by Jeremy Leaming
The public interest groups fighting to temper the influence of the well-funded rightist outfit that helped write Florida’s so-called Stand Your Ground law, and lobby other states to enact similar measures, are not easing their efforts to encourage corporate America to rethink its support of the group.
After ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, announced that it was shuttering its dubiously dubbed “Public Safety and Elections” task force, which pushed the Stand Your Ground laws and other measures to suppress voting, groups, such as ColorOfChange denounced the move as a desperate effort to stop corporate sponsors from fleeing.
“ALEC’s latest statement is nothing more than a PR stunt aimed at diverting attention from its agenda, which has done serious damage to our communities,” said ColorOfChange Executive Director Rashad Robinson.
In announcing its move, ALEC said in a press release that it was redoubling its “efforts on the economic front, a priority that has been the hallmark of our organization for decades,” which is apparently all about helping corporations reap greater profits.
The tragic death of the Florida youngster Trayvon Martin (pictured) at the hands of a so-called neighborhood watchman, sparked national outrage and drew attention to the Stand Your Ground Laws, which a New York Times columnist wrote is “tempting to dismiss” as “the work of ignorant yahoos.” (For instance one could image a yahoo, such as the lame, one-hit-wonder, washed-out “rocker,” Ted Nugent, as itching for this type of law, which essentially gives legal protection to those who kill others outside their homes, if they claim they did so in self-defense.)
But, the Stand Your Ground law was strongly backed by the NRA, which the yahoo Nugent is a member, and essentially the product of ALEC, which has enjoyed years of corporate backing.
After Martin’s death, ColorOfChange and other public interest groups launched a campaign to educate corporations about ALEC’s real agenda.
The campaign has had success, prompting 11 corporations to cut its ties to ALEC, and irking the right-wing editorial board of The Wall Street Journal, which whined about “the bullying of big business.”
The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), one of the groups helping to raise awareness of ALEC’s agenda, which includes advocating for racial profiling laws and protecting the nation’s super wealthy, scoffed at the WSJ’s editorial, which called out the work of CMD.
Saying it was honored to be called out by the rightists at the WSJ, CMD said ALEC is “playing defense due to the fact that almost every day another ALEC member corporation/funder decides to quit the organization and distance itself from ALEC’s agenda.”
CMD also noted that ALEC leaders are urging the rightwing blogosphere to come to the group’s defense. As CMD notes, the panic among ALEC is not terribly surprising, for many years the group has been able to push its radical agenda with little notice. Its push for the Stand Your Ground law, which celebrates a Wild West mentality, is quickly changing the landscape.