Will Your Elected Officials Stand Up For Academic Freedom?

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    In light of Attorney General Cuccinelli’s abuse of his power to intimidate climate scientists who produce research that he finds politically convenient to attack, I have two questions for every single one of my Virginia elected officials:

    1) Do your support or oppose Cuccinelli’s assault on academic freedom?

    2) If the latter, when will you make a public statement announcing your position?

    Sorry, no mealy-mouthed evasions of the issue allowed this time.  Freedom of thought, inquiry, and expression is not some minor issue – it is the lifeblood without with democracy cannot function.  And it is by no means merely a progressive or Democratic issue.  Conservative Supreme Court Justices in recent years have demonstrated such a strong commitment to the First Amendment that they have chosen to protect even such repugnant forms of speech as flag burning, videos showing violence against animals, and depictions of child pornography.  Considering that, how can conservatives not support the freedom of scientists to conduct their research free from bullying by government officials?

    Republicans, Tea Partiers, and other right-wingers talk endlessly about freedom and liberty.  So let’s put all of Virginia’s elected Republican officials on record to see if – when faced with a case where academic freedom is openly threatened by state power – they will put their money where their mouth is.  Governor Bob, of course, needs to be questioned most relentlessly, but all the officials below him need to be heard from too.  

    Virginia Democrats, led by Delegate Mark Herring, have taken a strong stand on this issue.  But we cannot allow them to take their eyes off the ball.  We need every Democrat in Virginia to speak out publicly against this outrageous act in order to keep the pressure on the McDonnell-Cuccinelli Administration and continually ratchet it up – until they back off.

    I strongly encourage you to contact your own elected officials and ask these same questions.  You can find contact information and links for all of them here.

    We elect our leaders to safeguard our freedoms.  Will they come through for us this time, or not?