Sunday, March 7, 2010

Getting what we voted for . . .

One of the surest ways to track a society's values is to track how it spends its public money when money's tight.

Our Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, has proposed dealing with the state's troubled economy through massive cuts to public schools, the state government work force and health and welfare safety net programs in a $2.1 billion bid to balance a critically troubled state budget.

He also proposed that public safety see a boost of $60 million in funding over the biennium.

Which seems to be saying that our governor suggests we will increasingly deal with troubled people if they break the law, at which point we lock them up.

Another way to track our values is to examine how we protect diversity.

This article ran in this morning's Washington Post's "Virginia section:
Virginia Attorney General to colleges: End gay protections
By Rosalind S. Helderman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 6, 2010; A01
RICHMOND -- Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II has urged the state's public colleges and universities to rescind policies that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, arguing in a letter sent to each school that their boards of visitors had no legal authority to adopt such statements.
In his most aggressive initiative on conservative social issues since taking office in January, Cuccinelli (R) wrote in the letter sent Thursday that only the General Assembly can extend legal protections to gay state employees, students and others -- a move the legislature has repeatedly declined to take as recently as this week.
The letter demonstrates an increasing split in the region's policies on issues related to sexual orientation. It comes in the same week that the District began issuing marriage licenses for gay couples and a week after Maryland's attorney general announced that his state will recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
Cuccinelli's move has dismayed students and faculty members. It suggests that Cuccinelli intends to take a harder line with the state's university system, where liberal academics have long coexisted uneasily with state leaders in Richmond.
"It is my advice that the law and public policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia prohibit a college or university from including 'sexual orientation,' 'gender identity,' 'gender expression,' or like classification as a protected class within its non-discrimination policy absent specific authorization from the General Assembly," he wrote in the letter.
State government has real power in our lives. I'm curious: When we elected this administration, were these the ways we envisioned that power being used?


  1. Because you're a "...curious bunch; people who think, read, write, do things, listen and talk in an effort to stretch our minds and enlarge our experience.", I assume you know that outgoing governor Kaine's budget blueprint contained many of the same cuts to schools and social services. You're also free, as far as I am aware, to send the state more of your own money if you want.

  2. Yes, Kaine's budget contained cuts to schools. McDonnell proposed to cut an additional $730 million on top of those cuts. Any way you "cut" it the effect on public education will be drastic.