A step toward civility…

email from People for the American Way, 2/23/11

Dear People For Supporter,


Dept. Attorney General Jeff Cox is now Former Dept. Attorney General Jeff Cox and no longer is part of the Indiana AG’s office. Thank you so much for taking action and lending real grassroots heft to our call for Cox’s resignation.

While this result came so quickly that we never had the chance to deliver our petition to Indiana — only several hours since our press release and petition were launched — the overwhelming and immediate response of our activist was a focal point of our efforts to keep pressure on Indiana officials.

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon (2/23), the Attorney General’s office said, “Civility and courtesy toward all members of the public are very important to the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. We respect individuals’ First Amendment right to express their personal views on private online forums, but as public servants we are held by the public to a higher standard, and we should strive for civility.”

Thanks again, for you activism and for your ongoing support of PFAW.

— Ben

Original Message:

Dear People For Supporter,

A deputy attorney general in Indiana on Saturday suggested on Twitter to “use live ammunition” against protesters in Madison, Wisconsin. In a back-and-forth with a writer for Mother Jones magazine, he followed up, “You’re damned right I advocate deadly force.”

There’s one word for this: Unacceptable.

Sign our petition calling for the immediate resignation of Indiana Deputy Attorney General Jeff Cox.

The fact that a public official is comfortable calling for the shooting of peaceful protesters exercising their First Amendment rights is terrifying. Unfortunately, it’s not surprising since the political Right has moved so far away from supporting democratic norms.

The right-wing movement — from its politicians to its media outlets — has taken sides against the working people of Wisconsin and is trying to paint peaceful protesters and unions as “thugs.” In doing so, they are aligning themselves with some of American history’s worst villains — the politicians and robber barons of the late 1800’s and early 1900s who would call in private security firms and militias to break union strikes and intimidate workers with outright violence, and sometimes mass murder.

We remember the violent actions and rhetoric of some of the Tea Party congressional candidates in 2010 — Sharron Angle with her “Second Amendment remedies,” Joe Miller with his private security guards who roughed up and illegally detained a reporter. Now we’re faced with public officials who are falsely trying to portray public workers who are under attack and their supporters as violent … and advocating real violence against them just for standing up for their basic rights!

Don’t let it stand. Speak out now. Tell Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and AG Greg Zoeller to immediately demand Deputy Attorney General Jeff Cox’s resignation and address calls for violence within the AG’s office.

We apologize for today’s increased email traffic from us, but this is clearly an important and urgent matter, and we did not feel it should wait. Please speak out now.

— Ben Betz, Online Communications Manager


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