Monday, October 30, 2006

Dilemma Over

My attempts to find a local group working to vote down the anti-gay marriage amendment in Virginia did not bear fruit, so there will be no story by me about the PHC students efforts to keep gay Virginians from being married. The amendment also says the state "shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effects of marriage."

I did write a decidedly opion-based piece for the Gazette in which I voice my disapproval of the amendment and the thinking behind it. I don't know yet whether the piece will be published.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Dilemma

I received a press release from the Patrick Henry College regarding the efforts of some PHC students to promote what I call the Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment that Virginia voters will deal with on November 7. Mike Farris, the founder, former president and current chancellor of PHC, participated in drafting the amendment, according to the press release. Therefore, it's not really surprising that some students at the small college are actively engaged in propagandizing on its behalf.

As a writer for the Purcellville Gazette I should do something with this press release. My options are:

  1. Sit on it.
  2. Write an article about it.
  3. Find a group with the opposing view and write an article about the two groups.
  4. Forward it to my editor and let her decide what to do.

If I sit on it and do nothing I will disappoint myself as a journalist. It is not my responsibility to provide press coverage to everyone with a cause to promote or story to tell. Yet I believe that doing nothing in this case is inappropriate.

I could write an article about the contents of the press release. One approach would be to try straight reportage -- contact the students involved, clarify any questions in the press release, etc. Another angle might be to editorialize on one of several topics: Young people taking an interest in political action; Out of state students trying to affect Virginia's constitution; Shameful attempt to exclude homosexual citizens from the pleasures (and pains) of marriage.

At this point I don't have much opportunity to locate and access a person or group opposed to the amendment, so the third option is going to be difficult. As a journalist, this is my preferred choice. Although I have very strong feelings about this amendment -- I am strenuously opposed to it -- I wish that I had time to write a good profile of people on both sides of the issue. Unfortunately, that is not going to happen.

If I send the press release on to my editor it is likely that it would appear in the paper without much modification. This would not be satisfying to me, as it lets the college call the tune.

I will post here when I reach a decision on my course of action.

Monday, October 02, 2006

A Good Weekend Amidst a Good Life

This weekend Hiroko and I enjoyed the company of my cousin Jeff and his wife Meg. The picture is of Jeff, Meg, and me. As is usually the case when I get together with Jeff or one of his brothers there were a lot of laughs and heated political discussion – but since Jeff and I agree on most things political the heat was warming, not scorching.

The cousin relationship carries a very special attribute: we are close enough to be family and at the same time far enough apart that we aren’t in each other’s stuff. My interest in his life and his in mine are genuine. We each care enough to listen to whatever the other has to say about problems, achievements, beliefs, doubts. And wonderfully, there is no expectation that my responses to him will change his life or the way he does anything at all. Similarly, if I completely ignore some advice or opinion he gives me it seems not to hurt him in the slightest. And to make things even better, Meg and Hiroko fit right into this pairing of cousins.

We had a very good weekend.

If it turns out the economy will ever let us join Jeff and Meg in the retired life they enjoy, we look forward to making our times together more frequent.