is the wave of the future. If you don't like it, it's time to move to a shack in Montana and start writing anti-technology screeds.

The reason this doesn't scare me in the least little bit is: more information is always, always good. Especially about politics.

Americans have this weird disease where politics and religion and etc. must all be private matters in the interest of maintaining "civil" discourse. Fuck that. They must all be public matters and then we must make the effort to engage in civil discourse.

I want everyone on the street to know that I love Obama, and if someone disagrees with me, I want to talk to them about it. Why is this not the conventional standard of politics? I want to be a walking advertisement for any and all causes that I feel strongly about. And if that means I put my name in a database and anyone can see that and know me and my politics for what I am, that is the greatest thing I've ever heard.

Now, the problem comes when you start worrying about the government deciding that your humanitarian donations to Gaza are evidence of terrorists leanings, or whatever. But this isn't a fault of the release of information - it's a fault of the government. And the solution to faults of the government? More information! If someone is radically oppressed by the police, that should be trumpeted from every news station and blog. Unfortunately, the MSM has failed us in this regard, but in 15 years, that won't matter.
posted by TypographicalError at 8:31 AM on January 12, 2009 [11 favorites]


1. Publicize people as being anti-Prop 8.
2. ???
3. Convince them to support gay marriage.

Is (2) supposed to be public shaming?


From a sociological perspective, yes. Certainly it doesn't mean heads-on-pikes-violence or anything, but yes, public shame is an important component of social change.

When I deal with people who hold outdated ideas rooted in racism, puritanism, sexism, etc., I find that the most effective way to respond isn't with hate, argument, or derision, but simply "That's sad, I'm disappointed in you."

That's public shame, right there, and it's effective.
posted by odinsdream at 8:40 AM on January 12, 2009 [9 favorites]


All of these things are wrong, and so is boycotting people who voted for Prop. 8.

The Lords of Karma are masters of grand irony.

You're concerned that the people on these maps might be silently ostracized, treated differently, and their businesses avoided. That others will judge them based on moral beliefs. That people will whisper behind their backs, or flagrantly point and laugh.
posted by terranova at 8:42 AM on January 12, 2009 [11 favorites]


These people aren't as bad as those who worked hard to get Bush re-elected in 2004. If you shrug and say "meh, politics" about that, but clench your fists in rage about Proposition 8, I question the logic of your position. Bush did a lot of worse things in a lot of worse ways.

Secondly, people can and do change their opinions. While they certainly all deserved to wear the shameful badge of Proposition 8 supporters the day after the vote, and almost all still deserve to do so now; as time goes by, more and more will naturally resile from their previously held position. But having their names on a list of Proposition 8 supporters risks tainting them forever. We've all held and expressed and argued opinions in our lives that, in retrospect, we realized were stupid and hurtful. Would you want to have your list of stupid opinions--and stupid actions that led to harm--kept next to your name forever? I'd like to see some mechanism for annotating the list with a personal statement of some kind; ideally for retractions, but impassioned screeds defending their position are equally useful in the long term.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 8:50 AM on January 12, 2009


You're concerned that the people on these maps might be silently ostracized, treated differently, and their businesses avoided. That others will judge them based on moral beliefs. That people will whisper behind their backs, or flagrantly point and laugh.

No, it's more of a slippery slope thing. If it is ok to go after them for their political views then perhaps they or others will come after you for yours. Boss: "Well terranova, I see that you gave money to move on. You are no longer employed here. The security guard will escort you out."
posted by caddis at 8:50 AM on January 12, 2009


This is pretty straightforward, caddis.

It is not okay to fire people because of their political views because then they won't have any way to pay their bills. That's not cool - in civil society, we let people earn a living regardless of their politics.
It is okay to boycott businesses because of their political views because then they won't have any way to pay their bills. Showed them! In a civil society, we let people know when their politics are bad by depriving them of their means of earning a living.
posted by 0xFCAF at 8:57 AM on January 12, 2009


TypographicalError Americans have this weird disease where politics and religion and etc. must all be private matters in the interest of maintaining "civil" discourse. Fuck that. They must all be public matters and then we must make the effort to engage in civil discourse.

caddis If it is ok to go after them for their political views then perhaps they or others will come after you for yours.

You're both right, but there's a sensible balance to be found between these two very valid concerns: in my opinion, it's an acknowledgement that with having an opinion comes the responsibilites to be able to rationally defend it, and to change it if proven wrong. If you can't do that, you don't have an opinion, you're reciting dogma.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 8:57 AM on January 12, 2009


No, it's more of a slippery slope thing. If it is ok to go after them for their political views then perhaps they or others will come after you for yours. Boss: "Well terranova, I see that you gave money to move on. You are no longer employed here. The security guard will escort you out."

And if we arrest people for stealing, it's a slippery slope to arresting people for NOT STEALING!

(your argument is fallacious and invalid)
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:57 AM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately, the MSM has failed us in this regard, but in 15 years, that won't matter.

Yeah, because we'll be in the gulag by then.

/tongue-in-cheek... Mostly...
posted by Caduceus at 9:00 AM on January 12, 2009


caddis, that information is public RIGHT NOW. Everyone knows who gave money to what candidate. Why aren't you protesting the lists of Obama supporters available on google maps?
posted by Hildegarde at 9:01 AM on January 12, 2009


Caddis this is nothing new. This stuff is public information. It has BEEN public information for quite a while. How is shoving it on a map any diferent?
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:06 AM on January 12, 2009


Lynch mob? I think maybe the wrong folks have already been left swinging in the trees.

Full report here.


I fully supported Prop 8 but the wailing and accusations are out of control.
posted by pianomover at 9:07 AM on January 12, 2009


Just want to pop in and go on the record as having zero problem with this.

It's pretty effed up to say that you're worried about violence being perpetrated against them and their property. Somewhere there's a comparison to be drawn here about my gayness being practically visible from space, and how vulnerable it has made me to violence over the years -- if homosexuality is a "choice" that has consequences affecting my public life, as these people say, then so should their choices be equally visible, and the consequences just as deserved.
posted by hermitosis at 9:10 AM on January 12, 2009 [11 favorites]


If this was just peoples' votes, I'd be pissed. When you go into the booth, your privacy should be as absolute as you yourself want it to be. This isn't about votes though. This is about the financing of political causes. Money is involved, and where money is involved, and especially when a mix of money *and* politics is involved, the default should be a very high degree of transparency. Anything less than that and democracy immediately takes a back seat to the desires of the people with the money. You'd think that we'd all have learned that by now.
posted by jamstigator at 9:18 AM on January 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


I never heard an argument, official or otherwise, for prop 8 that included the reasoning that gays are not people.

The very proposition reasoned that I am not a full human being deserving of all the rights and responsibilities enjoyed by everyone else in this state. It argues - and now enshrines in law - that I am not "special" (i.e. heterosexual) enough to get married.

Who got special rights here? Because it wasn't me.

And caddis - as others have said, what's so wrong about boycotting? Bus boycotts back in the day were wrong and promoted hatred? Should I buy goods from a company that I know uses child slave labor to make what they're selling rather than vote with my dollars by not buying their stuff?

This information has been out there since the beginning of the campaign, and has never been difficult to find. Please explain how this mashup is different?
posted by rtha at 9:20 AM on January 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


1. Publicize people as being anti-Prop 8.
2. Use map to strategize what areas & populations need more outreach
3. Convince enough -non-donators and fence sitters to swing the vote the other way

I'm curious why people imagine that after all this time, suddenly LGBT folks are going to magically get violent*? I mean, if you wanted to find people or organizations that were heterosupremacist, it's pretty easy. So far, no churches firebombed, no random people beat up for being straight, etc.

(*The exception being all that racist flak thrown around after the vote, but that was less to do with the gay-straight power dynamic as much as it was white-black...)
posted by yeloson at 9:22 AM on January 12, 2009


caddis: Some jurisdictions provide employee protection from discrimination based on political affiliation. However, from what I can tell it's pretty spotty, with some states and municipalities explicitly banning it, some only barring it for public sector employees, and some not banning it at all. Which is about the same position LGBT employee discrimination is at right now, actually.

I am not a labor lawyer, however, so if someone would like to come in with a more informed view of the subject, feel free to.
posted by Weebot at 9:25 AM on January 12, 2009


Huh. I think it's interesting when folks use the ignorance of the law to try to get sympathy for being shocked about public record. Ignorance of the law does not get you off in court.

If you do something that goes on the public record and you didn't know it and you get caught out that it means that folks can track you down and let you know how they feel about that, as long as that letting you know is not violent or harassing, that is a perfectly legal mechanism in the US today.

If you didn't put 2 and 2 together and realize that the public records can be combined with other publicly available information to reveal your location, your contact information, etc., then I guess you weren't paying attention when the Internet showed up.

Too bad you have to learn a hard lesson during a difficult political time when the folks who disagree with you are starting to get very fed up. Too bad. Maybe it's time to start moderating your political stance? Just a suggestion.
posted by kalessin at 9:30 AM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's not the fact that this information is public that troubles me. What troubles me is the witch hunt that has been put together. This information is made public to reduce graft and corruption, not to provide a tool to punish people for their political views.
posted by caddis at 9:30 AM on January 12, 2009


"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." - Mahatma Gandhi

Seems to me we are in step 3, the next step is winning.

While I understand concerns about privacy, the fundamental principle of American democracy is transparency of government for an informed citizenry.
posted by Argyle at 9:34 AM on January 12, 2009


It's not the fact that this information is public that troubles me. What troubles me is the witch hunt that has been put together.


Just speculation, but probably very few of the mapees are wiccans.
posted by terranova at 9:36 AM on January 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


Sometimes combining multiple public databases results in information that seems like it should be private. It's a fascinating fact of how our society works. It's very important that political donor names and amounts are public information. Phone books and maps are also useful public data. You mix them all together and it's a bit creepy, but you can't wish it away.

Unfortunately the Google Maps visualization isn't the best because there's a limit to how many map markers it'll place on a single map. I'd really like to see the density of donations by neighbourhood, or by county, but for that you need different map tools.

My partner recently got a package from an address we didn't recognize. I looked it up on Google. Result #1 told me the shipper was a furniture store we ordered from. Result #2 told me that the owner of that store had given $2000 to help prevent my partner and I from getting married. I felt sad then, particularly that we'd already paid the guy.
posted by Nelson at 9:37 AM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


In the past, boycotts have been used to further change. I don't see that here.

You boycott the sneakers produced in sweatshops, so the business improves its working conditions.
You boycott the restaurant that won't let black people sit at the counter, so the business stops discriminating.
You boycott the publisher pulling accounting tricks to deprive its authors of royalties, so the business stops doing that and gives restitution.

In this case, people are talking about leaving their veterinarian because of political actions. That's not a boycott, that's revenge. And while revenge does feel awesome, this isn't a race to the bottom. It's also certainly not about the money. Go find the AskMe about the bartender who was going to vote yes on Prop 8 and see how many people were calling for a "boycott".

You can change people's actions via financial coercion - this is the goal of a boycott, after all, and it works and is often justified. You cannot change people's minds this way. As dumb as they are, the people who voted yes on 8 voted that way because of what they believed. A systematic attempt to change their beliefs by financial means is not going to work, and is probably more likely to backfire. It's like if the religious right decided to organize boycotts against atheist-owned businesses - what the hell are they wanting to happen?
posted by 0xFCAF at 9:37 AM on January 12, 2009


There is no witch hunt.
posted by ursus_comiter at 9:45 AM on January 12, 2009


I fully supported Prop 8 but the wailing and accusations are out of control.

Clarification: You support/ed Prop 8? Is this correct? Support (yes) for Prop 8 indicates that you were/are for "protecting marriage" and "eliminating the right of same-sex couples to marry."

1. Publicize people as being anti-Prop 8.
2. Use map to strategize what areas & populations need more outreach
3. Convince enough -non-donators and fence sitters to swing the vote the other way


Voting against Prop 8 (anti-Prop 8) was a vote to allow same-sex marriage to stand as the California Supreme Court had ruled earlier in 2008.

I wonder how many actual voters were confused as to what a "yes" vote and a "no" vote meant when casting their ballots?

BTW -- the purpose of KnowThyNieghbor (as mentioned above) has been to encourage folks to reach out to their neighbors (in MA, OR and FL, etc.) to start dialogue.
"KnowThyNeighbor.org was created in the fall of 2005 in response to an initiative petition to ban same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. It was the brainchild of Tom Lang, a gay married man, and Aaron Toleos, a straight married man....If you see a friend, family member, or neighbor on the list of petition signers, make sure they are not a victim of fraud and let them know why marriage equality is important to you."
posted by ericb at 9:45 AM on January 12, 2009


You can change people's actions via financial coercion - this is the goal of a boycott, after all, and it works and is often justified. You cannot change people's minds this way.

I don't follow your reasoning at all. This data is the names and addresses of people who donated money to passing Prop 8. It would seem to make just as much logical sense to boycott the businesses of those individuals who donated so that either 1) they have less disposable income left over to donate to the next attempt to deny people rights, or 2) they consider that the costs of donating, even if they have the money, may exceed the face value of the check they want to write.

Your assertion that any boycott based on this information would be purely for revenge seems based more on your feelings about how to handle this than about any comparison with the past. Any boycott here would have exactly the same form as other boycotts.
posted by OmieWise at 9:47 AM on January 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


0xFCAF: I don't see how JimmyJames not wanting his money to directly or indirectly fund these type of campaigns constitutes revenge, nor how it is not about money.
posted by Weebot at 9:47 AM on January 12, 2009


I fully supported Prop 8

From the context, I think you meant "opposed." I hope.
posted by caddis at 9:49 AM on January 12, 2009


ericb - My bad- I copy pasted from the previous.

But also, there was a lot of auto-calls sent out to deliberately confuse the yes/no on 8 which also ought to be straight up illegal.
posted by yeloson at 9:51 AM on January 12, 2009


This data would be more usefully presented as a heat map. A lot of placemarks don't tell me very much about the amounts involved, which is sort of the important piece of info here. There may be a million donors in Orange County and three million in San Francisco, but OC could still have provided 70% of all funding and SF only 10%. The latter information means more than the former.

(Ignoring (ok, almost managing to ignore) the argument about "invasion of privacy" because it's silly -- this info has been public for a long time, and rightly so.)
posted by rusty at 9:53 AM on January 12, 2009



It's like if the religious right decided to organize boycotts against atheist-owned businesses - what the hell are they wanting to happen?

If the religious right organized boycotts?

If Prop 8 settled the matter for all time, then boycotts based on supporting it would be revenge. But it doesn't settle the matter for all time--just how many election cycles do you think it'll be before there's a serious run at overturning it, and allowing gay marriage again? I'm guessing that betting on it being more than one or two will be a longshot. What boycotts after the fact do is add a decision factor to the next time, to a measure to repeal the ban and the pleas for donations by the AFA and Mormons and whatnot. A fair number of previous donators--who are certain to be contacted again for their support against that "homosexual agenda in the cultural war"--will likely elect not to. Strongly held beliefs have a way of getting a lot less strongly held when putting money on the line damages earnings because of it.
posted by Drastic at 9:54 AM on January 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


In this case, people are talking about leaving their veterinarian because of political actions. That's not a boycott, that's revenge.

If I have a finite amount of money, and all other things being equal decide to avoid financially rewarding a service provider who does not contribute to a more equal, more just society in favour of a service provide that does seem to uphold those values, that's not "revenge," that's good sense.

My definition of a good community includes it being one populated by intelligent, open, accepting and forward-thinking individuals; I would prefer to encourage businesses that I know are staffed by these sorts of individuals, because I would like that business, and these individuals, to be part of the community I live within and routinely interact with.

Given a choice between Veterinarian A, who I know has contributed to a regressive and unjust cause, and Veterinarian B, who to the best of my knowledge has not, I choose Veterinarian B. I choose Veterinarian B not to exert some sort of passive-aggressive vengeance against A, I choose B because A now has a negative known quantity associated with him, and so based on the evidence at hand, B -- a blank -- would be a more valued member of my community than A.

Others may choose to change to Veterinarian A because of A's public record as supporting a regressive and unjust cause, and because that is the sort of community they want to encourage and be involved in. This then becomes a matter of which forces shape the community through the medium of purchasing decisions, which is a very slow but very real way to effect (or prevent) change.

I notice nobody is objecting to the fact that people that support Prop 8 can now patronize these financial institutions, pet shops, hair salons etc. as a result of this map. For all I know, it was made by people who love Prop 8 so that they can keep track of where to send Christmas cards that say Jesus Is The Reason For The Season.

There is nothing inherently positive or negative about a list of information, and if your knee-jerk reaction is that this list has been made to git people who supported Prop 8, that's probably because there's a little alarm bell in your head saying that Prop 8 was not a very good idea to begin with.
posted by Shepherd at 9:54 AM on January 12, 2009 [11 favorites]


Wedding Planner
Myler Weddings
$10,000.00


Apparently Myler Weddings doesn't like getting more business.
posted by erpava at 9:56 AM on January 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


Any mashup that includes those who donated to No On 8 would make very clear the apathy and cavalier attitude of all of us who should have donated but thought it wouldn't matter. Let's not just shame the pro-8 forces, let's shame the anti-8-who-didn't-donate forces.

And just so we're clear, firing someone or evicting someone for their political views is NEVER ok, but not giving them your business because of what they believe is entirely lawful and ethical.
posted by incessant at 9:58 AM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


In this case, people are talking about leaving their veterinarian because of political actions. That's not a boycott, that's revenge.

Not revenge, but a decision about where they will spend their hard-earned money. Do they give it to a business whose owner actively finances laws to restrict their rights?

In my county, the top contributors ($15,000) to Yes-on-8 were chief executives of one of our area's largest employment agencies.

Does that worry you? It worries me.
posted by terranova at 9:59 AM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


In this case, people are talking about leaving their veterinarian because of political actions. That's not a boycott, that's revenge.

If we're looking at it this way, then one could argue that the legislation itself is revenge.
posted by hermitosis at 10:00 AM on January 12, 2009


And just so we're clear, firing someone or evicting someone for their political views is NEVER ok, but not giving them your business because of what they believe is entirely lawful and ethical.

Also, keep in mind that in some places it is still okay to fire or evict someone because they are gay, including the US military.
posted by hermitosis at 10:03 AM on January 12, 2009


If I learned that, for example, my imaginary dog's vet had given financial support to something such as Yes on 8, I probably lose a great deal of respect for that person. I don't want to be around people I don't respect, and I don't trust myself to not be rude, so I would find a new veterinarian.

This probably makes me a jerk, but I don't think it's revenge.
posted by giraffe at 10:04 AM on January 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have no problem with addressing bigots in public.

Brings to mind this event in San Jose last October -- Front Yard Battle over Prop 8
"When the 'Yes on 8' sign Bob and Michele Sundstrom had placed in their front yard was stolen, the couple replaced it with a banner over their garage only to find some very public criticism of their position park in front of their house.

On Sunday, two people parked an SUV on the street outside the couple’s home, painted it with the slogan 'bigots live here,' locked the vehicle and left.

...Because the SUV outside the Sundstrom residence is legally parked, police said they cannot ticket or tow until the vehicle has been in the same spot for at least three days."
posted by ericb at 10:06 AM on January 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


To be sure, if this was a map of people who donated to causes I supported, I still would have no problem with it. What bothers me about this right now is the attitude of people who think that this is immoral in any way. How is this immoral? You find the public dissemination of info to be immoral, or just this particular presentation? But you find it more objectionable or immoral than the cause those folks support? That's where I'm stumped.

Oh, and by the way, slippery slope is a known logical fallacy.
posted by grubi at 10:08 AM on January 12, 2009


If it is ok to go after them for their political views then perhaps they or others will come after you for yours. Boss: "Well terranova, I see that you gave money to move on. You are no longer employed here. The security guard will escort you out."

This analogy breaks down completely if you stop for an instant to consider the relative capabilities of companies and individual workers.

If your employer wants to know whether you've donated to Move On or some Democrat or even just didn't donate $500 to the Republican, your employer has had the relatively easy ability to find that out for decades. All they had to do was get the relevant information from the FEC and have one of their management drones sort through it for their employees.

That's not that hard for a company to do if it really wants to root out the nonbelievers. It is hard for an individual worker to do in his or her spare time, though.

The only thing that maps like this or other easy online interfaces to FEC data do is give individual little people the same power that companies and big important people have had all along.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:10 AM on January 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Don't be mugging a girl and carving a backward "B" on her cheek just because she shows support for McCain by having a bumper sticker on her car.

Oh, wait. That was fake, wasn't it?
posted by ericb at 10:12 AM on January 12, 2009


How many of them are NF members?

Nthing the slight dodginess of this, btw. Also doesn't the lack of donors from outside of CA, and in Utah in particular, kind of undermine the case many people were making?
posted by Artw at 10:13 AM on January 12, 2009


Jesus, the idea that I should spend my money with businesses actively opposed to the world I want to live in is perhaps the stupidest thing I've ever read on metafilter. And that's saying something.

If I take Fido in for a $500 treatment at my vet, and learn later that all $500 of that money was donated to "Proposition 1: We Hate Maxwelton," I'd be absolutely idiotic to continue to patronize that business.

I notice nobody is objecting to the fact that people that support Prop 8 can now patronize these financial institutions, pet shops, hair salons etc. as a result of this map. For all I know, it was made by people who love Prop 8 so that they can keep track of where to send Christmas cards that say Jesus Is The Reason For The Season.

This is exactly right. The people who give their money to support hate can continue to be patronized by those who agree with them.

God, I feel dumber for having to argue this point.
posted by maxwelton at 10:14 AM on January 12, 2009 [10 favorites]


It's not the fact that this information is public that troubles me. What troubles me is the witch hunt that has been put together. This information is made public to reduce graft and corruption, not to provide a tool to punish people for their political views.

I understand how this is troubling-feeling, but as many have iterated, the information is public and should be. I'm not sure what "witch hunt" is being referred to, though--as far as I can tell, a few people are paying attention and changing decisions about whom they wish to do business with, and there's certainly lots of rhetoric flying around, but until I see ads that say "Realtor X donated to Yes on 8, boycott her business!!!" or read about actual acts of harassment of someone at their home, I remain skeptical that there is anything resembling a witch hunt-type hysteria going on.

In this case, people are talking about leaving their veterinarian because of political actions. That's not a boycott, that's revenge.

No it isn't, it's a moral judgment--if your vet or doctor or grocer or dry cleaner holds views you find repugnant, it's an absolutely sound and reasonable action to no longer do business with them. It isn't revenge: it's a realization that your vet (or whomever) holds views that you find to be actively hateful and bigoted. Why would you ever want to talk with that person again, let alone allow him/her to care for your pets? I'm appalled when I find out that someone thinks I'll suffer eternal torment because I don't have the right kinds of fantastical ideas in my heads, and find it hard to be friends with such a person. I'm also appalled, for instance, to know my girlfriend's parents worked to support Prop. 8, and it has changed my feelings toward them, because they worked to deny my brother and his partner equal rights under the law, and that's unavoidably a personal affront. If I learned the same thing about my vet, I just might consider looking for a vet who is also a (in my judgment) more enlightened human being. That's my right as someone who believes that actions matter, and that we're all accountable for our own actions.

What is significant for me is the qualitative difference between voting for a proposition, and donating money to help sway others. The motivation to evangelism (if you will) by donating and/or working for a political campaign of any kind shows a strong, conscious conviction, and one that I rightly deserve to be informed of. Votes are private, absolutely. Evangelism for political causes of any kind, however, is rightly transparent.

Could this information be used as a tool in a witchhunt? Sure. But the problem would be in how it's used, that's what's objectionable, not the presentation of the information itself. My leaving my vet because of all this, that's reasonable. Firebombing my vet's offices because of his support for something? Definitely unreasonable, and bad.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:16 AM on January 12, 2009


In this case, people are talking about leaving their veterinarian because of political actions.

I have no choice. My cats adamantly refuse to set foot in the bigot's office again.
posted by terranova at 10:22 AM on January 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


Also doesn't the lack of donors from outside of CA, and in Utah in particular, kind of undermine the case many people were making?

Um, no.

"The Los Angeles Times estimated that about $20 million of the $35.8 million raised in support of Proposition 8 came from Mormons."*

Mormons For Proposition 8 Donors.
posted by ericb at 10:22 AM on January 12, 2009


Also doesn't the lack of donors from outside of CA, and in Utah in particular, kind of undermine the case many people were making?

What? From the Utah map - which is Salt Lake City only, not statewide:

Mr. Samuel Mckay
Student
Student
$8,000.00 8/26/2008
Student? Student??!! I didn't have $800 when I was a student, much less $8k!

Mr. Jeffrey Holt
Investment Banker
Goldman Saches & Co
$9,990.00 9/18/2008

Jay Clark
Produce Dealer
A & Z Produce Co
$25,000.00 10/12/2008

Mr. Brent Andrus
Owner/Operator
Huntington Hotels
$20,000.00 10/15/2008

That's a crapload of cash, and that's not all the Salt Lake City donors. The full list of Utah donors to yes on 8 is here.
posted by rtha at 10:26 AM on January 12, 2009


Given a choice between Veterinarian A, who I know has contributed to a regressive and unjust cause, and Veterinarian B, who to the best of my knowledge has not, I choose Veterinarian B. I choose Veterinarian B not to exert some sort of passive-aggressive vengeance against A, I choose B because A now has a negative known quantity associated with him, and so based on the evidence at hand, B -- a blank -- would be a more valued member of my community than A.

But isn't valuing people in the community based on their beliefs a flawed way to look at your community? Good communities are diverse, and people with wildly different beliefs should be able to interact with each other as long as their beliefs don't interfere with those interactions.

Putting aside the fact that prop 8 was stupid and harmful, how is it any better for you to go to the anti-prop 8 veterinarian than it is for someone else to go to the non-gay veterinarian or the overtly Christian veterinarian? Being a member of a community isn't about shutting yourself off from everyone you disagree with and building your own walled garden of people like you, it's about setting aside differences and working together.

I interact with plenty of people I disagree with on important issues, and I try to do what I can to explain why I disagree with them, but cutting those people off would rarely be better than simply agreeing to disagree.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:27 AM on January 12, 2009


In that case this kind of pin map just doesn't work that great with zoom-outs.
posted by Artw at 10:27 AM on January 12, 2009


...and whats so specila about that pin in Colorado that it stays on the map when all of Utahs disappear?

/clicks on it.

Oh, I see.
posted by Artw at 10:30 AM on January 12, 2009


Being a member of a community isn't about shutting yourself off from everyone you disagree with and building your own walled garden of people like you, it's about setting aside differences and working together.

Agreed, but many people like to patronize those who respect and support them.
posted by ericb at 10:31 AM on January 12, 2009


So we should do this with every issue right? We should publicize the names and address in as convenient and accessible a fashion as possible, so that that the bullying commences immediately. Otherwise, we'd have to you know, engage in reasoned argument, and you know, vote.

Those of you who think this is a perfectly fine tactic, please remember that you said that when the torches and pitchforks show up at your door on the day you're singled out for something mob disagrees with you on.
posted by Heminator at 10:32 AM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


What bullying? What torches and pitchforks?

My decision about what to do with my money when it comes to patronizing a business is just that: my decision. Sometimes that decision is based on "It's right down the street, so I'll go there"; sometimes it's based on "They were so nice to me that time I had to return [purchased item], so I'm going to keep going to them!"; sometimes it's based on "The guy behind the counter was so rude! Never going back!"

That is, my decisions are based on my experiences, sometimes roped together with convenience.

If someone gives me bad service, you can bet I am going to "punish" them by not going back there. Why would I want to financially reward a company that treats me like shit?

My choosing to not patronize a business because they gave money to defeat a cause I support - that's not bullying, and that's not torches and pitchforks. That's my right as a consumer in this great capitalist economy of ours.
posted by rtha at 10:48 AM on January 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


To ask this question honestly and with minimum snark: Do you Mefites who find this mash-up objectionable think that we should reform campaign contribution and financial disclosure laws?

I see a lot of people arguing with the presentation of this information, but not with the fact that the information is public at all. The impression I get from this thread is that the public disclosure of information is okay as long as it is user-unfriendly and relatively inaccessible. No one seems to be arguing for anonymizing the donor list, which, as I mentioned previously, is the position of the Proposition 8 folks.
posted by Weebot at 10:50 AM on January 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


There appears to only be one person in my state who donated.

I think that's still one too many.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:53 AM on January 12, 2009


But you find it more objectionable or immoral than the cause those folks support?

I don't think anybody in this thread feels that way, I might be wrong but nobody seems to have stated anything like that.

I feel bad that my naive comment at the start of the thread has informed some of the arguments here.
posted by minifigs at 10:54 AM on January 12, 2009


ericb, caddis thank you for the correction. I did not support prop 8. I support those who did not support it.
posted by pianomover at 10:55 AM on January 12, 2009


I'm glad this is publicly available and I hope it spreads far and wide.

But I did have some initial concerns that I'm now convinced are false ones. Thanks, y'all.
posted by lunit at 10:55 AM on January 12, 2009


Good communities are diverse, and people with wildly different beliefs should be able to interact with each other as long as their beliefs don't interfere with those interactions.

Sure. But I don't have to give them my money. I don't want them shunned from the village, or run out of my neighborhood. But I prefer not to patronize their businesses, and they're definitely off the Fourth-of-July BBQ invite list.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:59 AM on January 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also: as long as their beliefs don't interfere with those interactions.

Well, to the many, many couples denied the legal protections and public recognition (etc.) of marriage, these particular beliefs (yes on 8) very much interfere with personal interactions.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:01 AM on January 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Funny to see who didn't donate. Not one person the town where I live, and nobody within twenty miles. And several moderately wealthy Mormons I know, didn't donate.
posted by Xoebe at 11:20 AM on January 12, 2009


If it is ok to go after them for their political views then perhaps they or others will come after you for yours. Boss: "Well terranova, I see that you gave money to move on. You are no longer employed here. The security guard will escort you out."

The solution to crappy labor laws and decades of union-busting with the enthusiastic support of politicians Republican and Democratic is not anonymizing political contributions.
posted by enn at 11:35 AM on January 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


I don't get this idea that businesses actively trying to discriminate against people should be supported by the folks being discriminated against.

Listen, this is easy: I don't care--really I don't--about what you believe in private. Believe in the gods you want, believe you're superior to whichever other people you want, have sex with whatever beings able to give consent in whichever orifice you want, even do something absolutely reprehensible like put mayonnaise on a sandwich.

But the minute you put a "hi, we want to take your rights" sign up in your window and/or donate to that cause, why in the world would I give you my hard-earned money?*

* For example, whenever possible, I do not patronize businesses which advertise using the Christian fish symbol. I don't care that they're Christian, but just as they hope to get some extra business from fellow believers I like to take my custom to establishments who don't feel the need to tell me about their religion when all I want is my shirt dry-cleaned. For all I know, the guy I go to is "more" Christian than the fish guy, but that's his own business, and I appreciate him keeping it to himself.
posted by maxwelton at 11:39 AM on January 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Being a member of a community isn't about shutting yourself off from everyone you disagree with and building your own walled garden of people like you, it's about setting aside differences and working together.

I think it may be a question of degrees. You can easily disagree with someones opinion and still do business with them, be friends with them, hold the door open for them, etc.
When someone engages in activities that are meant to support a cause that you disagree with, again, you may choose to still be their friend or customer, or not. When someone actively engages in supporting a cause thats main purpose is to counter to a cause that you actively support, I would hope that you have enough sense to go running in the other direction.

First example, I am opposed to buying purebred dogs because I think that there are too many dogs in shelters. My neighbor has a pure bred poodle. I still talk to them and play with the dog, but on occasion, we have discussions about why I feel the way I do, and why he feels the way he does, about the types of dogs we have and why.

Second example, I walk by a pet shop that sells puppies. I need to buy dog food. Knowing the over 95% percent of dogs sold in pet stores originate from puppy mills, I can frequent that pet store and give it financial support indirectly depending on how strongly I feel about my cause, how rushed for time I am,etc. or go to the non puppy selling pet store 2 blocks over. For me, 100% of the time, I go to a different pet store to buy my supplies. For others, perhaps not,because they may think that just buying supplies does not directly support the puppy mills.

Third example. I am strongly opposed to puppy mills, so I will donate $500.00 this month to a group that actively works to try and make them illegal. The next day, I pass by a pet store, fall in love with the puppy in the window, and buy it for $1000.00. Since 95% of pets in pet stores come from puppy mills, we can fairly assume that the puppy I just purchased came from a puppy mill, and I just negated the donation I made, AND put additional money in the hands of the puppy mill owners and the pet store that does business with the puppy mills. What a big waste of time, money, and effort.
posted by newpotato at 11:39 AM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I boycott restaurants for using too much cilantro. People are actually making a fuss that I might choose to boycott businesses because I don't agree with their politics?

Hey, it's my dollar. I'll spend it where and on what I see fit.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:51 AM on January 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


But isn't valuing people in the community based on their beliefs a flawed way to look at your community? Good communities are diverse, and people with wildly different beliefs should be able to interact with each other as long as their beliefs don't interfere with those interactions.

Putting aside the fact that prop 8 was stupid and harmful, how is it any better for you to go to the anti-prop 8 veterinarian than it is for someone else to go to the non-gay veterinarian or the overtly Christian veterinarian? Being a member of a community isn't about shutting yourself off from everyone you disagree with and building your own walled garden of people like you, it's about setting aside differences and working together.


"Valuing" was a dumb word to use for what I was trying to express.

I agree with you in some senses, but on the other hand, I still have to make choices regarding my veterinary needs. If I can be part of a large, slow element of social pressure that rewards progressive and inclusive decisions and penalizes regressive and divisive decisions, then I consider that added value for my dollar.

If I had a choice between two communities that I could live in, one where homosexuals are discriminated against and another where they are not, I would choose the latter. Making personal choices that help shape my community into becoming the latter isn't building a walled garden, it's helping sow the seeds of a better and fruitful garden in the long term -- one which, it bears mention, will have fewer walls within it.

I'm making a lot out of the A vs. B decision, and frankly it's never that pure or that cut-and-dried. If A lives in town and B is a 45-minute drive, I may suck it up and try to convince A, through convivial conversation and vigorous use of hand puppets, why his position on Prop 8 is one I disagree with. If I find out that B's an advocate for baiting fishhooks with bread to go duck-stomping on weekends, I may revert to A as my veterinarian of choice. There's rarely a true "all things being equal" decision in life, and that's where the being able to function in a diverse community comes into play.

I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with trying to exert your power of choice to support values you cherish, though, and doing that doesn't necessarily equate to shutting yourself off or shunning people you disagree with.
posted by Shepherd at 11:55 AM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, to the many, many couples denied the legal protections and public recognition (etc.) of marriage, these particular beliefs (yes on 8) very much interfere with personal interactions.

That's a good point, and certainly people who further agendas that strip the rights away form others are worse than people who simply believe things without affecting other people. I really don't know if boycotting the people on this list would do any good or not, and if it did have any negative effect on the people on the list it would be a drop in the bucket compared to the couples that are actually affected by prop 8.

Why would you ever want to talk with that person again, let alone allow him/her to care for your pets? I'm appalled when I find out that someone thinks I'll suffer eternal torment because I don't have the right kinds of fantastical ideas in my heads, and find it hard to be friends with such a person.

This is just my personal opinion, and there are valid reasons for disagreeing, but I think everyone should be friends with everyone. I try to be friends with people I disagree with, people who I don't really like, and even people who are actively doing me harm. I'm friends with the guy who illegally entered my house and busted holes in a few of my walls a few months ago. That doesn't mean that I let people walk all over me, or that I don't stand up for myself, but to me I'd rather have a friend than an enemy any day.

So yeah, people are free to boycot or not be friends with whoever they want. I tend to go with "live and let live" in a lot of situations where other people wouldn't to agree with me, but that's where I'm coming from on this one. I won't lose any sleep at night worrying about how prop 8 supporters might lose a few friends or customers.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:03 PM on January 12, 2009


I keep my friends close and enemies located under pins on a Google mashup map.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:10 PM on January 12, 2009 [10 favorites]


You can't have reasoned arguments with the religious. Not really. Eventually you reach a point where they just say, 'Well, because the bible says so' or "That's not what God would want' or whatever, and reasoning flies right out the window. You end up arguing with the semi-sentient avatar of an eighteen hundred year old textbook. Are you going to change the mind of a book, no matter how eloquent and well-researched your reasoning is? No.
posted by jamstigator at 12:18 PM on January 12, 2009


A few people have mentioned that it is ok to boycott businesses that contribute to causes you abhor, but it is not ok to fire or refuse to hire people because they have donated to "evil" causes. I ask this without any particular prejudice - why is this so? It isn't obvious to me why the one is ok, but not the other.

Discuss.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 12:19 PM on January 12, 2009


Blazecock Pileon writes "It seems that way, because these Prop 8 bigots have... successfully conned people into believing their propaganda.... No one says this sort of thing about reporting PAC lobbyist contributions to the public. There's nothing different about those lobbyists and these.... It is disappointing to see intelligent people fall for their scam, and it doesn't bode well for equal protection laws when we cannot even try to hold bigots accountable for trying to manipulate the legal system."

This is directed at me?

I think I've been very consistent here in my support for gay rights (not to mention my outspoken disdain for religion and bigotry disguised as religion). Are you seriously suggesting I've been "conned" by the Prop 8 bigots?

Well, I haven't been. But there is a difference between private citizens (who contribute out of beliefs, however mistaken or ugly), and professional lobbyists whose donations are quids pro the quos of power and influence. And such individual contributoins aren't a "manipulation" with that word's connotations of underhandedness and illegitimacy; political contributions -- whether to Steve Tevis or Dennis Kucinich or Barack Obama, or in support of Prop 8 -- are legal and legitimate expressions of political speech, at least according to the Supreme Court.

I'm saddened Prop 8 passed, but it passed legally and (apparently) is not unconstitutional. Singling out private individuals for condemnation because of how they exercised their voting and contributing rights is fraught with dangers -- how would we feel about maps of pro-gay rights or pro-choice or Obama contributers living in Georgia or Alabama being published? Would we be as quick to defend that?

To me, it seems not exactly like but a step closer to listing all the Hutus in a village or all the Bosnians in a town or all the "Communits" in Holywood: a tool for lynch mobs or at least blacklists. It's uncivil, it's divisive, it's scary, it seems to me a step closer to Balkanization and to considering our fellow American not merely people we disagree with, but as enemies

And it's poor tactics: legalization of gay marriage is inevitable, unless we who are for it are sodivisive as to alienate the young people who have no problem with it and who will in ten years be the majority at the polls.

These maps are a product of understandable frustration, but they're a stupid and scary overreaction.
posted by orthogonality at 12:21 PM on January 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's only capitalism when it makes the rich richer. When it empowers the great unwashed to make informed choices it's mob rule. Duh.
posted by stet at 12:24 PM on January 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


OmieWise writes "The data is public. Re-presenting the data in a more usable format is hard to see as any sort of invasion of privacy or violation. Can you imagine if epidemiologists were cautioned against publishing graphs of infection rates in sub-populations just because graphs are easier to read than raw statistics?"

So would it have been OK, during the pre-Ryan White years of AIDS hysteria to post people's HIV status on their doors,or hand out scarlet "A"s fr them to wear on their clothes or tattoo'don their foreheads?

It's one thing for the information to be available; it's quite another to present it in such an in-your-face way, in a way more ikely to provke hostile confrontations between supporters and opponents.

Of course, I'm a First Amendment absolutist so I'll never argue that such a presentation should be illegal, and I don't think large contributions should be anonymous either. I'm arguing that publicizing these lists as a searchable map plays into hysteria just as do sex offender registries or lists of the home addresses of abortion providers. Yes, it has to be legal, but no, it's not wise. Yes, I support the right of Nazi scum to march in Skokie and I'll give the ACLU money to defend that right, but no, I'm not going to give the Nazis gas money to get there.
posted by orthogonality at 12:32 PM on January 12, 2009


No-one's answered my question, dammit.
posted by grubi at 12:34 PM on January 12, 2009


[Insert false equivalency here.]
posted by inigo2 at 12:43 PM on January 12, 2009


grubi, to answer your question, I don't find this immoral. I find it scary and stupid and counter-productive to the cause of securing gay rights. It's a tantrum, not a tactic.
posted by orthogonality at 12:44 PM on January 12, 2009


So would it have been OK, during the pre-Ryan White years of AIDS hysteria to post people's HIV status on their doors,or hand out scarlet "A"s fr them to wear on their clothes or tattoo'don their foreheads?

Of course not, and that's not what OmieWise or anyone else in this thread is arguing for, as far as I can see. And since no one here is proposing tarring and feathering pro-8 donors, I fail to see the similarity. Not to mention the fact that someone having HIV is, well, totally different from someone choosing to donate money to a political cause.

At no point did a person with HIV voluntarily enter into a situation whereby their status could be legally disclosed.

Every person who gave money for and against 8 entered into such a situation.
posted by rtha at 12:47 PM on January 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


In what manner is getting AIDS similar to donating money to a hateful cause?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:48 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am so angry at this public information!!!
posted by Damn That Television at 12:49 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


OmieWise did mention epidemiology. But rtha makes a good point. (Of course, some religious bigots would opine that homosexuality is a moral choice (I don't believe this, of course) and thus that getting AIDS was a "consequence" of that choice (I also don't beleive that conclusion).)
posted by orthogonality at 12:51 PM on January 12, 2009


But there is a difference between private citizens (who contribute out of beliefs, however mistaken or ugly), and professional lobbyists whose donations are quids pro the quos of power and influence.

No, there really isn't. The vast, overwhelming majority of that filthy, filthy lobbyist money is just money given to them by private citizens.

a tool for lynch mobs or at least blacklists.

The tool has existed for corporations and Big Important People for as long as donations have been public record. The only thing an easy map does is level the playing field for common crud like us to avoid businesses we don't like.

it seems to me a step closer to Balkanization and to considering our fellow American not merely people we disagree with, but as enemies

"Fellow American" and "enemy" are not disjoint sets.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:54 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Silly beliefs about homosexuality being a moral choice don't enter into it: medical records in the US are legally guaranteed a level a privacy*. Legally, they are not a matter of public record. Political donations of this sort are a matter of public record.

*Theoretically. HIPAA only goes so far, inasmuch as its coverage is mostly on electronic records, and there are certainly loopholes.
posted by Drastic at 12:55 PM on January 12, 2009


If someone posts your private medical files to a Google map, that's an invasion of privacy. If someone reformats freely and publicly available information, that has always been public, to a map, that's not even the same ballpark. Why are we indulging in exercises in inventing reasons why this is wrong?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:57 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is this presentation scary and stupid and tantrum-throwing?

Would it be less scary, stupid and tantrum-throwing if the records were kept only on paper and you had to go down to City Hall on the second Tuesday of the month, from 3 pm to 4 pm only, in order to look them up?

What good does transparency in the political process do if acquiring the legally available information is so difficult that it's pointless? Or that the information is presented so opaquely that it's useless?
posted by rtha at 12:58 PM on January 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


orthogonality: The political logic isn't exactly hard to see; they want to make it known that the price of donating to a cause like this is going to be higher than that of the contribution. Shaming people and businesses into donating less, and therefore defunding any future campaign, has some pretty tangible political results, I would say. The Prop 8 supporters even cited that in their lawsuit to seal these records. So to say that this is counterproductive is a very debatable point.
posted by Weebot at 12:59 PM on January 12, 2009


When the Google map of abortion doctors and their home addresses gets published, I expect all the "public information" folks here to support it whole-heartedly. Trying to act as if intimidation or retribution is not a motivating factor in this Prop 8 map or an abortion doctor map is quite daft.

But I guess it's not fascism(tm) when we do it.
posted by jsonic at 1:04 PM on January 12, 2009


I'm blown away at the people who seem to think that boycotting businesses is an unreasonable way to fight for civil rights. Boycotting businesses has been a major civil rights tactic for generations. What planet do you people live on where boycotts are unethical in any way shape or form?
posted by aspo at 1:06 PM on January 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Stalin gives a speech and when finished all rise and applaud. No one want to be the first to stop applauding, the applause continues.
One person finally stops applauding, the next day he disappears.
Look it up in the Google Maps.
posted by pianomover at 1:06 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't like this, I never realized that this kind of information was even available. It seems to fly in the face of the privacy you'd expect in the voting booth (I mean couldn't a pastor, or employer lean on his folks to donate to their pet cause and then verify the deed was done via something like this?)
posted by zeoslap at 1:08 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


But I guess it's not fascism(tm) when we do it.

It's not fascism when they do it either. Facism actually means something beyond "a thing I don't like."

By the way, you can already find women's health clinics on Google maps.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:09 PM on January 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


"Stalin gives a speech and when finished all rise and applaud. No one want to be the first to stop applauding, the applause continues."

Always my favorite anecdote from Gulag Archipelago.
posted by orthogonality at 1:09 PM on January 12, 2009


When the Google map of abortion doctors and their home addresses gets published, I expect all the "public information" folks here to support it whole-heartedly. Trying to act as if intimidation or retribution is not a motivating factor in this Prop 8 map or an abortion doctor map is quite daft.

What's daft is that you think there's some immoral issue here or that your moral equivalence argument is valid.
posted by grubi at 1:11 PM on January 12, 2009


Facism actually means something beyond "a thing I don't like."

Obviously, but "It's not fascism when we do it" is a quite popular internet meme, thus the (tm).

By the way, you can already find women's health clinics on Google maps.

Great. That's not what I posted about, but thanks anyway.
posted by jsonic at 1:11 PM on January 12, 2009


What's daft is that you think there's some immoral issue here or that your moral equivalence argument is valid.

LOL. It's ok when WE do it, personified.
posted by jsonic at 1:12 PM on January 12, 2009


I know what you posted, but it was speculative nonsense intended to generate a sense that people who support this are wrong because, in some imagined alternative example, they wouldn't like it. Tell me, who are these "abortion doctors." Where does the list come from? Was it already publicly available? Did they know the list would be available when they signed it? Just where did your example come from, and how does it relate to this real-world example?

So you don't mean "fascism," what do you mean?
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:14 PM on January 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


A map to a doctor's house who performs abortions would be completely different. Clearly that is not what anyone is proposing, nor does this remotely lead to. Should a map be produced which did mash those things up, it would be unconstitutional (assuming that it did not occur from public record).

If however, there was a map which highlighted donors who provided financial support to a pro-abortion voter proposition, I would support such a map. If that included a person who listed as his or her occupation 'doctor', then it would still be a slippery slope to assume that all doctors who supported such a law performed abortions (as I'm sure many doctors support prostate cancer awareness, but not all are urologists).

So that's right, start the mashup of your local police beat and your local google map - you'll quickly know who drinks, where your sex offenders live, where speed traps occur, who speeds, who routinely is involved in a domestic dispute, etc... if it is a public record, it _IS_ going to be available in this form.
posted by Nanukthedog at 1:16 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have mixed feelings about all this. While this is a presentation of public information, it strikes me as being in rather poor taste. I don't think posting a map to someone's house on the internet is going to do much good, but I'm pretty sure it's going to cause some damage.

But really, my issue is with the precedent being set. We can all look forward to this tactic being applied from the other side of the political spectrum...
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:19 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Don't you guys get it? Publicly-available donor lists = fascism! Because I said so!
posted by grubi at 1:21 PM on January 12, 2009


Where does the list come from?

I realize you're in full-on internet argument mode, but come on, you really think it would be hard to find a publicly accessible list of doctors at abortion clinics and correlate it with their home addresses?

I'm not denying that these maps should be legal. But this idea that it's OK to intimidate those we disagree with is a tactic we all decry when the GOP does it. You sure you want to imitate them? Is that really the country you want to build? Or is it OK for us to do it, since they're a-holes and they deserve it?
posted by jsonic at 1:22 PM on January 12, 2009


Political donor info like this has been public for a long time. One day my car was towed for parking at night in front of a driveway, which belonged to an enormous house. When I retrieved my car from the grubby lot outside the Hall of Justice, I found 1) a funny sarcastic note pinned to the windshield, about how maybe it was OK to do this in Slobovia "or wherever you are from," and 2) a ticket with the address of the complainant.

Feeding the address into Google, I immediately found that the guy was a GOP donor and was tickled. Places like OpenSecrets.org have been listing this kind of info for years, for the benefit of journalists and researchers, and I'm not sure if anyone's ever been lynched over? When I gave to Obama there were all kinds of disclaimers about transparency. You really do put yourself on a map when you become a political donor. It's an important part of the process that prevents crooked funneling of cash.
posted by Kirklander at 1:28 PM on January 12, 2009


Are you saying the only reason to have access to publicly-available donor lists is intimidation? Or are you saying that since intimidation is a possible result of publicly-available donor lists, they shouldn't be legal?

Jesus, with that mentality, you might as well outlaw video games or cars.
posted by grubi at 1:29 PM on January 12, 2009


How long will we continue to confuse a civil issue with a religious argument? The rights being denied are civil the reasons for it are religious.

I am "married" but not via a religious service, the civil court recognized my marriage. Let marriage remain a word for the religious folk - "the bond between a man and a woman."
At a Bar Mitzvah you proclaim "Today I am a man" but if your not 18 in my state you are not a man your a minor.

You get a civil certificate that recognizes the law of a diverse society, you get a marriage certificate from a 65 year old virgin who holds a piece of bread in his quivering hand and asks you to eat the body of a 1st century AD prophet.

Now throw rice.
posted by pianomover at 1:31 PM on January 12, 2009


I don't like this, I never realized that this kind of information was even available. It seems to fly in the face of the privacy you'd expect in the voting booth (I mean couldn't a pastor, or employer lean on his folks to donate to their pet cause and then verify the deed was done via something like this?)
posted by zeoslap at 4:08 PM on January 12


You can be anonymous in the voting booth because your vote doesn't actually matter. what matters is money, and that is not allowed to be anonymous.

Have any of you praising this site actually made the connection that the people who don't like the idea of maps like this one are not necessarily the same people as those who donated to this particular effort? In other words, I can feel uncomfortable with the invasion of privacy of individuals I completely disagree with.

If someone reformats freely and publicly available information, that has always been public, to a map, that's not even the same ballpark.

The only reason the information is public is because the law requires it to be public. You have no choice. And it hasn't always been public. Is there a public record you can search to see who contributed to Grover Cleveland's political campaign? The issue people have with this site is ultimately with the law that requires it to be public and thereby enables the creation of this site.

To wit, there is no reason why donor lists should be public but votes should be anonymous. If there is some important reason why votes are anonymous, the same should apply to money. It isn't anyone's business what products you buy or causes you support with your own money. Contributing to a cause you believe in shouldn't require subject you to a boycott or jeopardize your livelihood. That's what's called a chilling effect.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:31 PM on January 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Many of the people who are frightened by being included on this map are the very same people who proudly hung "Yes on 8" posters in their windows and planted "yes on 8" signs on their front lawn.
posted by gyusan at 1:33 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I realize you're in full-on internet argument mode, but come on, you really think it would be hard to find a publicly accessible list of doctors at abortion clinics and correlate it with their home addresses?

You must admit that this is quite a bit different than what we're discussing right now, which was my point. It's very easy to make the case that something is bad because someone we don't like might conceivably use it in some way we don't like in a way that is some vague parallel.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:34 PM on January 12, 2009


What would you think if there were a map of everyone in Utah who gave money to No on Prop. 8, instead of this?
posted by The World Famous at 1:35 PM on January 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


I see a lot of people arguing with the presentation of this information, but not with the fact that the information is public at all.
Weebot,
That seems to be the general consensus of this thread to me as well.
However, I strongly disagree with the publication of this information[1], as well as the publication of petition signature information.
What and who I politically support is my business, and my business alone.

I'm not sure what the point of anonymizing the data would be. I suppose so you could tell if the support is 1 or two large donors as opposed to a broad grassroots effort?

[1] The exception I have to this is for elected politicians. I believe that every dollar, gift, free lunch, bus token that a politician receives while in office should be published on that politician's website within 24 hours of receipt. But they are public servants, not private citizens, so should be held to a different standard.
posted by madajb at 1:35 PM on January 12, 2009


I'm not inclined to track people down on this, but I don't have a problem with it. It sounds like the issue many have is not what is happening here, but who is doing it. There is all manner of detailed personal information about each of us that is maintained and monitored by any number of organizations, without our consent; and much of that information is for sale to whomever wants to buy it. I wouldn't be surprised of the 'yes on 8' groups used the same kinds of demographics for targeting their message and finding donations.
posted by troybob at 1:37 PM on January 12, 2009


This is a big deal. There's a big barrier to action that's broken down when someone else does the work of adding 2 and 2 to give you the addresses of people you don't like. There's all kinds of harassment and mischief that suddenly becomes more likely because that barrier is removed.

That said, the removal of the barrier is a logical consequence of politics in the Internet era. Anti-Prop 8 people didn't make this mashup possible; the 21st century did.
posted by gurple at 1:40 PM on January 12, 2009


(I'd be interested to know if the 'yes on 8' groups shared their donor lists with other like-minded political or religious groups and, if they did, how sharing it with the rest of us is any different. We don't know whether the intentions of people receiving this information through 'official' means is any more noble than those of the general public.)
posted by troybob at 1:42 PM on January 12, 2009


I don't see a comment pointing this out (may have missed it), but during the campaign itself, a group of proposition 8 supporters attempted to convince various business owners into donating equal amounts to the yes on 8 side as they had donated to a "no on 8" organization by threatening to publish their (already public) donation. An example. A quote: "It is only fair for Proposition 8 supporters to know which companies and organizations oppose traditional marriage."

I note that the same group as sent the above letter (ProtectMarriage.com) have filed the lawsuit to make donations confidential due to threats. Their suit apparently says that "businesses employing people who contributed to the Proposition 8 campaign have been threatened with boycotts" (according to the SF Chronicle story). Uh, okay.
posted by R343L at 1:43 PM on January 12, 2009 [9 favorites]


I'm not denying that these maps should be legal. But this idea that it's OK to intimidate those we disagree with is a tactic we all decry when the GOP does it.

Intimidate? By not giving certain businesses my money, I'm intimidating them?

For those who object to this being public record at all, and who think it should be anonymous the way your vote is, I suspect that this thinking is a consequence of living in a time and country that is (relatively speaking) quite free of the kind of political corruption that was common when our parents/grandparents (depending on how old you are) were young. You think campaign disclosure laws were enacted because somebody felt like it? They were enacted in response to the kind of corruption that happens when stuff like "Hey, who gave Candidate A so much money?" was kept under tight wraps. They were enacted against the wishes and desires of a lot of pols, lobbyists, and others in power.

Furthermore, the appearance of the names on pro/con lists or maps don't actually tell me how any of those people voted, or if they voted at all, so that is still secret. Can I make a reasonable guess? Sure. And I can do the same based on their bumper stickers, lawn signs, ZIP codes, race, socioeconomic status, etc.
posted by rtha at 2:01 PM on January 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


In this case, people are talking about leaving their veterinarian because of political actions. That's not a boycott, that's revenge.

Do you realize that you're simply redefining a word to mean what you want it to mean? What you're describing is not - by definition - revenge, and is - by definition - a boycott. Renaming things to demonize the side you disagree with is what Karl Rove does. Stop it. It's a boycott. If you don't like the boycott, say so. But stop calling it something stupid like revenge. It's not revenge. It's people spending their money where they see fit. It's not only their right, but it's also the principal method of communication between a business and a consumer: do you get my dollar or don't you?
posted by shmegegge at 2:02 PM on January 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm blown away at the people who seem to think that boycotting businesses is an unreasonable way to fight for civil rights. Boycotting businesses has been a major civil rights tactic for generations. What planet do you people live on where boycotts are unethical in any way shape or form?

In my opinion there's a difference between something like the Montgomery bus boycott, which was designed to force the city to stop segregation in their transit system, and the Cinemark boycott and others, which seem to mainly be directed at getting individual people fired.

You could argue that this is splitting hairs, and that this is the only way to put public pressure on the people who are supporting prop 8 and similar legislation across the country. But to me boycotting in these cases seems less justified than in cases where the businesses themselves are doing something wrong. As I've said though, the boycotts are by no means unethical or wrong, and people are free to spend their money however they want to.
posted by burnmp3s at 2:03 PM on January 12, 2009


Pastabagel writes "Contributing to a cause you believe in shouldn't require subject you to a boycott or jeopardize your livelihood. "

That's pretty much saying you should be able to say anything you want, no matter how offensive to your own community, and you should be protected by law from any consequences whatsoever. "Hey, I think blacks should be re-enslaved! I'm going to contribute $1 million political candidates who support my cause. However, I don't want anyone to find out I'm bankrolling this, because they might confront me and perhaps boycott my business. That would be a terrible chilling effect! O noes!"

Spending money = speech, and we have a right to know who is saying what. They're free to say whatever the hell they want, but they don't get an anonymous bully pulpit. To shield the spenders is to turn politics into 4chan.
posted by mullingitover at 2:07 PM on January 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


So... if queer people choose not to spend our money at certain businesses--businesses that fund initiatives to take away our legal rights--we're intimidating them? Fascinating.
posted by overglow at 2:11 PM on January 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


caddis writes "All of these things are wrong, and so is boycotting people who voted for Prop. 8."

A boycott is not bigotry. Conflating the two is ignorant.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:15 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


What would you think if there were a map of everyone in Utah who gave money to No on Prop. 8, instead of this?

I would think Rod Serling would suddenly pop out of the bushes to wish me well, before telling the crew off-set to keep the cameras rolling.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:18 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's like we're having four different responses here:

A) Poster A sees the post and says "Holy crap! They're going to set fire to those people's houses!" Even though it's zipcodes, but whatevs.

B) Poster B sees the post and says "Gosh darn right, they should boycott those business! Those people suck for supporting such awful legislation!"

C) Poster C sees the post and says "Anarchy! Danger! Oh my goodness! Look at all this information! Information wants to be private! It has always been private!"

D) Poster D sees the post and says "Why strife with one another? Let us all love each other and be free. Love is the answer!"

Anyhoo. I separate A and C because while some people are tying them together, others aren't. Did I miss any of them? Hit me if so, but here we go...

To answer

A) Nobody in this thread has suggested intimidation or violence against these folks. First, it's not their home address, second, nobody's suggested intimidation or violence!

B) Support businesses you like, and don't support the businesses you don't. Seems pretty common sense, and rational. What the hell is vengeful about choosing not to do business with folks whose practices you abhor? I have every right to decide where my dollar goes. What gives?

C) Like somebody up thread said, either move to the rural farmland in Montana or somewhere and load up on aluminum, or welcome to the information age. Sorry to say, but we're already moving towards more information disseminated, not less. Like they've said, what took a group of hired lackies and microfiche and copy paper twenty years ago, a teenager can do in his bedroom. Have you used a credit card this week? Have you sent an email? Have you received a phone call? Grats, you're on the grid. Nothing is private. Sorry to bring the harsh news, but it's true.

D) Man, I am all about love each other and let's get through this. Hell I think most fights could be solved by hugging and kumbaya(sp). And if it were me living near one of these folks, I wouldn't throw a flaming turd bag on their lawn, I'd try my darndest to introduce myself and say hey man, can we talk about this? There's nothing wrong with a little more love in the world. I don't think folks here are campaigning for the lack of it, however. I mean, on the other hand, I don't know how far you're gonna get with a fundie who thinks your entire being is straight from hell, so I can appreciate the frustration of trying to deal with it. But love eventually wins; I gotta believe that.
posted by cavalier at 2:23 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


What would you think if there were a map of everyone in Utah who gave money to No on Prop. 8, instead of this?

I would think Rod Serling would suddenly pop out of the bushes to wish me well, before telling the crew off-set to keep the cameras rolling.


Is this because you don't believe that anyone in Utah gave money to No on 8? Because I know several people there who did, and I assure you there are many.

Or is it because you don't think that Pro-8 people in Utah would be big enough jerks to make a map of their pro-gay neighbors?
posted by The World Famous at 2:29 PM on January 12, 2009


"Yes on 8" folks are worried about protests/boycotts against businesses they own.

Tough luck. Karma's a bitch.

Yes On 8 Sends Threatening Letters To 30 Businesses
"California's social conservatives will do anything in their power to overturn the state's gay marriage - even blackmail.

The Yes on Proposition 8 movement admitted this week that they've sent letters to about thirty businesses who have donated to the 'No on 8' campaign, the campaign hoping to maintain marriage equality in the Golden State. In the letters, the Yes on 8 folks demand an equal donation or say they'll spread word that the recipients 'oppose traditional marriage.'
'A threatening letter has sparked a new controversy here in San Diego surrounding the gay marriage debate. Donors who gave money to the No on Prop 8 campaign say they received blackmail letters demanding money, and the Yes on 8 campaign now says the letters were sent by their employees.

The letter from Yes on 8 came by certified mail, demanding at least $10,000. Jim Abbot knows exactly why he's being targeted - his business gave $10,000 to a group called Equality California, which supports No on Prop 9.

Jim says nearly 25 percent of his staff is gay.

"We wanted to support their freedom to marry," he said.

The letter says if Jim doesn't give an equal donation to Yes on 8, the name of his company will be published. It reads in part, "It is only fair for Proposition 8 supporters to know which companies and organizations oppose traditional marriage.

"I feel like it's blackmail, and as you can imagine, real estate business has been tough lately and to have someone come at you like this… it's very distressing," he said.'"
posted by ericb at 2:32 PM on January 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


I was disgusted by the passage of Prop 8, but I think the mashup is in poor taste. It won't help, and it has the potential to cause hurt. To me, that's a bit like the proposition itself; not a single yes-voter was helped by its passage (unless you count the anticipation of spiritual rewards), but a lot of people will be hurt by it.
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 2:33 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


To the guy that thinks campaign contributions should be secret and private -- so you wouldn't mind if, say, Rupert Murdoch threw 25 billion private buckazoids at, say, enacting legislation to eradicate all rules preventing race or gender from being considered for job applicants? In other words, a backdoor attempt to revitalize racism in the country by repealing laws against it. And you wouldn't even want to *know* that he was throwing the resources of a small country at making that possible? I know they *say* ignorance is bliss...but it ain't true.

Why are they impeaching Blaojevich again? Ah yeah, for attempting to sell Obama's vacant seat to the highest bidder. Well, if you keep political contributions, especially large ones, hidden from the citizenry, then pay-to-play would become the norm in politics. That's why the laws requiring that information to be public arose in the first place -- to protect the common man from the abuse of power/money by those at the top of the fiscal ladder. Do we want to go back to Money Rules again? (He who has the money makes the rules.) I don't.
posted by jamstigator at 2:40 PM on January 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


A lot of the ick factor could be removed by putting a $1000 cap on it.
posted by Artw at 2:40 PM on January 12, 2009


Is this because you don't believe that anyone in Utah gave money to No on 8? Because I know several people there who did, and I assure you there are many.

I don't believe very many gave money to No on 8 who come from Utah, in any significant numbers. Utah is a Mormon state, and the Mormon Church has put its full organizational resources and money behind regulating marriage (despite it being illegal to do so). I am basically challenging your assertion, in other words.

Even with such a map, I would ask you what you think your point is. Were I to come from Utah, I'd be perfectly happy with being on such a hypothetical Google map -- and having given a non-insignificant amount of money to the cause, I probably am -- because I'm not ashamed for having done so.

If the Yes on 8 folks feel no shame for giving money to their tax-exempt cause that takes rights away from others, on the simple basis of sexuality, then they can stop being weaselly fucking cowards and stand up for what they believe in, like the rest of us in the GLBT community have to do every day when we deal with these bigots in our business of going about life.

Why don't you ask yourself what they have to be ashamed of, that they so badly want to divest themselves of any connection with their campaign donations?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:47 PM on January 12, 2009


That's pretty much saying you should be able to say anything you want, no matter how offensive to your own community, and you should be protected by law from any consequences whatsoever.

Wait a second - "no matter how offensive to your own community"? Their own community, i.e. the state of California voted their way. You can't use the "offensiveness" argument because the majority of voters wouldn't be offended. The other reason you can't use the offensiveness argument is because you are forgetting that it's canceled out by them being offended by gay people getting married.

Secondly, I'm not saying you can say whatever you want (the first amendment already says that), what I 'm saying is that there is no obvious reason why a private transaction - the donation of money- should be required to be public.

Your analogy would be for a protest rally, where people are voicing their views in public. How would you feel if anyone who attended a protest rally had to give their names, SSNs, and addresses to the government for publication on a public list? And protestors are people who by definition are being deliberately and intentionally public about voicing their opinion!

" and you should be protected by law from any consequences whatsoever"

There be consequences for holding an opinion? That's ridiculous. First, if they are wrong, their bigotry is already causing them to suffer negative consequences But are you really suggesting people should suffer economic harm for their political opinions? Would you be comfortable with this if it meant church groups boycotted a car dealership because a salesman there donated to gay rights political group? How about if a national religious organization had a standing program to systematically identify people like this and use all legal means necessary to affect their employment.

No matter what the issue is, no matter what your politics, think about what you are endorsing or condoning. And assume that the opposition will be a thousand times more ruthless and efficient in pursuing the diametrically opposite goal using the same tactics.

This amounts to turning the duties of persecution from the government over to the mob. Just remember that one day they'll be in the mob, and you'll be the persecuted.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:48 PM on January 12, 2009


burnmp3s: The Cinemark boycott is not an attempt to get "someone" fired. It is an attempt to get THE CEO OF THE COMPANY fired. There is a huge difference. If you boycott a company because some schmo who works there gave money to a cause you are being an idiot. However a CEO is the public face of a company. If the CEO was giving money to Stormfront do you think he'd keep his job for a minute?
posted by aspo at 2:48 PM on January 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


a private transaction - the donation of money- should be required to be public.

That's just it -- it's not a private transaction. It's aid funding for a public cause, for a public vote. Donating money into a public vote cause should just as well bring you into the public spotlight. At that point you're not just making your one vote, you're looking to influence more than one vote.
posted by cavalier at 2:53 PM on January 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


Is this presentation scary and stupid and tantrum-throwing?

BTW -- that database can be searched both ways.

You can find out what gay-loving, liberal hippies donated to support the preservation of the right for same-sex couples to get married in California.
posted by ericb at 2:54 PM on January 12, 2009


I don't believe very many gave money to No on 8 who come from Utah, in any significant numbers. Utah is a Mormon state, and the Mormon Church has put its full organizational resources and money behind regulating marriage (despite it being illegal to do so). I am basically challenging your assertion, in other words.

You know, I'm googling around for it, and I have yet to find an easily-accessed list of people who donated to No on 8 by state. Do you know where I might find one? I will continue to look, and then I'll do what I can to meet your "challenging [my] assertion." The fact is, I personally know several people who live in Utah and donated to No on 8 - all of whom are Mormons.

Even with such a map, I would ask you what you think your point is. Were I to come from Utah, I'd be perfectly happy with being on such a hypothetical Google map -- and having given a non-insignificant amount of money to the cause, I probably am -- because I'm not ashamed for having done so.

Nobody I know who donated in favor of Prop 8 is ashamed for having done so, either. But the ones who have received anonymous death threats don't like the death threats very much.
posted by The World Famous at 2:59 PM on January 12, 2009


then they can stop being weaselly fucking cowards and stand up for what they believe in,

Stand up for what they believe in? They already did more than that, they gave their money. We have expressions like "talk is cheap" and "put your money where your mouth is" precisely because giving money is a greater level of commitment than merely vocalizing their support.

Look, I understand completely that their position is morally offensive, but what you are requiring is that everyone who takes a political position should have to stand and be judged for it by a mob or by the court of public opinion. And I know that the outcome of that result was incredibly frustrating among other things. It would almost have been easier to accept that defeat if McCain won, because it would at least have some internal logical consistency.

but this website is also morally wrong. Yes, it is legal. But its wrong. It's saying get these people because they think X,Y, and Z. If the issue were something else, i.e. if this were a website tracking the addresses of donors to No On 8 and people here were calling for boycotts of their businesses would you really support that? I can't believe that. Calling them out for their bigoted views is the same as calling people out because they are socialists or support unions.

We have to effect positive social change, but we can't undermine the political culture that enables fighting for that change in courts instead of with guns and tear gas in the streets. Things like this website will always come back around. They will turn it against someone else. Maybe not you or a cause you support, but it will happen. You have to keep the moral high ground, because moral authority is what allows the rights of the minority to trump the prejudices of the majority. If you cede the moral high ground, it degenerates into a fight, and the majority always wins in those fights.
posted by Pastabagel at 3:00 PM on January 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Why don't you ask yourself what they have to be ashamed of, that they so badly want to divest themselves of any connection with their campaign donations?

I think you're confusing shame with fear of intimidation or retribution due to political beliefs. Boycotting businesses, fine. But having your angry political opponents know your home address? Seems like asking for trouble.
posted by jsonic at 3:02 PM on January 12, 2009


I'm blown away at the people who seem to think that boycotting businesses is an unreasonable way to fight for civil rights. Boycotting businesses has been a major civil rights tactic for generations.

Brings to mind the national boycott of Colorado after Amendment 2 passed (53 percent to 47 percent) in that state in 1992 to amend their constitution which nullified gay rights laws that already existed in Aspen, Denver, and Boulder.
"Neither the state of Colorado, through any of its branches or departments, nor any of its agencies, political subdivisions, municipalities or school districts, shall enact, adopt or enforce any statute, regulation, ordinance or policy whereby homosexual, lesbian or bisexual orientation, conduct, practices or relationships shall constitute or otherwise be the basis of, or entitle any person or class of persons to have or claim any minority status, quota preferences, protected status or claim of discrimination. This Section of the Constitution shall be in all respects self-executing."
Gays and straights from all over the country boycotted the state.
"In the seven months since Amendment 2's passage, the Colorado Boycott has garnered national attention and support. As of June 1993, more than 60 companies have canceled conventions or meetings in Colorado, and more than 110 groups have called for a boycott of Colorado to protest Amendment 2. Some 20 U.S. municipalities have severed ties with Colorado because of the anti-gay initiative. New York City has divested its stock holdings in any Colorado companies, and canceled a contract for new municipal buses. Ziff-Davis Publishing had planned to relocate their operations to Colorado; in the wake of Amendment 2, they reconsidered, costing the state $1 billion dollars in revenue over a five-year period had they chosen to operate in the state. Good snow and papal visits notwithstanding, the Colorado Boycott is resulting in long-term fiscal consequences for the state that voted against civil rights....more than 62 businesses report conventions or business cancelled in Colorado, and more than 100 New York City restaurants will not serve products from the state."
'Boycott Colorado' set-up toll-free numbers and received official endorsements and donations from all over the country (impressive and extensive list here).

Activists and lawyers filed suit.

In 1996 the United States Supreme Court struck down Amendment 2.

"Romer v. Evans is now considered a foundational decision in favor of gay and lesbian civil rights.

In his decision Justice Kennedy wrote:
…the amendment imposes a special disability upon those persons alone. Homosexuals are forbidden the safeguards that others enjoy or may seek without constraint…

…Its sheer breadth is so discontinuous with the reasons offered for it that the amendment seems inexplicable by anything but animus toward the class that it affects; it lacks a rational relationship to legitimate state interests.

The Romer v. Evans decision was instrumental in Lawrence v. Texas. This decision struck down the sodomy laws in Texas and other states. It struck down Bowers v. Hardwick. If you were in Texas in 2003, and applauded Lawrence v. Texas, you should thank some people in Colorado."*
Boycotts put focus on issues and bring about changes in minds and in attitudes* and get the ball rolling towards civil rights for all.
posted by ericb at 3:04 PM on January 12, 2009 [8 favorites]


It's aid funding for a public cause, for a public vote. Donating money into a public vote cause should just as well bring you into the public spotlight.

There's no such thing as "donating money into a public vote". A public vote happens at the voting booth where each voter gets exactly one vote. And what if I want to support No on 8, but I don't want to be in the public spotlight? I guess they don't get my money.

The reason they are public is ostensibly to thwart corruption. But we still have as much corruption now as before. It does absolutely nothing except let the little people consume each other, while the power brokers are safely isolated.

You want to do something? Get Obama to toss that bigoted preacher out of the inauguration. Force Obama, i.e. the next President, to bend to your will. Get him to answer for his decision. Call the leaders to account, and the followers will follow.
posted by Pastabagel at 3:07 PM on January 12, 2009


"We have expressions like "talk is cheap" and "put your money where your mouth is" precisely because giving money is a greater level of commitment than merely vocalizing their support."

NO!

Money is FAKE and standing up for what you believe in is REAL

ESPECIALLY if it has risks. The greater the risk the more real it is. Some rich dude flinging a few hundred buck as a cause anonymously hardly shows any level of commitment compared to putting your reputation or safty on the line.

By YOUR logic THIS MAN shows no level of commitemnt cause "no money given".

I see no problem here. If they really believe in what they say they do, then knowing their address is pointless.

300 36th ave sw apt 612
Norman oklahoma
73072

Names Jesse

THAT'S MY ADDRESS AND I THINK PROP EIGHT IS A BUNCH OF CRAP.
posted by 5imian at 3:10 PM on January 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Pastabagel writes "This amounts to turning the duties of persecution from the government over to the mob. Just remember that one day they'll be in the mob, and you'll be the persecuted."
This already goes both ways, it's just as easy to make a map of people who donated to 'No on 8.'

Nobody's turning anything over to the mob. If you go and commit a crime against the people on this map, you're a criminal and we all hope you get what you deserve. This is about transparency in the crafting of legislation, and you can't have it if people are secretly funneling vast amounts of money around.
posted by mullingitover at 3:12 PM on January 12, 2009


I mean couldn't a pastor, or employer lean on his folks to donate to their pet cause and then verify the deed was done via something like this?

Yep. How much you want to bet that the LDS/Mormon Church did so in the case of following up on who in their flock heeded the call to support Prop. 2? It's one sure way to follow-up on the coordinated call to parishoners which was made in a letter read aloud at all temples on June 29, 2008.
"....We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman. Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage."
posted by ericb at 3:14 PM on January 12, 2009


Calling them out for their bigoted views is the same as calling people out because they are socialists or support unions.

This is only true if you're taking a relativistic, all opinions are equally valid perspective. If you believe, for example, that queer people should have the same rights as everyone else, then two actions that appear to be structurally similar take on very different ethical casts. What I'm saying is that speaking some opinions is ethical and speaking other opinions is unethical--if you believe that some things are true and other things are false, that some words hurt people and other words help people. Otherwise, you might as well say that telling someone "I hate you" is ethically indistinguishable from saying "I love you." Or that racial slurs are no different from any other words.

Note here that I'm talking about ethics and not laws. I don't think that it should be illegal for someone to say, "I hate you." That's not to say that what people say should never have bearing on legal issues--if there was a child custody dispute and one parent consistently said, "I hate you" to their child, I'd definitely want the court to take that into account. Wouldn't you?

A tactic, when used to create positive change, can have a beneficial impact. The same tactic, when used to further oppression, can have a negative impact. Lying to conceal the run away slaves hiding in your secret Underground Railroad room is good. Lying to conceal the prisoners in your human-rights violating secret detention center is bad.
posted by overglow at 3:18 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


The reason they are public is ostensibly to thwart corruption. But we still have as much corruption now as before. It does absolutely nothing except let the little people consume each other, while the power brokers are safely isolated.

Sorry Pasta, I usually jive with the logic you throw down, but I don't follow you here. I don't believe a transparent system that allows me to track where folks are trying to buy votes is doing absolutely nothing but letting little people consume each other. Are there bigger fish, is more campaign reform needed? Sure. But this is a start, this works. It sheds a light.

Honestly, the only people in this thread talking about intimidation and dog eat dog and lynch mobs are people writing comments fearful of them. I don't see anyone saying "ALL RIGHT! You guys take this block, I'll take the next block, Bob, make sure the pitchforks are bright red, go!" I think there can be a little faith in humanity that knowing the zip code of a political action donator is different than me hunting them down and setting their house on fire.

Does this win the fight? By itself, no. We keep striving forward. Fighting onward. But that's another conversation, isn't it? We're talking about somebody or bodies who intergrated a public list of donors with Google Maps. If we lived in Bizarro land and there was a bill to constitutionally outlaw abortion, and there was a paid effort to combat it, I would donate to it. And if somebody put my zip code on a google maps list, I've got no problem with that, because I stand for what I believe in. If some psycho killer napalms my neighborhood and lights up my family because of that, well that's a god damn shame and a sad day for yours truly, but that should not be the expected par for the course for taking part in society. If we turn this into an argument of "We shouldn't have more information, because that enables bad people to do more things!" then we're really just talking about fear.
posted by cavalier at 3:20 PM on January 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


What would you think if there were a map of everyone in Utah who gave money to No on Prop. 8, instead of this?

Well, there's this database (as mentioned above) where you can find which Mormons donated to Prop. 8., as well as this list of donors in CA and all other states.
posted by ericb at 3:20 PM on January 12, 2009


To the guy that thinks campaign contributions should be secret and private -- so you wouldn't mind if, say, Rupert Murdoch threw 25 billion private buckazoids at, say, enacting legislation to eradicate all rules preventing race or gender from being considered for job applicants?
...
And you wouldn't even want to *know* that he was throwing the resources of a small country at making that possible?


What Rupert does with his cash is his own business. He ought to be able to buy as many billboards as he can afford.
Would I like to know who is buying these billboards? Sure, I would.
Do I think my curiosity trumps the privacy of the buyer? No, I don't.
posted by madajb at 3:27 PM on January 12, 2009


if this were a website tracking the addresses of donors to No On 8 and people here were calling for boycotts of their businesses

This information is available - not yet as a googlemaps mashup, that I know of, but all the information is there. For instance, here's one.

And, you know, The Yes on Prop 8 people already called for a boycott of No on 8, complete with blackmail-y letters!

So you know what the No on 8 folks did? They went public! Nothing to be ashamed of! They called out the Yes on 8 people who put that boycott campaign together, and the Yes folks weaseled and backpedaled.
posted by rtha at 3:29 PM on January 12, 2009


And, you know, The Yes on Prop 8 people already called for a boycott of No on 8, complete with blackmail-y letters!

Were they right to do that? Were they justified in taking such action?
posted by The World Famous at 3:31 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


And, you know, The Yes on Prop 8 people already called for a boycott of No on 8, complete with blackmail-y letters!

"See! THEY did it, so that mean's it's ok for US to do it. Regardless of what that makes us."

If you're convinced you're right, the ends justify the means, apparently.
posted by jsonic at 3:33 PM on January 12, 2009


I haven't read the full thread, so I'm not sure if this sentiment was expressed earlier: I am against this for the same reasons I am against Prop. 8.

I understand the whole feeling of "these fuckers don't respect privacy, so why should we respect theirs?" but that is sinking to their level. I want to be able to donate to semi-unpopular political causes without having my house mapped on some website.

I mean, if this kind of thing is allowed to continue, then there will be websites showcasing names and addresses of people who support marijuana legalization, because who wants to hire a pothead, amirite? Or Freedom of Choice supporters. I'm sure large donators there wouldn't be harassed by any religious groups, no sir.
posted by graventy at 3:42 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


We each get one vote, no matter how rich.

One billionaire can fund a lot of advertising.
posted by nomisxid at 3:45 PM on January 12, 2009


jsonic writes "'See! THEY did it, so that mean's it's ok for US to do it. Regardless of what that makes us.'

"If you're convinced you're right, the ends justify the means, apparently."


More like, "It was fine for them to do it, just like it's fine for us to do it."

The only thing it makes us is 'informed citizens,' and if you're opposed to an informed populace then I don't really have much to say to you.
posted by mullingitover at 3:45 PM on January 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


I want to be able to donate to semi-unpopular political causes without having my house mapped on some website.

Your house won't be mapped. This mashup is of zipcodes. Not addresses. Not phone numbers.

If you give money to a political campaign, a proposition/initiative or sign a petition for one to be placed on a ballot your name, occupation and zipcode is made public -- has been and will likely always be.
posted by ericb at 3:46 PM on January 12, 2009


I don't really understand why people are getting upset about this. It's public information put on a map.

It's like the "Reply to All" e-mail fiasco thread. If you hide that button from people, they use it a lot less. Sure, this information is available, but throwing it on a map like this gives it an easy-to-use polish.
posted by graventy at 3:50 PM on January 12, 2009


Nobody is wanting to call someone out for their opinions or views. It's when they throw money at influencing the opinions and views of *others* -- that's what needs to be public. Advertising works. That's why people pay big money for it. If someone comes along and throws twenty million dollars at a cause in order to influence public opinion, the public should know that someone is spending money to influence their opinion.

Note that there are ways to influence peoples' opinions that doesn't cost money. Like, talking to those who disagree with you, letters to the editor, convincing posts on message boards, signs on lawns, bullhorns, etc, etc. If someone wants to introduce money into the equation, then yes, we the people should know about it. And hey, that's the law too, and for good reason.

There are no consequences if you go into a booth and vote to deny blacks the ability to marry (should that ever come up for a vote). Unless you tell people how you voted, nobody would ever know. Even if you do tell someone how you voted, unless they physically oberserved it, they wouldn't *know* how you voted -- they'd just have to take your word for it, or not.

It's when you spend money trying to convince others to vote as you vote, then you've moved beyond your own metaphorical personal privacy bubble and pushed that money into public view. No one holds a gun to anyone's head and makes them pierce their privacy bubble with a wad of cash -- it must be done voluntarily, as it was in this instance. If there are repercussions for that, and there are, then people would be wise to consider those repercussions carefully before trying to spend money to alter another person's thinking.

I happen to think boycotting businesses is a very peaceful completely non-violent way to sway people politically. Is it as effective as spending gobs of money on advertising? Maybe not. But it's a lot cheaper! If there are those who fear to have their inner beliefs spotlighted for public viewing, they'd be wise to keep their political goals completely disentangled from money. If they choose to throw some of their weight around money-wise, and that drives off some customers, well, that's life in an open society. Deal.
posted by jamstigator at 3:51 PM on January 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


Were they right to do that? Were they justified in taking such action?

Sure, why not? Boycotting, if I didn't make it clear in my earlier comments, is a time-honored way to get your point across. I got no problem with it.

The problem I had with Yes on 8s boycott "strategy" is that they sent No on 8 businesses letters that said "You gave No on 8 $X - you better give us $X+ or we're gonna tell!"

Gross, stupid, unethical, smarmy, and gross.

I've boycotted orange juice because of Anita Bryant (well, my family did - I wasn't old enough to really be doing any boycotting myself); I've boycotted stuff because of apartheid; I've boycotted grapes and lettuce grown in California; I've boycotted Coors beer. And I've called up or written to companies that were being boycotted by groups I don't agree with (e.g. Focus on the Family) and said "Hey, I know you're being boycotted, but I support you and I'm going to keep buying your stuff!"

"See! THEY did it, so that mean's it's ok for US to do it. Regardless of what that makes us."

SO not what I meant.

What I meant: The information is already out there, on the same databases used by the people who made the mashup. The fact that someone from the Yes on 8 side hasn't made a "Look at the people who donated to No on 8" mashup isn't my problem or my responsibility, but the information is there for them to use if they so choose.
posted by rtha at 3:52 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's when you spend money trying to convince others to vote as you vote, then you've moved beyond your own metaphorical personal privacy bubble and pushed that money into public view.

Exactly, put succinctly. Whether you're an incredibly wealthy person or a pauper, the moment you hand some level of $ to a political organization, you're influencing the political process beyond the one vote you've been allotted, and you have to give up something for that privilege. Giving up some privacy makes perfect sense to me.

And by the way -- where's the mashup of people who spent money against prop 8? Since it turns out the only one in my neighborhood who gave money (according to this mashup) was the guy with the local gas station who also put up the "Yes on Prop 8" sign, I'm curious how many of my neighbors gave cash against it.

because I'd like to invite them over for coffee
posted by davejay at 3:57 PM on January 12, 2009


Your analogy would be for a protest rally, where people are voicing their views in public. How would you feel if anyone who attended a protest rally had to give their names, SSNs, and addresses to the government for publication on a public list? And protestors are people who by definition are being deliberately and intentionally public about voicing their opinion!

Take pictures at that rally. Now go and run some image/facial recognition software against Facebook. Maybe not now, but in 10 years, that will be easy to do (law enforcement already does this sort of thing), and will be the same as what's being done here.

There is not, and should not be, any anonymity for public speech.

But really, even if you wanted there to be, there isn't -- because anonymity itself is dead, and will be ever more dead as technology advances, and we have cameras everywhere, and facial recognition for video and photos, etc. I can understand being troubled by this, but even if it's made "illegal" it won't stop any of it.
posted by wildcrdj at 4:01 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I mean, if this kind of thing is allowed to continue, then there will be websites showcasing names and addresses of people who support marijuana legalization, because who wants to hire a pothead, amirite?

In Massachusetts, you're not likely to be passed over a job for supporting the decriminalization of marijuana -- since 65% voted for such this past November.

Here in Massachusetts the list of those who signed (105,000 individuals) the Sensible Marijuana Policy Initiative to get such on the November 2008 ballot is public information and available in digital form from the Secretary of the Commonwealth. One could create a searchable database online, just as KnowThyNeighbor did regarding those who signed the Initiative Petition which sought to make same-sex marriage illegal.
posted by ericb at 4:03 PM on January 12, 2009


If you're going to donate $5,000 to a political movement, one that has the opportunity to take rights from friends, family, and people I admire--and you're not willing to say that you did so in public, you're a coward. Either stand up for your convictions or abandon them.

If you want to donate $5,000 but don't want people to know because your business might go into the toilet, boo fucking hoo. Money talks in this country. What a big donation to "Yes on 8" says to your gay patrons is "please stay out of my store."

I have nothing against a group saying "we're going to publish the names of every business who donates to No on 8, and organize a boycott among our members." I'm sure a thoughtful business owner has already decided that their taking a position on the issue is worth the potential alienation of the people who support the other side. (Of course, being right-wing, the "Yes on 8" people had to try and blackmail money out of business owners as well, which isn't right and should be a criminal offense, if it isn't.)

It's absolutely amazing to me the folks here who are against accountability.

It's no wonder this country reacted like a scared toddler after the 9/11 attacks. America, land of the wuss.
posted by maxwelton at 4:05 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


The problem I had with Yes on 8s boycott "strategy" is that they sent No on 8 businesses letters that said "You gave No on 8 $X - you better give us $X+ or we're gonna tell!"

Gross, stupid, unethical, smarmy, and gross.


I agree.

I think, and this is just my read on the subject, that the reason that people are taking this mashup badly is because of the stories that we have heard or read about people being singled out and threatened because they supported Prop 8, and crowds picketing specific workplaces in an attempt to get specific people fired.

If you don't think that's also gross, stupid, unethical, smarmy, and gross, then that's where we disagree.

The people I know who donated money in support of and against Prop 8 had no problem putting signs up on their house, their car, and elsewhere proclaiming their position on the issue. And the point of republishing and drawing attention to the names on the donor list appears to be to encourage hatred and threats--not to out a formerly secretive group of supporters who have been afraid to make themselves known.

A bigot is a person who is intolerant of opinions, lifestyles or identities differing from his or her own, and bigotry is the corresponding attitude or mindset. Publishing a mashup map showing the locations of people who hold opinions of which the publisher and his/her readers are intolerant is bigotry pure and simple.

So what if it's already public information? If that's the defense, then why make the map? Why republish it? There is bigotry and intolerance on both sides of the Prop 8 issue. And both sides think that they are justified, because their position is the more "moral" of the two. It is stupid and disgusting.
posted by The World Famous at 4:30 PM on January 12, 2009


i think i'm most interested in *why* this makes people so uncomfortable. we as humans came not so incredibly long ago from villages where everyone was far more connected. i mean, unless you left to someplace far away to start a new life, people were pretty much up in your business. they knew whether or not you went to a religious institution on the holy days, and which one you favored. you couldn't abuse the neighbor child without people knowing all about it and keeping an eye on you. if you were a bigot of some kind, people generally knew your opinions and talked about it. if you were a "misfit" then some villages weren't fun places to live, but there have been plenty of fine places where misfits were accepted or even celebrated as themselves.

today, we move around so much and live in such alienated places, that we've developed an abundant expectation of unknowability. we hide out from everyone around us, suspicious that if they knew what we support or believe in, they would harm us in some way. WTF, really?

for years, i was under the impression that signing in to, say, a Communist Labor Party national convention would get my name put on "a list". and i presumed that list could be used against me, but primarily i feared *my government*, not my neighbor. my neighbors, you see, already know who i vote for and what my bumper stickers say and what kinds of clothes i wear and note whether or not i've gained any weight over the winter. they note whether or not i wave when i see them or how i keep my lawn, and presumably judge me on that basis. that's what happens when you actually go outdoors and get to know people. i fear we are becoming a world of suspicious hermits.

if i want to donate to causes and have no one know about it, i can think of any number of ways i can do it--from dropping gold coins in their donation buckets to throwing bags of cash into their office and running away. i can even donate to another organization that covers my intent.

i've found that "outing" myself has been a far less anxious world to live in than one where i think that the bigness of the world should hide me. it's a bit nerve-wracking to think that someone will "find out" what you believe and be angry with you, but man, humans should know one another. (honestly i'm more afraid of my family than anyone. but it's an *unreasonable* fear.) we should not feel like we have to hide what we are in fear of violence. it's just not that forthcoming, is it? (i say this as someone who uses usernames that aren't directly tied with my real name. why? an attempt to prevent anyone but the diligent techno-adept to use my words against me, i guess. it's a false sense of security. i don't pretend that my anonymity is real.)

a person of a certain race or ethnicity can't hide who they are from the world, and aren't people who attempt to hide it for one reason or another seen as cowardly? i mean, yeah--we can look back at people who attempted to hide out from Nazism by blending and say, "they did what they had to to survive" but there's still an ethical question about what it meant to then watch those who *couldn't* hide be dragged away. same goes for ethnically african-american folks who "pass"--we question their actions/loyalty. as queer folk, we know that being out is a risk, but it's also seen as "the right thing to do." walking down the street with a sign is seen as very "out" for whatever it is you believe in. why then do we become fearful of "being seen" or documented by camera? it's like we think that the streets should be empty of people when we demonstrate? should we be invisible? what are we so afraid of?

so what are these donors so afraid of? are they really afraid that their neighbors will cause them harm?

if there's a risk in publicizing what our political affiliations are (meaning what causes we attempt to influence by means of money), then it lies in our alienation and fear of one another. if my government uses my affiliations to oppress me, then there's something wrong with my government. if my neighbors burn a cross in my yard because i'm black, then there's something wrong with my neighbors. if my boss fires me because i donated money to a cause, then there's something wrong with my boss. i have recourse to defend myself against these wrongs.

if i donate to a cause and i own a business, i know i am taking a risk that someone will not patronize my business because of who i am. just like i make a choice about whether or not to patronize stores that play christian talk radio, or put McCain signs in their window. i should note that there have been many businesses i have not boycotted despite their "wrong" affiliations. i think we all spend our money in places "imperfectly." if businesses are interested in hiding their affiliations, then what's going on? i think i am justified in perhaps looking for inappropriate conspiracy, then.

transparency is not just an unavoidable techno-reality, it's actually getting us back to a place where we know each other. hi, neighbor!
posted by RedEmma at 4:35 PM on January 12, 2009 [12 favorites]


Pastabagel, your jeremiads about tear-gas and blood in the streets resulting from this are hyperbolic and borderline offensive. Especially considering how slowly, thoughtfully, and relatively peacefully gays have attempted to win the rights that you take for granted. Did we flip cars in New Paltz, NY? Do we send people off to conversion camps? I can't tell exactly what it is that you're afraid of, but I can surely tell you that it doesn't have any bearing on reality.
posted by hermitosis at 4:36 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


just one more thing: i've been arrested for trespassing in the past. it was a planned arrest at an anti-war march. when i apply to a job that requires disclosure of misdemeanor convictions, i have no problem explaining it. does this mean i risk being passed over for a job by someone who is prejudiced against me for this? certainly. but i also don't want to work for someone who would be prejudiced against me for this fact. i refuse to hide who i am and what i believe.
posted by RedEmma at 4:40 PM on January 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Awesome post RedEmma.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:42 PM on January 12, 2009


Publishing a mashup map showing the locations of people who hold opinions of which the publisher and his/her readers are intolerant is bigotry pure and simple.

This is an ignorant comment, showcasing a lack of personal experience with intolerance of the sort that motivates support for Prop 8 in the first place.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:44 PM on January 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


stories that we have heard or read about people being singled out and threatened because they supported Prop 8, and crowds picketing specific workplaces in an attempt to get specific people fired.

If you don't think that's also gross, stupid, unethical, smarmy, and gross, then that's where we disagree.


No, I think we pretty much agree on that front, barring weird edge cases that I can't even imagine right now.

It's so odd to me that so many people are reading this mashup as "OMG invasion of privacy these poor people will all be burned out of their homes when they are found out!"; I read it as "Hmm. More information. Hmm. Look how the pins cluster here but not over there - what's different?" Even when I clicked on individual pins, my response - and the response of every non-nutty person I know - has been something like "Jeez, he gave a lot of money - oh look, he's a financial planner. Well, he's never planning my finances!"

I'm sorry that there seems to be a world that some of you inhabit where a mashup like this can apparently only be read as THREAT. I live in one where it can be read in many different ways, but the main, all-caps one is INFORMATION om nom nom nom.
posted by rtha at 4:52 PM on January 12, 2009


jsonic writes "If you're convinced you're right, the ends justify the means, apparently."

First of all, the law at the time of the vote stated that any donation to a political party/cause over a certain amount is public information, as to the donor and the amount. That's how the law works, and the pro-Prop. 8 people were all too happy to exploit it. Fine. Politics is something of a game. There is risk involved. The risk is not unknown. But a functioning representative system must have transparency. Publishing people's names who donated to campaigns is transparency in action.

A boycott is perfectly acceptable as a political tactic. The pro-Prop 8 had no issue with it before they thought someone might boycott them. I wouldn't advocate singling out any individuals who are not already public, but boycotting businesses is fine. So what? I'm not seeing the abuse here.

RedEmma writes "so what are these donors so afraid of? are they really afraid that their neighbors will cause them harm? "

As nice as it may sound, having a tight-knit community usually means "deviants" are not tolerated. Misfits, perhaps. But a lot of the people who donated to pass Prop 8 aren't really part of the community they're affecting.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:52 PM on January 12, 2009


A bigot is a person who is intolerant of opinions, lifestyles or identities differing from his or her own, and bigotry is the corresponding attitude or mindset.

Then count me as being bigoted against people who are happy to vote for me to remain a second-class citizen.
posted by rtha at 5:02 PM on January 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


I wouldn't advocate singling out any individuals who are not already public, but boycotting businesses is fine. So what?

Agreed, boycotting a business for political reasons seems just fine to me, especially when it is donating to political causes. But putting an individual's name and address* on a map due to their political opinions stinks of intimidation and an implicit "we don't like you, and we know where you live". That's not a world I'd like to encourage.

But we're essentially talking about proper etiquette now, so I guess there's no correct opinion on the issue, hence the debate.

* Name and zipcode can be quite unique identifiers unless your name is quite common.
posted by jsonic at 5:05 PM on January 12, 2009


Holy shit, SLC has chicken pox. Nobody saw that coming.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 5:09 PM on January 12, 2009


If some of the hand wringers in this thread had their alarmist sway at various points in history we wouldn't have Civil Rights, Labor Rights, Human Rights or an environmental movement.

Boycotts are one of THE most successful and moral tactics employed in all these movements.
posted by tkchrist at 5:19 PM on January 12, 2009


Metafilter: filling a jar with eyes right now

stet writes "FWIW, the map isn't complete. I looked at a list of businesses* that donated and found a couple in my neck of the woods (don't remember names, as they're business I've no interest in patronizing) but couldn't find them on this map."

Might be their address is a PO box; their lawyer; or their accountant.
posted by Mitheral at 5:25 PM on January 12, 2009


But putting an individual's name and address* on a map due to their political opinions stinks of intimidation and an implicit "we don't like you, and we know where you live". That's not a world I'd like to encourage.

So things like lists of donors/PACs to defeat environmental legislation stinks of intimidation?

I can look up where the board of directors of Monsanto live pretty easily.

I think many of you guys should prepare for a guest spot on O'Riely. He can have you on right after his weekly tirade about how liberals are killing Christmas. NOW THEY ARE HUNTING DOWN POLITICAL OPPONENTS!!! OMFG!
posted by tkchrist at 5:36 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is an ignorant comment, showcasing a lack of personal experience with intolerance of the sort that motivates support for Prop 8 in the first place.

With all due respect, you don't know my personal experiences. And if you did meet and get to know me, you and I would have a nice, civil discussion about this where nobody would insult the other. Putting names on a map does not make us more like neighbors. It fosters hateful commentary and hateful judgment of people we don't know.

I hope to meet you at a meetup someday, Blazecock Pileon (have I? I don't think I have). The only real knock-down-drag-out I can remember having on Metafilter was with Klangklangston. Then he and I met at a meetup in L.A., which was totally civil and cool. Turns out we grew up in the same geographic area and that we have some friends in common. We see eye-to-eye on more things that we differ on. His life is very different from mine. I was ashamed of my argument with him the minute I stopped pressing "Post Comment" and chilled out. I was even more ashamed once I met him and realized that he and I are likely members of the same Karass. Now that I actually know him, I don't care about the differences of opinion or any of that. He is my neighbor--someone who I respect and for whom I would go out of my way to help. I am certain that, if we met in real life instead of this thread, we would have a similar experience (ok, maybe you're not also from my home state).

That is what we need, both in California and everywhere in the world. We need real connections with people, where we actually get to know and respect them, notwithstanding some pretty stark differences that we may have. Prop. 8 served to draw a line in the sand between two groups of people who, aside from that issue, are neighbors. Then they both started seeing the "others" threatening their way of life--with each side crowing that their position was the right one because they had the moral high ground. Now look where it leads. A map of where the "bigots" live, just, you know, because we can and we have the technology. Sure. Because nobody ever looks at that list or that map and gets full of rage and hate for their neighbor -- probably the first time they have ever thought about those people.

If I was in any way insulting to you, I apologize, BP. I strive not to be ignorant. And I think I have some experience with facing intolerance. I hope I will actually meet you at some point so that neither of us will be tempted to put the other on any map designed to make people mad at their neighbors. The MeFi members map is enough for me.
posted by The World Famous at 5:36 PM on January 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Are you Invasion of Privacy folks afraid of what you've donated to?
Amen. If you're not doing anything wrong, you've got nothing to hide.


Dude. Are you listening to yourself? Nothing to hide?

I'm very anti-prop-8 (here for the world to read!), but this sort of thing in general scares my privacy-loving bones.

If you're not doing anything wrong, you've got nothing to hide.

So a map of Obama donors in the deepest red states, home addresses, filtered down to those where they're the only donors per 100 mile radius, surrounded by McCain donors on all sides? Maybe include their work addresses, too, since that's usually public record? Their kids names? Google street view for each?

It's all public info already, sure, but would wrapping it all together like that really be okay with you? It doesn't worry you even a bit?

I like seeing corporate donors. Personal ones worry me. Small $ limit = confidentiality while large $ = public would be a good mix for me, though it's probably unworkable in practice.
posted by rokusan at 5:44 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's all public info already, sure, but would wrapping it all together like that really be okay with you?

yup.


It doesn't worry you even a bit?

Then you would talking about a MINORITY group being singled out inside a majority and that is entirely different. But at the root? No I got no problem with it. UNTIL something bad happens.

Course, that is assuming individual donor info for presidential campaigns IS publicly and freely available information. Which I'm not so sure that it is everywhere.
posted by tkchrist at 5:49 PM on January 12, 2009


rokusan: Just thought I'd refer you upthread.
posted by Weebot at 5:52 PM on January 12, 2009


The World Famous, you're a gentleman and a scholar. I recall we had a great conversation about the issue of the state-mandated morality at our last meetup.

It helps to keep in mind that everyone tends to read things on internet discussion boards with an adversarial slant, regardless of the author's intent, whereas in person we get all kinds of other nonverbal information which tells us that everything is kosher.
posted by mullingitover at 6:00 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Might be their address is a PO box; their lawyer; or their accountant.

My memory's not perfect, but I think the businesses in question might have been either lawyers or accountants and the addresses were on record for donating to pro-Prop 8 in other public records and I did recognize the addresses. At any rate, the street addresses were in areas where this site shows no donors. I think it's one of those things where google isn't perfect.
posted by stet at 6:02 PM on January 12, 2009


There's no such thing as "donating money into a public vote". A public vote happens at the voting booth where each voter gets exactly one vote. And what if I want to support No on 8, but I don't want to be in the public spotlight? I guess they don't get my money.

You're missing the really key point that everyone gets ONE VOTE, but people don't get to donate just ONE DOLLAR. If that were the case, I could get behind your privatization stance for donor lists.
posted by odinsdream at 6:03 PM on January 12, 2009


And what if I want to support No on 8, but I don't want to be in the public spotlight? I guess they don't get my money.

This seems perfectly fine to me. Voting is a private act. Giving money to a political cause isn't private; you've becoming one of the driving forces behind something seeking to have an impact on the daily lives of everyone in your state or country. Maybe a small percentage of the driving force, but part of it never the less.

That's a public act, not a private one.

Look at it this way: If I don't have to publicly declare that I've donated $500 against Prop 8, then FarmCo doesn't have to declare that they've donated $50,000 to Senators Bought and Paidfor.
posted by Justinian at 6:14 PM on January 12, 2009


I wish people would stop saying this is immoral; it's not. Not under any definition of the word. In fact, I defy those people saying so to show me *how* it's immoral. And where are they every day on the donor lists for political candidates?
posted by grubi at 7:11 PM on January 12, 2009


When people say it's immoral they really mean it feels creepy to single individuals out for their political opinions rather than having a public discussion in agreed-upon forums of discourse. It isn't actually immoral of course.

What they should be saying is that is it useless posturing, bound only to foster more antimony rather than make sure that in the next election there are more votes going the right way. But some folks would rather affect poses than effect change, and that is why they make politics on internet everyday.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:21 PM on January 12, 2009


and you will know their names!
posted by eustatic at 8:39 PM on January 12, 2009


I wish people would stop saying this is immoral; it's not. Not under any definition of the word. In fact, I defy those people saying so to show me *how* it's immoral.

I would say the same thing to the people who claim that voting for Prop 8 is "immoral", "hateful" and "regressive". Seriously, if there is going to be any such thing as political tolerance then there have to be some issues on which reasonable people can disagree without the other person being seen as an evil bigot (or whatever) for holding the views they do. I can accept that there are some viewpoints that are beyond the pale, such as neo-Nazism and so forth, but is opposition to same-sex marriage really in the latter category, or the former? What we are talking about here is a debate over the wording of a legal contract ("civil union" versus "marriage"). If this isn't an issue on which people should be able to agree to disagree I don't know what is.

If anyone disagrees with me then can you give me an example of a political disagreement where you can respectfully disagree? Tax cuts for the rich? The environment? Abortion? Supporting or opposing war X? All political issues have a moral dimension, political tolerance means being able to swallow your self-righteousness and accept that other people may have views you deem "evil", and that democracy means that sometimes they will be imposed on you and you may have to accept it.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 8:40 PM on January 12, 2009


I suppose to be be fair, someone in here should really post a list of names & locations of people like me who donate to pro-abortion causes. That way, you can make it easy for people who are so inclined to harass and terrorize us and our families for exercising my legal right to vote for what I believe is ultimately best. Oh wait, this is different. Oh wait, no it isnt.
posted by jcworth at 8:54 PM on January 12, 2009


With all due respect, you don't know my personal experiences.

With all due respect, when you have gained some real world experience you may likely reflect on your aforementioned comment with some embarrassment.

No one on that map has been refused work for being straight. No one on that map has been beaten or murdered for being straight. No one on that map has been refused access to a loved one in a hospital or prevented from adopting or raising a child for being straight.

We can keep going with these examples, but until you get yourself some life experience, your comment was, no offense, a display of significant ignorance on your part.

Calling out bigots is not bigotry. If you think it is, you don't know what the word means and I suggest you get to know people who have experienced hatred on a firsthand basis.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:18 PM on January 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


make it easy for people who are so inclined to harass and terrorize us and our families for exercising my legal right to vote for what I believe is ultimately best. Oh wait, this is different. Oh wait, no it isnt.

right, because just like the well-documented history of actual clinic bombings and killings of doctors who perform abortions (not to mention actual attempts, and actual arson, etc etc), there's a well-documented history of gay marriage supporters actually bombing and killing people who oppose gay marriage, or at least, actually attempting to do so, on a parallel scale. Oh wait, there isn't.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 9:25 PM on January 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


make it easy for people who are so inclined to harass and terrorize us and our families for exercising my legal right to vote for what I believe is ultimately best.

It's already happening. From the Detroit News blog forum:

"The homosexuals are trying something new. First it was the blacklists where they posted peoples names on the Internet who monetarily supported Prop 8. Now their putting out maps to peoples homes if they donated. No fooling. Check here. http://www.eightmaps.com/

"The homosexuals have also been running around protesting with their entire bodies covered with either pink or blue paint. I have no idea why the display but that's what they're doing folks. Their tantrum continues. Unbelievable."


Those who hate pastels, be afraid. Be very afraid.
posted by terranova at 10:10 PM on January 12, 2009


Seriously, if there is going to be any such thing as political tolerance then there have to be some issues on which reasonable people can disagree without the other person being seen as an evil bigot (or whatever) for holding the views they do.

That's great, but whether or not people deserve basic rights based on their sexuality will never be something that it's okay to answer "No" to. Ever. This is not a matter of policy. This is a matter of basic humanity.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:05 PM on January 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


No, it's more of a slippery slope thing. If it is ok to go after them for their political views then perhaps they or others will come after you for yours. Boss: "Well terranova, I see that you gave money to move on. You are no longer employed here. The security guard will escort you out."


I hope this would happen, for in California, employers are prohibited from firing employees for their political activity (including political contributions). I'd haul my fired ass down to Bustem, Breakem & Leavembroke, file a juicy suit, then retire to the Great Barrier Reef.

*Cal. Labor Code §§ 1101-02
posted by terranova at 11:17 PM on January 12, 2009


With all due respect, when you have gained some real world experience you may likely reflect on your aforementioned comment with some embarrassment.

Is your quarrel with the definition of the term "bigotry," or with my application of that definition?

No one on that map has been refused work for being straight. No one on that map has been beaten or murdered for being straight. No one on that map has been refused access to a loved one in a hospital or prevented from adopting or raising a child for being straight.


Well then, by all means, let's do those things to them right away and settle the score.
posted by The World Famous at 12:56 AM on January 13, 2009


That's great, but whether or not people deserve basic rights based on their sexuality will never be something that it's okay to answer "No" to. Ever.

I agree with you in cases where people are imprisoned or worse for their sexuality, but unlike the right to life or liberty, getting married isn't a "basic right". It's a social institution based on an evolving set of more or less arbitrary cultural traditions, which puts it clearly outside the category of universal or fundamental rights.

This is not a matter of policy. This is a matter of basic humanity.

No, it's clearly a matter of political opinion and not some kind of moral absolute. If gay marriage is a matter of "basic humanity" then by the same standard almost all political positions reduce to the same terms of good versus evil, save maybe for some minor policy disagreements over things like tax rates and whether to have 9 Supreme Court Justices or 10.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 1:32 AM on January 13, 2009


The World Famous writes "Well then, by all means, let's do those things to them right away and settle the score."

I think BP's point was that, despite the fuss, the pro-equality people are a lot less likely to actually terrorize their adversaries with violence and such than the anti-equality folk. I'm sure a corresponding 'no on 8' map will be dragged out eventually and we'll see that nothing much comes of either of them. People have serious stuff to worry about lately, like keeping their job and home, and I really doubt that the torches and pitchforks are going to make an appearance.

I don't see any point in getting worked up about it. Or I do, but I don't think getting worked up will accomplish anything. Fairness will eventually prevail in an enlightened society, and Prop 8 was an examination. Our society failed the Enlightened Society 101 exam, but there will be others. As long as our kids are better educated than we are, there's a chance they'll make more reasoned decisions.
posted by mullingitover at 1:40 AM on January 13, 2009


Well then, by all means, let's do those things to them right away and settle the score.

One more time.

You are equating a Google map with the following wrongs:

• being hurt, maimed or killed for being gay
• being denied a job for being gay
• being discriminated in the workplace (denied benefits, promotion or raises) for being gay
• being denied visitation rights for one's same-sex partner
• having to deal with hostile neighbors, police officers, etc. for being gay

Given how many times you keep repeating your ridiculous hypotheticals, I suspect that most rational people would come away from your comments thinking that you are not quite right in the head, with all due respect.

You seem like a decent enough person. I hope you come back in a while, maybe after you have taken the chance to get to know someone who has actually been discriminated against, so that you can rethink what bigotry really means.

Because, right now, with ridiculous comments like the one above, you're simply demonstrating that you just don't have a clue. I hope for your sake that you figure it out.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:43 AM on January 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


When you Americans are tired of your proletarian democracy ("one-man, one vote", how absurd!), I stand ready to do my duty as your god-king.
posted by atrazine at 3:00 AM on January 13, 2009


Donors to political causes should never be anonymous. It is a public act by law. We need to know who is funding what initiatives to preserve the integrity of our system. Any harms from publishing the identities of donors are secondary and much less harmful than the consequences of anonymity. I say this as someone who contributes to causes that a significant proportion of the population despises and am personally willing to take the risk.
posted by Mental Wimp at 6:28 AM on January 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


...and whats so specila about that pin in Colorado that it stays on the map when all of Utahs disappear?

/clicks on it.

Oh, I see.


I'm still puzzled about a Mr. Joseph Moran south of SF who donated all of $99 and is visible even at the most zoomed-out level.

Maybe each dollar bill was soaked in pure hate or something.
posted by ymgve at 7:14 AM on January 13, 2009


I think it's weird that so many people didn't realize that political donations were public knowledge. The NYTimes has had its donor search thingy on it's election page for most of the election season. Even the US govt's Federal Election Commission has a search engine to look for campaign donors. You can search by name, zipcode, employer, and city. Transparency in democracy is important to fight corruption. Just because we still have corruption doesn't mean transparency is bad. It just means we aren't very good at being completely transparent yet -- people can still circumvent the system. We need to work on that.

I didn't even think about the revenge aspect of the map when I was looking at it. I just thought it was interesting to see where people live -- i.e. the demographics of people supporting the ban.
posted by bluefly at 7:52 AM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


there's a $25,000 donation there from an organisation called "Natural Success Internatinal".

Altogether now...


FAIL
posted by randomination at 8:11 AM on January 13, 2009


FBI: Anti-Gay Crimes Up

And where are the corresponding articles about al-Gayda?
posted by terranova at 8:57 AM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


The natural outgrowth of this sort of thing is that employers will start denying jobs to people who financially support policies they disagree with.

Sure it's fun to watch a bunch of bigots be publicly shamed. I mean, why the hell not? They're all about shame.

Less amusing is when B of A won't hire someone because they gave some money for a reforming bankruptcy legislation initiative.

And etc.

Schadenfreude aside, this is unlikely to lead anywhere good.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 9:04 AM on January 13, 2009


I agree with you in cases where people are imprisoned or worse for their sexuality, but unlike the right to life or liberty, getting married isn't a "basic right".

I disagree.

When laws treat citizens differently (barring circumstances where the citizen is a convicted criminal, perhaps, or other edge cases) - when the law says that black people may not do X or Y, but white people can, or women can't get a bank loan without a husband's signature, and so on - then it certainly violates basic human rights.

I have yet to see a rational, secular justification for banning gay marriage.
posted by rtha at 10:24 AM on January 13, 2009



I have yet to see a rational, secular justification for banning gay marriage.


That's because there isn't one.
posted by minifigs at 11:00 AM on January 13, 2009


Here's the problem in this thread.

The people who support or condone this map only want to discuss the morality or ethics of it in relates to the Prop 8 issue only, hence all the comments that "they should stand up for what they believe in".

The people who think it is an invasion of privacy believe it is such on general principle, i.e. it is wrong regardless of the underlying political issue. The opportunity for abuse here is incredibly obvious to everyone except those with a vested interest in this particular fight. I realize that if "they" have to stand up for what they believe in, then so do you. So I guess all of you people working in the IT industry had better make sure you check your employers position on Net Neutrality before you donate any money.

It doesn't matter for the purposes of the discussion of this website whether Prop 8 is right or wrong, because the next issue in which a map like this will be used will have nothing to do Prop 8 or civil rights at all. It will be about something different. But the appropriateness of the map will still be a question.

And what will happen then? Many who support this kind of site will condemn it when it turns against them.

You simply cannot do that. The system you establish has to be generally applicable to all situations and all political questions. My position is that I want more privacy instead of less, regardless of the issue.

This kind of site is so ripe for abuse, but offers no real benefit, it reopens the question of whether political donations should be public. As for the myopic arguments that donations amount to influencing the votes of others, and that influence should be public, consider the fact that if I convince 20 people to donate $2000, those 20 people's donations are recorded but my considerably larger political influence is still invisible. This is what's behind all those fundraisers and dinners that "rich people" host around election time.

Furthermore, protestors who attend rallies are allowed to be anonymous. Aren't protests specifically intended to influence politics? So again, why are protestors allows anonymity?
posted by Pastabagel at 11:23 AM on January 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Pastabagel, I am uncomfortable with this map because I suspect that the underlying motivation for it is to foster hatred of one's neighbor and to facilitate harassment. That doesn't mean that I don't support transparency in political donations, or that I think the site should be taken down. I know people who have received death threats because their name has shown up on these donor lists. They are not ashamed of their advocacy and donations. But they do not like the death threats. Furthermore, the threats and harassment simply ratify their belief that those with opposing viewpoints are evil.

Blazecock Pileon, I don't know who you're arguing with, but it's not me.

You say: "Given how many times you keep repeating your ridiculous hypotheticals, I suspect that most rational people would come away from your comments thinking that you are not quite right in the head, with all due respect."

What are you talking about?

You seem like a decent enough person. I hope you come back in a while, maybe after you have taken the chance to get to know someone who has actually been discriminated against, so that you can rethink what bigotry really means.

Again, I don't know who you're talking to here, but it's not me. I hope that you and I can get to know each other at some point so that you can understand that, and I can understand you better.

Because, right now, with ridiculous comments like the one above, you're simply demonstrating that you just don't have a clue.

You offer a list:

• being hurt, maimed or killed for being gay
• being denied a job for being gay
• being discriminated in the workplace (denied benefits, promotion or raises) for being gay
• being denied visitation rights for one's same-sex partner
• having to deal with hostile neighbors, police officers, etc. for being gay


I know many people on both sides of the Prop 8 issue. I know people who have been discriminated against for various reasons. One day, if we meet in person, I can tell you all about my experiences, and you can tell me about yours.

I also know people who have been threatened with death and severely harassed because they donated in support of Prop 8. I see in this thread and elsewhere advocacy of boycotting businesses to pressure them to fire employees who donated in support of Prop 8. I see advocacy on Metafilter and elsewhere of the idea that religious freedoms should be dramatically curtailed because certain well-established beliefs are "wrong."

I realize that this does not rise to the magnitude or pervasiveness of the wrongs that have been visited upon gay people. But I would suggest, respectfully, that settling the score should not be anyone's goal, and that your comment, as well as this map mashup, seem to suggest that it is someone's goal.

Your quarrel with my "bigotry" comment above appears to be that you do not believe that bigotry is actually bigotry if the bigot happens to be right, or if the magnitude of his bigotry does not meet that of his adversary. Am I understanding you?
posted by The World Famous at 11:44 AM on January 13, 2009


If I donate money to a cause, you can put my name on a map.
posted by maxwelton at 11:53 AM on January 13, 2009


The people who support or condone this map only want to discuss the morality or ethics of it in relates to the Prop 8 issue only

This is absolutely not true for me.

The information already exists; that it has not yet, to my knowledge, been used to create a map of anti-prop 8 contributors, or pro- or anti- other props, is not my responsibility or my problem, and it's a matter simply of time and interest before someone does so.

Laws disclosing who makes political donations to whom do far more to prevent corruption than they do to promote retaliation.

And what will happen then? Many who support this kind of site will condemn it when it turns against them.

You simply cannot do that.


I haven't seen anyone here say anything like that. I certainly will not condemn it if/when The Other Side puts its own map together.
posted by rtha at 12:03 PM on January 13, 2009


I see in this thread and elsewhere advocacy of boycotting businesses to pressure them to fire employees who donated in support of Prop 8.

What? Where? Do you mean the CEO of Cinemark? The public face of a large, public corporation? I doubt anyone here would be in favor of picketing a company whose admin assistant had donated, but the CEO? The guy who makes company policy? I'm all good with that.

A bigot is a person who is intolerant of opinions, lifestyles or identities differing from his or her own, and bigotry is the corresponding attitude or mindset.

My quarrel with your definition is that it's so broad as to be meaningless. I'm a bigot because I don't like people who voted to take away my rights? And this is exactly the same as the people who voted to take away my rights not liking my "lifestyle", or believing I'm perverted? Martin Luther King, Jr. was a bigot, just like George Wallace?
posted by rtha at 12:19 PM on January 13, 2009


My quarrel with your definition is that it's so broad as to be meaningless.

It is broad. It is not meaningless. It has a meaning you don't like. But it is not meaningless.

I just lifted it from Wikipedia which, I concede, is not the most authoritative source. If you can find a recognized meaning of the term that you like better, that's fine.
posted by The World Famous at 1:22 PM on January 13, 2009


bigot
One entry found.


Main Entry:
big·ot Listen to the pronunciation of bigot
Pronunciation:
\ˈbi-gət\
Function:
noun
Etymology:
French, hypocrite, bigot
Date:
1660

: a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices ; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance

---

My devotion to my opinions on this matter are not obstinate; if someone stops trying to take away my rights, I've got no quarrel with them.

It is not meaningless. It has a meaning you don't like. But it is not meaningless.

It's so broad that according to it, every person is a bigot, because every person is intolerant of someone's opinion, lifestyle, or identity. So, meaningless in the sense that it places moral, ethical, and/or legal equivalency on the dislikes - rational or not - that every human being holds against some other human being.

I'm interested in how you think about your definition of bigot wrt my example of MLK Jr. and George Wallace. Both bigots? In exactly the same way?
posted by rtha at 1:46 PM on January 13, 2009


First, rtha, I did not accuse you of being a bigot, did I?

Second, let's examine your own sentence:

"I'm a bigot because I don't like people who voted to take away my rights?"


By the definition you set forth, you are if your dislike rises to the level of hatred and intolerance and if it is based on their membership in a group, such as a religion. Alternatively, you would be under your definition if, regardless of whether you hate anyone, you are obstinately or intolerantly devoted to your own opinions and prejudices. I am not accusing you of any of those things. I have no idea whether the definition that you set forth applies to you or not.

Third: In response to this: "I'm interested in how you think about your definition of bigot wrt my example of MLK Jr. and George Wallace. Both bigots? In exactly the same way?"

a. It's not "my" definition. It's the definition I lifted from Wikipedia.
b. As an academic exercise (because you asked), I would answer your test question by distinguishing between Dr. King and Mr. Wallace based on the "intolerance" prong of the Wikipedia definition. I am no MLK scholar, but it is my understanding that at least the mythical historic figure of MLK is not considered to have been intolerant. If MLK was, in fact, intolerantly devoted to his own opinions and prejudices, then yes, even under the definition that you set forth, he was a bigot.

The term is broad. It does not require that everyone to whom it applies be exactly the same. Just because I can accurately refer to myself as a "musician" does not mean that I am exactly the same as Mozart. The term "musician" has not now lost all meaning.

But look! We're on the internet arguing about the definition of a term that I did not apply to you! We're a living cliche, lived out by two people who, in a real-life setting would be totally civil with one another! Yay us!
posted by The World Famous at 2:04 PM on January 13, 2009


The people who support or condone this map only want to discuss the morality or ethics of it in relates to the Prop 8 issue only, hence all the comments that "they should stand up for what they believe in".

I support this map. I don't support this map because of prop 8. I would support this map if it was a listing of people who supported causes I believe in. I would support this map if it was a call to boycott businesses who supported causes I believe in. (Of course if that were that case I might use such a map as a way to support people who are being boycott.)

I support this map because, with the current laws saying that money is speech it is vitally important that all money spent on political causes is as public as possible. As it is money plays too much of a role in our government, but at least sunshine laws have helped some. Now as I don't see the courts deciding that money isn't speech any time soon (nor am I sure I'd like to see what would happen if they did.) Once the data is public it will be used for things like this map. For decades now political campaigns have used public data like this. Why be afraid of giving everyone access to the same kind of data visualization?
posted by aspo at 2:13 PM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Have to say I find this unacceptable.
While I opposed Prop 8 I don't think those who gave money should be outed [so to speak]. The bottom line was the 'No on 8' people should have run a better campaign, raised more funds and got the word out more forcefully and intelligently.
Maybe some are being more constructive but this is a bit of nonsense, which if anything will not be good PR for them.
posted by Rashomon at 2:15 PM on January 13, 2009


All of you are right, this is about hate fear suspicion bigotry intolerance. The reason is because the argument either for or against Prop 8 was always a religious issue.

As long as it is it will retain all the qualities that make religion a scourge on society.

Control the language control the argument.
posted by pianomover at 2:58 PM on January 13, 2009


A bigot is a person who is intolerant of opinions, lifestyles or identities differing from his or her own, and bigotry is the corresponding attitude or mindset.

You didn't accuse me of being a bigot. The definition you used does. I am intolerant of opinions that count me as less of a person because I'm queer, or because I'm female, or because (bonus!) I'm not white. I'm intolerant of those who lead lifestyles (whatever those are) devoted to depriving me of all the rights and responsibilities I ought to enjoy as a citizen. I dunno about "identities" - I don't really grok what that means in this context. I guess, if someone identifies as a Christian - am I intolerant of them? No. That's not an automatic strike at all. Some of the raddest people I know are Christians.

I'm pretty sure that Martin Luther King, Jr., was intolerant of racist laws, and possibly those who enacted and enforced them. That was what he was fighting against, after all.

It seems to me that your argument is that bigotry is wrong - that all bigotry is always wrong. That it behooves us all to never be bigoted against someone, no matter how harmful their actions might be. I think this is absurd. If this is not your argument, then please explain what you mean.

I can look at that map of prop 8 contributors and think "You all suck." I can do that without enacting legislation to restrict their rights, or firebombing their houses. I can even do it while sitting in a diner down the counter from one, and yet politely pass the salt and pepper.

There is bigotry and intolerance on both sides of the Prop 8 issue.

And yet, only one side voted to take rights away from people. Huh.

Publishing a mashup map showing the locations of people who hold opinions of which the publisher and his/her readers are intolerant is bigotry pure and simple.


It's a presentation of already existing information in a different format. Could this map be considered bigotry? What about this one? Granted, neither of those shows individual pins on a map, but both show the relative size of two populations of folks that a lot of people really don't like. In the "wrong" hands, these maps could certainly be used to demonstrate that....Jews are taking over? Africa is a hellhole of HIV-infected yucky people?

The mashup here is information. It is exactly the same information available here, but easier to parse in some ways.
posted by rtha at 3:00 PM on January 13, 2009


I can look at that map of prop 8 contributors and think "You all suck." I can do that without enacting legislation to restrict their rights, or firebombing their houses. I can even do it while sitting in a diner down the counter from one, and yet politely pass the salt and pepper.

This is, in my opinion, a good thing.

And yet, only one side voted to take rights away from people. Huh.

That is the rhetoric used by the No on 8 folks, yes. I'm not sure it's fair or accurate, but that's for another discussions. It is certainly loaded rhetoric.

Could this map be considered bigotry? What about this one?


Intent is, I think, the determining factor. But then we're back to definitions.

The mashup here is information. It is exactly the same information available here, but easier to parse in some ways.

I am suspicious of the intent. That's all.
posted by The World Famous at 3:07 PM on January 13, 2009


Let me clarify something, lest my previous comment ignite a debate. I do not contest that Prop 8 took away rights that, at the time of its passage, had been granted in the State of California.
posted by The World Famous at 3:12 PM on January 13, 2009


The World Famous writes "That is the rhetoric used by the No on 8 folks, yes. I'm not sure it's fair or accurate, but that's for another discussions. It is certainly loaded rhetoric."

That's not rhetoric, that's the actual, explicit verbage from the ballot measure: "Eliminates Rights of Same-Sex Couples to Marry."

Period. So it's not inaccurate to say that Prop 8 was mob rule enacting bigoted legislation. We wouldn't be splitting hairs if Prop 8 had been an elimination of the right of blacks to own land or some other equivalent injustice.

If we're all agreeing with the dictionary definition of bigotry listed above, it's saying that bigotry is something directed at a racial or ethnic group. Given that Prop 8 passed with the help of a large cross section of the population, it's inaccurate to say that being critical or resentful of all these people makes you bigoted since you're not going after a particular race or ethnic group. OTOH, if you suddenly decide to hate all mormons because of Prop 8, you're a bigot.
posted by mullingitover at 3:45 PM on January 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


That is the rhetoric

What mullingitover said.

Last spring, the state Supreme Court announced that, based on its interpretation of the state constitution, gay marriage was legal in California.

In November of last year, enough people voted to amend the constitution so that this right was taken away.

If Prop 8 was not about taking away a right, then what was it?
posted by rtha at 3:49 PM on January 13, 2009


That's not rhetoric, that's the actual, explicit verbage from the ballot measure: "Eliminates Rights of Same-Sex Couples to Marry."

It is my understanding that that is not part of the statutory language. As I stated above, however, I do not contest that Prop 8 took away rights that, at the time of its passage, ahd been granted in the State of California.

So it's not inaccurate to say that Prop 8 was mob rule enacting bigoted legislation.

I think the "mob rule" part is inaccurate. It is probably hyperbole, though, which is sort of exempt from accuracy requirements, I think. I understand your point, and I do not disagree with it.

If we're all agreeing with the dictionary definition of bigotry listed above, it's saying that bigotry is something directed at a racial or ethnic group.


As I read it, the definition above merely gives those two as examples, and not as an exhaustive list.

Given that Prop 8 passed with the help of a large cross section of the population, it's inaccurate to say that being critical or resentful of all these people makes you bigoted since you're not going after a particular race or ethnic group.


I agree.

OTOH, if you suddenly decide to hate all mormons because of Prop 8, you're a bigot.

Exactly.
posted by The World Famous at 3:52 PM on January 13, 2009


rtha, please see my post above. Here.
posted by The World Famous at 3:57 PM on January 13, 2009


I'm okay with this too. I think the deciding factor here is reciprocity. If you vote, that's your right, and you're exercising your right in proportion to your stature. However, if you're using money to influence a cause and change other people's minds, then you've just moved into the public sphere whether you like it or not. If you donate your time to a cause, your involvement will become known to at least a few people, and money has roughly the same effect. For any social movement to succeed in a democracy, it needs to have a public face. People need to come out and say they support it or don't. You have one vote, and it's your right to do with that as you like, as it is with your resources, but I think that if you're going to try to use your resources to further that cause beyond your vote, you need to understand that your actions effect the choices of others, and that effect needs to be one that you consider as well.

But I don't like, at all, when government uses this information to judge the legality of your politics. I have no clue what kind of protections are needed there, but we'd best start organizing and asking for them.
posted by saysthis at 3:58 PM on January 13, 2009


The World Famous writes "As I stated above, however, I do not contest that Prop 8 took away rights that, at the time of its passage, ahd been granted in the State of California."

I saw your next post a split second after I hit submit, sorry to belabor the point.

The World Famous writes "I think the 'mob rule' part is inaccurate. It is probably hyperbole, though, which is sort of exempt from accuracy requirements, I think. I understand your point, and I do not disagree with it."

Thanks, I wasn't trying to lead the reader to believe there was literally a giant mob taking over the legislature and writing laws. But the idea that the state constitution can be modified to take away minority rights with a simple majority is breathtakingly scary. If that's all it takes to take rights away from a minority, we all have reason to be very, very afraid.

I'm really curious to see how this will play with the state supreme court. It seems that prop 8 did two things: first, it eliminated equal protection under the law. For everyone. Next, it eliminated a right for a minority group. Don't these things have to be done separately?
posted by mullingitover at 4:15 PM on January 13, 2009


TWF, I saw your above post.

Here's the statute as it stands in the state constitution:

CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION
ARTICLE 1 DECLARATION OF RIGHTS

SEC. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or
recognized in California.


Given that, prior to its inclusion in the constitution, it was legal for gays to marry in California, I fail to see how my And yet, only one side voted to take rights away from people. Huh. brings you to That is the rhetoric used by the No on 8 folks, yes. I'm not sure it's fair or accurate, but that's for another discussions. It is certainly loaded rhetoric.

It is both fair and accurate. I understand that you know that Prop 8 removed a right from a portion of the population, so I'm not getting how you think my description of people who "voted to take rights away" is unfair, inaccurate, or loaded.
posted by rtha at 4:19 PM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


I fail to see how my And yet, only one side voted to take rights away from people. Huh. brings you to That is the rhetoric used by the No on 8 folks, yes. I'm not sure it's fair or accurate, but that's for another discussions. It is certainly loaded rhetoric.

It's the "only one side" part that I think is loaded rhetoric, given the likely legal effects in the long term of a standing holding that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. I really don't want to get into an argument about those effects or their likelihood, though. It is a complex issue, and I do not think it can be boiled down to simple soundbites. I agree that Prop 8 took rights away from people.
posted by The World Famous at 4:29 PM on January 13, 2009


The funny thing is, marriage itself isn't a constitutional right (I checked). I'd prefer to see the government abandon the distribution of religious sacrament licenses for everyone, and instead replace them with civil contracts which confer rights and responsibilities. That's the rational conclusion, if we're not just joking around with our so-called separation of church and state.

It seems absurd that churches would be fighting to keep government involved in their business anyway. A church will tell you you're committing adultery if you're not married; however, not many churches will care if you got married by a judge or by a priest/bishop/your buddy with a ULC pastor cert (like me!); it's generally accepted that the government and not any divine source is the authority on marriage. Smacks of idolatry, no?
posted by mullingitover at 4:38 PM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


it's generally accepted that the government and not any divine source is the authority on marriage.

Yes. On a theological level, I think this seems problematic.
posted by The World Famous at 4:45 PM on January 13, 2009


The World Famous: It's called separation of church and state and it's one of the fundamental tenets of the US government.
posted by aspo at 4:51 PM on January 13, 2009


Given the theological basis for the action on Prop 8, it seems a lot like a case of trying to remove a speck from your friend's eye while you still have a 2x4 stuck in your own. And what do you know, when you solve the problem of state involvement in religious sacraments, the 2x4 goes away! Funny, that.
posted by mullingitover at 4:52 PM on January 13, 2009


The World Famous: It's called separation of church and state and it's one of the fundamental tenets of the US government.

Yes. That's why I said "on a theological level." Allowing, as a matter of doctrine, the government to have the final say on whether a given action is moral or immoral, is something I am not entirely comfortable with. Now, if the religious tenet is that adherents should, as a moral principle, be law-abiding, then that's one thing. But when a religion (as many do) says that sex is ok in the eyes of God as long as the Government says the couple is married, then there is a foreseeable train wreck down the line when the government decides to declare people "married" who, by the religion's definition, cannot "morally" have sexual relations.

The U.S. Constitution says nothing about whether a religion can invest the government with declaratory moral authority in this way. The establishment clause is about what the government cannot do, not what religions cannot do. If a religion wants to define sexual morality as dependent on government approval, the religion is free to do so. But problems are likely to arise.
posted by The World Famous at 5:19 PM on January 13, 2009


I think the problem is assuming that the government should be making laws based on what is moral. I don't (for instance) think that someone who cheats at a board game is being moral. I also don't think we need to pass a law against the banker in a game of monopoly shortchanging the other players.

Civil marriage is not about morality; civil marriage is about rights.
posted by aspo at 5:36 PM on January 13, 2009


The World Famous writes "But when a religion (as many do) says that sex is ok in the eyes of God as long as the Government says the couple is married, then there is a foreseeable train wreck down the line when the government decides to declare people 'married' who, by the religion's definition, cannot 'morally' have sexual relations."

Funny thing is, the train wreck is already here for much of the civilized world. It doesn't seem to be much of a train wreck, not surprising since nobody is making laws requiring that churches do anything at odds with their theology. The resistance is generally coming from those who insist that their theology be inscribed in law.
posted by mullingitover at 5:36 PM on January 13, 2009


I agree, mullingitover. I think, though, that some religions that signed on to support Prop 8 were motivated in part by concerns that, if same-sex marriage is instituted not by legislation but by judicial "constitutional" fiat, there will be far-reaching effects on the other activities of those churches and the rights of their members to exercise their religious freedoms in a variety of ways. Whether those fears are justified, either in terms of them being realistic or in terms of them being important enough not to simply disregard, is an entirely different and very complex debate.

It seems that there should be a middle ground between the law "hurting" same-sex couples who want to have the government call them "married" and the law "hurting" religions and religious people in far-reaching ways. If the claim that same-sex marriage in no way affects anyone's religious freedom were true, that would be a very good thing.
posted by The World Famous at 5:54 PM on January 13, 2009


aspo writes "I think the problem is assuming that the government should be making laws based on what is moral."

If we want the government to make 'good' laws, and not 'bad' ones, then we're implicitly asking it to make laws based on morality. It's the separation of dogma from morality that's the task at hand here; obviously same-sex couples don't find their punishment at the hands of the majority, based on dogma, to be a 'good' law. Dogma currently dictates that God, coincidentally much like his followers, finds homosexuality to by 'yucky' and he is ok with his followers murdering homosexuals in many communities (the dark areas on this map). In the developed countries he has toned it down a bit, and only sanctions discrimination against them.
posted by mullingitover at 5:54 PM on January 13, 2009


The World Famous writes "If the claim that same-sex marriage in no way affects anyone's religious freedom were true, that would be a very good thing."

Can you explain? I don't understand how it's possible that same-sex marriage is going to infringe on religious freedom.

Actually, strike that. I can imagine one type of scenario. It's anecdotal, but here it is: a male nurse works at a Seventh-day Adventist hospital. They refuse to provide benefits to his partner, because they're of the same gender and that's teh sin. So state-mandated recognition of his partnership (might?) mean they'd be prevented from discriminating against him, or else stop providing partner benefits for all their employees. Is this what you're getting at?

It certainly is hurting religious freedom right now; some Episcopalians have come to terms with homosexuality and have been performing same-sex marriages, but the state is declaring that they're not real marriages and are invalid.
posted by mullingitover at 6:38 PM on January 13, 2009


Is the Zion foundation which made $2450 in donations the same one which the IRS is investigating for having it's investment funds loaned back to the director's business interests?
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:13 PM on January 13, 2009


Well, both sides of the argument had/have something to fear. The folks who like all people to have the same rights were scared that that equality under the law might be taken from them (and they were obviously right to fear that, because that's what happened). The other side feared that if gays could be married civilly that this would somehow dilute non-gay marriages, or make their lives worse, or force them to marry gays, or something.

Okay then. All those gay couples that got married are still married. So, now is the time to assess the negative effect of those same-sex marriages on the marriages of religious folks and others opposed to same-sex civil marriages. Did they suffer unduly during the time the gays were happily getting married, as a consequence of those gays getting married? What form did this suffering take? I haven't really seen it myself.

I really need to see how those against gay marriage suffer when gays get married before I would ever vote to take that from them. I already know the hardships that gays experience when they are denied marriage (no joint filing for federal taxes, no automatic inheritance to a spouse, visitation rights, adoption hassles, etc). But I haven't seen anyone actually specify how those *against* gay marriage suffer when the gays get married.

Perhaps marriage itself should be abolished. If we can't have equality *with* marriage, we could still have it *without* marriage. Then nobody would get visitation rights, or be able to file jointly, and so on. I'd be okay with that because, for me, the ultimate goal is equality under the law. Churches could still hold ceremonies and call them marriages; it just wouldn't mean anything under the law. Then everyone would be equally UNhappy, instead of equally happy. Not ideal, but at least equality under the law would be present.

And no, I'm not gay. I don't have many gay friends either. I'm just a pro-equality kind of person. If it was blacks or some other segment of the population being oppressed, I'd be there for them too.
posted by jamstigator at 4:56 AM on January 14, 2009


Actually, strike that. I can imagine one type of scenario. It's anecdotal, but here it is: a male nurse works at a Seventh-day Adventist hospital. They refuse to provide benefits to his partner, because they're of the same gender and that's teh sin. So state-mandated recognition of his partnership (might?) mean they'd be prevented from discriminating against him, or else stop providing partner benefits for all their employees.

Catholic Charities here in San Francisco managed this quite neatly. The law says that agencies/companies doing business with the city can't discriminate based on sexual orientation, and have to offer domestic partner benefits. Catholic Charities, which does a ton of (good) work here with PWAs (among others), complied with the law by offering their employees the opportunity to name one person - a same-sex partner, a roommate, their mom, etc. - as their "domestic partner", who would then be eligible for insurance etc. Which is really the way things should be anyway.

So, Catholic Charities complied with the law, and did so without violating Church doctrine.
posted by rtha at 6:07 AM on January 14, 2009


I really need to see how those against gay marriage suffer when gays get married before I would ever vote to take that from them.


Strangely, I do not see Orthodox Jews lobbying to prohibit goyim from working on Saturdays, eating pork, or wearing revealing bathing suits at beaches. These activities violate halakha, the divine law of their Torah. But these are their established rules and practices. They do not impose them on others, nor proselytize that non-Jews adopt their ways.

According to Mormon teachings, during a fight between God and Lucifer, God turned rebellious angels' skins black. Therefore, Mormon elders taught, blacks were descendants from the line of Cain, and inferior to whites:

"There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantages... The Negro, evidently, is receiving the reward he merits" (Joseph Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:61, 65-66)

"[T]he negro are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concern. . . . " (Mormon Doctrine, 527-28; 1966 orig. ed., changed in the current ed.).

Does this give Mormons carte blanche to restrict African Americans' rights?
posted by terranova at 6:10 AM on January 14, 2009


While this year's Gay Ski Week Aspen is going strong this week the annual Utah Gay & Lesbian Ski Week was cancelled due to Prop. 8.
posted by ericb at 12:26 PM on January 14, 2009


Coalition of Labor Unions Files Brief to Overturn Proposition 8
"More than 50 labor unions totaling over two million members, including the Service Employees International Union State Council, the California Federation of Teachers, the California Nurses Association, the California Faculty Association, UNITE HERE! and the Screen Actors Guild, filed an amicus brief Tuesday with the California Supreme Court in support of overturning Proposition 8."
posted by ericb at 12:31 PM on January 14, 2009


NYT:
[Proposition 8] supporters have filed suit in Federal District Court in Sacramento seeking a preliminary injunction of a state election law that requires donors of $100 or more to disclose their names, addresses, occupations and other personal information. In particular, the suit seeks to stop the final filing for the 2008 election, which is due Jan. 31. That filing includes donations made in the closing days of the campaign, when the proposition surged to victory.
posted by grouse at 8:43 PM on January 18, 2009


Prop. 8 campaign can't hide donors' names
But U.S. District Judge Morrison England, after a one-hour hearing in Sacramento, said California's $100 reporting requirement - adopted by the voters in 1974 - is a valid means of informing the public about the financing of ballot measure campaigns.

"If there ever needs to be sunshine on a particular issue, it's a ballot measure," England said, observing that initiatives are often sponsored by committees with misleading names.
posted by rtha at 5:00 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


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