The Public Caucus
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The Public Caucus
A gathering of articles on public relations in the US Government & a look at the interactions of American's and their political leaders. DISCLAIMER: I will be referencing my textbook, "Adventures in Public Relations Case Studies and Critical Thinking" by David Guth and Charles Marsh, in a few posts for a class assignment.
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Alleged rape victim claims Metro East police department verbally abused her

Alleged rape victim claims Metro East police department verbally abused her | The Public Caucus | Scoop.it
An alleged rape victim claims police verbally abused her after she was attacked, but a top Alton police official said officers acted appropriately.
Dawn Embry's insight:

“An alleged rape victim claims police verbally abused her after she was attacked, but a top Alton police official said officers acted appropriately.” This has been all over local TV, newspapers and on social media sights. There is even a petition on change.org requesting for people to sign in order to get the Alton Police Department to change their act.

 

A rape victim was found beaten and wandering the streets of Alton. The police are accused of handcuffing her, taking her to jail, and telling her that she deserved what she got. They are also accused of not getting her medical attention. This was not a story until it caught fire online. Facts were falsified, facts were omitted, and the family started the bashing campaign against the Alton Police Department. It is biased and revenge fueled. The police issued a statement saying that they took her to the emergency room where she refused treatment, they did not ticket her for indecent exposure, and she was restrained for her own safety while the police department went to get her mother. See two different stories, yet it has made television.

 

Chapter 14 on cyber-relations hits the nail on the head. On page 323 it states, “ The Internet has become an arena for the struggle between activists seeking to correct perceived wrongs and corporations feeling unfairly targeted.” The chapter deals with the idea that the internet has given powerless groups the power to have their voices heard, the power to demand attention, and they will get it. “…the power dynamic shifts making the activists and their concerns more salient to an organization.”

 

This woman’s family is participating in what is known as cybersmearing. This is where a the Internet is used to unfairly attack the integrity of an organization and/or its products and services. The family used a tactic known as a gripe site, or in this case change.org. This website is used frequently as a gripe site. A gripe site is a web site that focuses on grievances-real or imagined-against an organization.

 

Please do not get me wrong. I feel for this woman and her family. What happened to her was horrible, and if after an investigation, any of their claims are proven, then they should be compensated and apologized to. I just have a hard time believing something without proof. So far, neither the police department or the family have provided any amount of proof to their claims. I honestly feel like the attack the family is taking on the police department is deterring from the biggest problem—that this woman’s rapists are still out there. The news if filled with the fighting between the police department and the family while this woman is fighting to survive. She has bleeding on her brain for crying out loud. In everything I have seen, including this article, the fact that those responsible for the attack and rape are still at large and an investigation is ongoing.

 

This is a very sensitive situation and it’s going to take a lot of skill to navigate all the stones that must the maneuvered. This must be approached carefully, and respectfully from all sides. Something like this can blow up in an instant and then it’s going to take forever to recover. This has reached a crisis communication level on both sides. The family needs a representative that is removed from the family, one that can bring in an unbiased voice, to help reign in emotions and actions.

 

The police department needs to become active and transparent. They need to begin releasing information as soon as possible. With an ongoing investigation that is not going to be much, but being up front and honest about the investigation and the reasons as to why they can’t disclose anything would be extremely helpful. The Alton Police Department will recover from this if they implement a crisis communication plan, address the online campaign against them, and remain transparent.

 

I wish the woman and her family the best of luck. My prayers are with you all. Stay strong. 

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Alderwoman seeks dog ban for 2 city parks -

ALTON — Dog owners and their pit bull terriers congregating on sidewalks around Hellrung Park led an alderwoman to seek a ban on dogs with...
Dawn Embry's insight:

 

“I went past Hellrung Park and there were about 10 dogs on leashes on the sidewalks,” said Alice Martin, 4th Ward alderwoman. “They were not in the park — but there were little kids in the park — and all the dogs were pit bulls. That bothered me with kids in the park.”

Really? In my opinion this is stereotyping, and it’s not good. Pit Bulls have a bad reputation, but so do politicians, police officers and Catholic priests! That does not mean that they all are bad. I can see that a large amount of the breed can cause fear in the public. But that fear is generated by the stereotype.

 

The resolution is written to state: “there is a problem with persons walking aggressive dogs,” which, “have tended to intimidate persons attempting to enjoy the city parks, particularly children,” and, “the dogs are found to present a potential danger to persons attempting to enjoy the parks, in that they could escape the control of their owners.”

This is a bit overly dramatic to me. There have been no reports of violence from a dog at these parks. There have been no reports of injuries from a dog at these parks. There have been no reports of someone feeling threatened by a dog at these parks.

 

There has been a lot of online outrage from many in Alton and it’s surrounding communities. They fear that something like this will change everything because it only takes one passed ordinance before things start going down hill for dog owners. Many don’t believe that the city will stop at banning dogs from parks.

 

It is mentioned in the article that Alton has fencing up for a dog park, but that it is not completed. The first thing the city should do before implementing a ban is to try a more passive approach, such as finishing and opening the dog park. A compromise needs to be reached. If dog owners and their pets cannot frequent a regular park, somewhere needs to be available for them to have the same opportunities as a regular park.

 

As mentioned in our book, on page 141, “The need to successfully engage different stakeholders within a community should be obvious. As stated in Chapter 2, no individual or organization is entirely self-sufficient. Each party relies on the goodwill and/or resources of others.” Right now Alderwoman Martin is alienating an entire group of people, and, for lack of a better work, pissing them off.

 

She is going to have a hard time coming back from this. Pet owners are a large population. In politics especially you need to constantly be aware of the various publics that you may or may not be interacting with either directly or indirectly.

 

Page 142 states, “The give-and-take between organizations and community stakeholders is an application of social exchange theory. Its premise is that people seek to minimize costs and maximize rewards within their relationships. There is an expectation of reciprocity; You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours. And if that expectation is not met, the danger exists that one party may end the relationship in favor of another seen as more satisfying.”

 

Basically, the stakeholders in question are dog owners, which can then be divided into “other dog owners” and “Pit Bull owners”. These stakeholders are being attacked. The Alderwoman depends on the votes of pet owners. Her statements and her actions can have a tremendous impact on her constituents. She could lose their backing and support because of this situation. She is not helping them she is threatening them. They will not do anything for her.

 

When you are in the public eye, especially when you hold a public office, you have to take into consideration the community. You are representing them. You are supposed to help them and make sure that the government does not impose on their rights; you are their voice, their champion. When you threaten that their trust in you diminishes. They begin to see you in a different light. There are many ways that this situation could be handled, and for the better. The fact that Alderwoman Martin went straight to the city board with an ordinance proposal banning dogs from parks was a bad idea. Baby steps. This should have been a last resort.

 

Make the dog park. Make it inviting, pet and owner friendly, easily accessible, and fun. Put effort into advertising and spreading the work. If this failed, and dogs at regular parks, around children, taking over, then an ordinance could be introduced with less of a social backlash. You just can’t jump to an extreme and expect no consequences, things don’t work like that.

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Boehner invites Pope to address Congress

Boehner invites Pope to address Congress | The Public Caucus | Scoop.it
(CNN) -- House Speaker John Boehner marked Pope Francis’ first anniversary Thursday by extending an open invitation to him to address a joint meeting of Congress.

Boehner, who is Catholic, noted in a statement that the Argentinian was the first Pope "to hail from the Americas.
Dawn Embry's insight:

I was one of the millions who sat anxiously in front of their television screen last year awaiting the smoke from the Vatican that would announce the new Pope. My oldest daughter, 6 at the time, sat with me. Once the smoke appeared I got goose bumps, and I got emotional. When they announced the identity of the new Pope, a man of many firsts (the first Jesuit Pope, the first Pope from the Americas, the first Pope from the Southern Hemisphere and the first non-European Pope since Pope Gregory III in 741) I got emotional. 


I am not Catholic, and I do not regularly follow what happens in the Vatican. I do not know the inner workings of things in the Vatican, and I do not know the history behind it. Yet I sat there enthralled and moved during this time honored tradition. Many who are in the same place as me sat there in the same fashion. It was historical. When something historical happens, whether you agree, disagree or don't care, you pay attention. You share it with your children.


I came across an article today about Pope Francis being invited to speak to a joint meeting of Congress. My first reaction was "why". The United States is a diverse land with many religions, many beliefs, and why would only one fraction of that be singled out? Then I remembered my experience. Then I remembered why I watched, why I participated in his choosing. It is common for people, great and small, to want to be a part of something bigger, something grander. He is a first of many things, and the one thing that the United States is focused on is he is the first Pope from the Americas. It doesn't matter that he is not from North America, the fact that he is associated with the America's at all is great. 

 

Boehner, I believe, invited the Pope to address Congress for multiple reasons, but I am only going to focus on the reason that hits close to home. Chapter 7 in our text deals with community relations. WIthin the United States, Catholic is one of the top three dominant religions. Congress has an all time low approval rating of just 9%. Yes, I understand that this invitation has motivations at home and abroad, but I am only going to address the idea that Congress is making this effort in order to boost community relations at home in an effort to raise approval ratings with American citizens.

 

The Washington D.C. area is predominately Catholic, in fact the entire state is predominately Catholic. In an effort to boost approval in its personal demographic, Congress has extended an invitation to the Pope to come and speak. This will excite most of the population in its demographic community. A demographic community is a community in which folks share common non attitudinal attributes such as the same ethnic heritage, religious background, etc.

 

As stated on page 139, "Identifying, building, and maintaining strategic relationships with this vast array of communities are among the greatest critical thinking challenges facing public relations practitioners in the 21st century." This is something that every business, organization, political party, etc. must do to ensure that they have good community relations. 

 

Public Officials must answer to voter/taxpayers representing a wide range of constituencies and having a focus outside of the immediate geographical area can wield influence over these relationships. Public opinion is shaped not only by one party's take on a situation but also by what it believes. Religion plays a huge role in the beliefs of people. This is extremely important in community relations. 

 

Hopefully the Pope accepts Boehner & Congress's invitation to come and speak. If it doesn't improve the approval rating of Congress, at least it may start rebuilding some sort of trust or good reputation for the federal government at home. God knows we need it!

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Proposed Bill Would Allow KS Teachers to Spank Kids Harder

Proposed Bill Would Allow KS Teachers to Spank Kids Harder | The Public Caucus | Scoop.it
You may be surprised to learn that in Kansas, and about 20 other states, teachers and caregivers are allowed to spank children as long as they don't leave a mark. But under a new proposal, that limitation would be lifted, allowing spanking hard enough to leave redness or a bruise.
Dawn Embry's insight:

I never knew that there were states that allowed teachers and caregivers to spank children as long as they didn't leave a mark. That was kind of shocking to me but as I thought about it I realized it shouldn't have. We hear stories all the time from those who are older and wiser of us of teachers using paddles and nuns using rulers. There is a huge difference in how children were and how children are now in the context of behavior and respect. It is intriguing as to how successful this current law has been and why they feel the need to upgrade the punishment. Are they trying to increase the level of the punishment because the current outlines are not harsh enough and are not getting the desired results? Is the bill simply to give adults more power? Is there any statistical fact behind the proposal of this bill? 

 

Being a mother and having two young children, I do employ spanking in my home, only when necessary. I use restraint and do not leave bruises or marks of any kind. The act of being spanked is more influential than the force of the spanking on my children. I understand not all children are the same, which is why this new proposed bill is scary. Some children may require a harsher punishment, but what about those who don't? Will there be any safeguards in place? I also noticed that it says "with parental permission". Does that mean that if I say no, you can't spank my child, that they are not allowed to and that my child would not be covered under that law? 

 

People are clearly divided on this issue. Half believe that the children today have it too easy and that they need more discipline. They are all for this new bill, and some wish that their state would implement something like this. The other half have the attitude of "you better not lay a finger on my child". You have to ask yourself, were any of these parents subjected to spanking or some other form of physical punishment in school. They are concerned about their children's safety and the idea that if the government can do this with children who is to say they won't be able to implement something bigger and worse on adults. 

 

There is a section in our textbook that talks about public opinion. It breaks public opinion into three sections. The first is “latent public opinion” which happens when people have an opinion in the topic or situation but do not know how others view it. For example, I know what I think and feel about the situation, but I do not know how people from that state think and feel about it. They have had laws like this for a while now so it is familiar. You have to ask yourself, is the media attention that this issue is gaining going to be negative on the people in the state? The majority is obviously ok with spanking in schools because it does happen. The new law would increase the force used. There are some out there who may view the parents of the state negatively and say that they are bad parents for allowing this to happen.

 

With the emergence of the media coverage most of the American public have moved into the second section of public opinion, “aware public opinion”. This means that people are growing aware of an emerging issue. As more coverage is gained, more people will begin to pay attention, especially those in states that have spanking laws already. They have an invested interest in what is happening because if the law passes the same can occur in their state.

 

The final section is “active public opinion” and that is where the media coverage is going to take it. This has appeared on the news, on multiple channels, in the St. Louis Metro Area where I am from, and in papers across the country. Eventually people are going to try and influence the opinions and acts of others. This happens with interest groups, lobbyists, etc.

 

This is going to be very interesting to watch from the public relations perspective. There are so many different views, how the national and state government handles it will definitely be watched closely.

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Poll: Support for Obamacare hits new low

Poll: Support for Obamacare hits new low | The Public Caucus | Scoop.it
The CNN poll shows 62 percent now oppose the law.
Dawn Embry's insight:

"A new poll shows support for Obamacare has dropped to an all-time low of 35 percent, with a new record 62 percent opposed." Is this really a surprise? American's have been up in arms over Obamacare for months now. I personally think that it is no better than the system that was in place before. My father has been very ill for years. When he had to finally stop working he lost all his health insurance. He did not and still does not qualify for Medicaid. He has no income.


Now Obamacare is going to require him to pay for insurance. He couldn't afford it before and he sure as hell can't afford it now. I have many friends who are worse off for Obamacare. One friend in particular suffers from a thyroid condition that was covered under her previous health insurance plan and it was affordable. Now, under her new policy through the marketplace, because she was not allowed to keep her old insurance, they no longer cover anything for her thyroid condition. No doctors appointments, no treatments, nothing. 


There are people on every side of this issue, this law. But in the United States, regardless of your position, if a majority of those you are supposed to serve disagree with you, you should concede defeat. Be the bigger man and say ok, this didn't work, and listen to the people. You have half of the right answer! It works for some. Take it back off the plate and take another stab at it. Make it work for EVERYONE. 

 

Obama and his supporters have tried so hard to help the image and perception of Obama, his administration, and Obamacare, but it is not work. They are trying to salvage something that is just causing more issues. This brings to mind the situational crisis communication theory. This theory suggests that crisis managers should match strategic crisis responses to the level of crisis responsibility and reputational threat posed by a crisis. Obviously Obama does not feel very threatened by the present situation and is only implementing minimal efforts to save face. Lets hope our government wakes up and begins to listen to its public before its too late.

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Democrats Assail G.O.P. After Filibuster of Proposal to Raise Minimum Wage

Democrats Assail G.O.P. After Filibuster of Proposal to Raise Minimum Wage | The Public Caucus | Scoop.it
Democrats moved swiftly to frame the vote as an example of the gulf that exists between the two parties, saying the question is not just one of money, but of morality.
Dawn Embry's insight:

"With the Republican-led filibuster of a Senate proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 on Wednesday, Democrats moved swiftly to frame the vote as an example of the gulf that exists between the two parties on matters of economic fairness and upward mobility."

 

Sigh. It is sad that our Congress is so divided. It is no surprise that Congress has an approval rating of a whopping 8%. Yes, you read that right, EIGHT PERCENT. Americans have been waiting anxiously to see what was going to happen and now they know. As stated in the article Americans believe that the minimum wage should increase. “Polling shows that Americans overwhelmingly agree that the minimum wage should go up; 62 percent favor an increase to $10.10, a New York Times/CBS News poll found in February.”

 

Increasing the minimum wage is not a new idea. The cost of living has increased drastically and minimum wage needs to reflect that. Even the president made a statement telling Americans to push Republicans at the polls in November. Of course this is a house divided. Democrats are for a raise in minimum wage and Republicans are against it. Member relations within Congress are almost non-existent.

 

On page 58 of our textbook, member relations are defined as “the part of public relations that builds relationships among leaders and members of an organization.” Granted, Congress is more than an organization, but for the sake of my argument we are going to view it this way. “The key to good member communication is maintaining a constant flow of accurate and relevant information. The size and complexity of an organization can complicate this flow; however.” (pg. 61)

 

Congress needs to get on the same page. Once they are on the same page they need to listen to the American people. Right now they are at odds. “Let’s talk about the 800-pound gorilla here in the Senate chamber,” Mr. Cornyn said. “This is all about politics. This is all about trying to make this side of the aisle look bad and hardhearted.” Republicans and Democrats are more worried about what each other are doing and what they can do to look better than the other. The American people are not being heard or considered.

 

Harry Reid, the majority leader, said after the vote: “This is a moral issue. It’s not who’s going to vote for whom. It’s about whether or not it is right that people who are working 40 hours a week get a fair shot at being able to provide for their families.” I completely agree with Majority Leader Reid. Hopefully he will be able to get both sides of the aisle to see that they need to act in the best interest of the hard working American. These people, our representatives, need to reach across the aisle and build a more positive relationship with one another. I am confident that if they improved their relationship, then they would improve their work, and in return their public approval rating will increase and the American public will be happy with them. 

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Group asks Supreme Court to allow California cross

Group asks Supreme Court to allow California cross | The Public Caucus | Scoop.it
A veterans group on Tuesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule an order to remove a war memorial cross from a San Diego mountaintop after it was found to violate the constitutional separation of church and state.
Dawn Embry's insight:

This is an interesting case. The cross is a war memorial that was built on a mountain top on city property. Eventually the city transferred the property to the federal government. When this happened the American Civil Liberties Union and the Jewish War Veterans group sued the federal government for the removal of the cross. It is stated that the cross violates the separation of church and state and is unconstitutional. A veteran group is fighting to keep the cross up. For an added twist, the 9th District Court in California ordered that the cross be removed in 2011 and the cross is still standing.

 

This whole situation just brings up multiple questions. How are the veterans the memorial represents actually represent their religious affiliation? Why has the cross not been taken down in the three years since the original ruling? Should the cross remain since it started on city not federal property? Should the cross remain since it has been standing tall for over 50 years before the ruling in 2011?

 

Community Relations may be playing a large role in this. The cross has been standing in the community for 50 plus years with no complaints. It could be possible that the general community consensus is not against the cross but for the cross. However, the legality of the cross is what has been called into question, by an outside group. This could be the reason as to why the city has been dragging it's feet in the removal of the cross.

 

Underneath the umbrella of community relations is the idea of cultural diversity. "Any discussion of community relations has to take into account the evolving composition of the community itself. This is especially true in the United States, where the myth of the melting pot has been replaced with the realization that the nation's racial and ethnic composition is more like a mosaic." (pg. 143). This covers religion as well. There are a multitude of religions, and non-religions within the United States. That is why the idea of the separation of church and state is so important and runs so deep. The country was founded on this notion. People were seeking political and religious freedom when the came to America. 

 

What was the norm in 1954 when the cross was erected is most likely not the norm now in its little community. Things change, dynamics change. In order to appease the community, and those who are offended by the cross, a compromise should come into play. Possibly creating a new memorial with the original structure and adding on to it, or removing the old structure and creating a new structure. This is a situation where community relations is really going to pay off in finding a happy medium for all.

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Keystone pipeline foes create 'human oil spill' at rally; hundreds arrested

Hundreds of students and youth organizers were arrested outside the White House Sunday as they protested against the Keystone XL pipeline under review by the Obama administration.
Dawn Embry's insight:

I am going to quote a paragraph from my textbook, chapter 12, page 268-269: “As you ponder the role of public opinion in free societies, it is important to remember an essential fact: In Western-style democracies, decision-making authority is diffused throughout the government. The government of the United States was created as a power-sharing arrangement among three branches of government—executive, legislative, and judicial—with equal authority. In doing so, the founders of our nation rejected the notion of concentrated power as embodied by the British monarchy. While these 18th century visionaries may not have predicted the 20th century development of public relations, they clearly understood that governing would depend on the ability to generate and maintain a public consensus—the essence of the practice of modern public relations.”

 

This article talks about a recent demonstration in Washington D.C. where students and youth organizers were arrested for creating a “human oil spill” in protest of the Keystone XL pipeline. These young Americans, numbering at nearly a thousand, peacefully marched from Georgetown University to John Kerry’s home to Lafayette Square to the White House. This was all done peacefully and respectfully. The participants hoped that this statement from younger voters would persuade the president to deny the Keystone XL pipeline project.

 

These students are not the only ones against the pipeline; there are a number of environmental groups that oppose it. The opposition is due to the fact that the process would create a 17% increase in carbon pollution, the same pollution that is credited with climate change. Since the State Department issued a report on the project the public has 90 days to make their opinion known, which is what the young Americans did on March 2. They formed a special interest group and rallied behind their beliefs.

 

There are few types of publics when thinking about public relations. First you have the primary public that consists of the decision-makers who stand between organizations and the achievement of their goals. Then you have intervening publics that are those who communicate in an effort to reach and influence primary publics. In this case the primary public is the American Government, more specifically those in Congress and the President. In a democratic society everyone is an intervening public and are called constituents (voters). Constituents that have similar interests, beliefs and values form special interest groups.

 

What I find interesting in this article is that it does not mention what happened to those arrested, and it does not state what they were arrested for. The American Constitution protects our freedom of speech and assembly. No laws were broken to my knowledge so arresting these peaceful demonstrators seems to be a waste of resources. Not everyone can afford a lobbyist on Capitol Hill and the youth vote is very important, especially with upcoming elections. Granted, Obama may not feel the need to satisfy the voters since he is not up for re-election, but his political party has a chance to retain that position and he needs to remember that his actions reflect on the party.

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Suspense in Senate: Debt vote shrouded in secrecy

Suspense in Senate: Debt vote shrouded in secrecy | The Public Caucus | Scoop.it
Financial markets were watching, the retirement accounts of millions of Americans on the line.
Dawn Embry's insight:

Congress tried to keep the votes on the debt ceiling a secret from the American public on Wednesday. This was interesting since there is typically a roll call vote that is televised on C-SPAN and there are usually people in the galleries watching. Leaders in the Senate knew how important this vote was. The entire world was watching, not just Americans. Those of us at home sometimes react before we know what is going on. The United States has been in a battle over the nations debt limit for some time now and its been affecting our standing in the world. People were holding their breaths to see if we were going to fault and fall, or extend and save. 

 

As the article states, if the roll call vote seemed dicey it could have caused financial repercussions from our foreign investors, those who hold U.S. "I Owe You" slips, and others. The last thing the United States needs is the Stock Market to tank, to bottom out. That would be disastrous for all Americans. In the eyes of a public relations professional I think this was a fantastic, and rational move by Congress. 

 

The American public must understand that they are not the only target public that the United States government has. Yes, they are the most important, and should always come first, but as long as the United States government keeps the people informed, the manner of which it is done, with good purpose, should be taken into consideration. Page 144 of "Adventures in Public Relations: Case Studies and Critical Thinking" talks about how strategic and tactical decisions in community relations can be as complex and differing as those they are targeting their message to. Trying to navigate the minefield or organization-public relationships, there are some things the American public can take to heart.

 

First, is that there is common ground. Congress has just as much a stake in the outcome of the vote as does the American people, but there are others out there with a stake as well. This is the common ground--the results of the debt vote. Second, the government has to set priorities. It's first priority is the safety and security of the American people. In this situation that was threatened with the possibility of financial repercussions. The possibilities of negative outcomes were staggering. Third, we all must think long term. This ties in with the previous two items. Long term Congress will continue to keep the American people in the loop and we will need financial security. This includes having our foreign investors and such be confident in the United States ability to function.


This being said, after the vote, all information should be made public. The reasoning for the secrecy had passed. Yet, according to this article, "The final vote — 67-31 — was posted on the Senate’s web site. But information on who switched votes isn’t available there." There still needs to be transparency. The American public should have access to the information after the fact. The threat is gone. Lawmakers can still be held accountable, and they should be by their constituents but the lack of information  causes a problem: “When the vote tallies are not read aloud, it makes it harder for the media and therefore the public to get the information they need to hold lawmakers accountable.” It makes it even harder when not disclosed afterwards as well.


Hopefully the information is made public and the actions of our lawmakers are made clear. Transparency needs to make an appearance again and take front row.

 

 

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Utah in gay marriage filing: Kids need mom and dad

Utah in gay marriage filing: Kids need mom and dad | The Public Caucus | Scoop.it
Utah state attorneys filed their opening argument to the federal appeals court reviewing the state’s same-sex marriage ban, saying the optimal environment for raising children is with a mother and father.
Dawn Embry's insight:

"Utah state attorneys filed their opening argument to the federal appeals court reviewing the state’s same-sex marriage ban, saying the optimal environment for raising children is with a mother and father." The opening sentence of this story sets up the entire fight for same sex relationships. The definition of a family being a mother and a father only, and that same sex couples are front to God is what started this whole thing. 


The whole case going on in Utah is about the threat to children. The threat that being raised by two mothers or two fathers presents to a child. Are they serious? What is even worse, is before this mess started many gay couples got married and are now, after it was legal to do so, are being denied their rights and protections, their marriages are basically null and void as of right now. 

 

How is this fair? What is the United States coming to when it grants rights and privileges to its citizens just to turn around and strip it away? "More than 1,000 gay couples married in Utah before the Supreme Court granted the stay last month. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has instructed state agencies to stop granting benefits to the couples, save for allowing them to jointly file taxes." 


“Maintaining the man-woman definition helps prevent further erosion of the traditional concept of marriage as being principally a child-centered institution,” state attorneys wrote, “one focused first and foremost on the welfare of children rather than the emotional interests of adults.” What are they going to do with the children that are currently in this type of a home environment? Are they going to tell the children that their parents are horrible and are no good for them? This is going to cause a lot more harm than good. 


How is this ethical? Ethics are defined as the values that guide the ways we think and act. Ethics are about integrity. It is very unethical to go back on something that has passed, that has been allowed through the courts. Social responsibility also comes into play here. This comes from social contract theories of believing in and honoring mutual obligations and duties to aid one another and assist the common good. It is Utah's social responsibility to keep their word. Going back on it has social consequences and will make many more problems within their state and with other Gay Rights states.


The situation in Utah is one to keep an eye on in the next couple of months. It's only a matter of time before this explodes and people will have no choice but to pay attention.

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