Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Discriminating against 'discrimination'

Last summer, the Oregon State Bar decided not to accept advertising from any military organization because of the military's policies toward gays and lesbians. (This OSB policy, by the way, doesn't seem to have been discussed in any OSB publication -- at least that I could find. According to one letter to the OSB, members learned about it in an August 21, 2005 Oregonian article.)

There were a few letters written to the Bulletin, the OSB's monthly magazine, in favor of this, but a surprising number of letters came out against the policy. Here's my favorite, appearing in the February/March edition and written by a gentleman named Sean Madden:
I graduated from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1993 and have spent the past 12-1/2 years on active duty in the United States Marine Corps. Whenever anyone asks me what it was like to go to school in Oregon, I always tell them that, as far as my classmates and professors at the U of O were concerned, I may as well have joined the Ku Klux Klan or the Nazi Party as serve my country — such was their disdain for military service. I remember one classmate in particular who, during Operation Desert Shield, proudly stated that she refused to give blood because doing so would ultimately support the military!

So you may imagine my surprise when I saw a soldier on the cover of the Bulletin and read Janine Robben’s article which focused a good deal of attention on the Military Assistance Panel and pro bono work being done for military service members. "Things have changed in Oregon!" I thought to myself. Then I read the letters to the editor supporting the OSB’s shameful but largely irrelevant decision to ban military advertising. I was wrong.

I could swear I learned something in Con Law about viewpoint-based restrictions on speech being bad...

Anyway, I’m gratified to know that there are still a few proud Americans in the Oregon legal community willing to give so generously of themselves for service members in need. Frankly, though, I’m surprised that the thought police at OSB allow it. Maybe it was just an oversight on their part. I’m sure they’ll get around to banning it sooner or later. Since Oregon attorneys who assist military service members pro bono are ultimately assisting the military services themselves (force multipliers in military jargon), shouldn’t such attorneys be disciplined? And shouldn’t Oregon lawyers like myself who don’t buy-in to OSB’s moral stances be disbarred or at least sent to re-indoctrination camps? I demand that my name appear in the next disciplinary section of the Bulletin! The crime? Dissent!

You can keep your ban (though you’d drop it in a heartbeat if it affected your funding). As long as men and women of character continue to be admitted to the practice of law, a precious few of them will find their way to our ranks. That’s all we need.
It brings me back to my days in Eugene -- except back then (which was a little bit before Mr. Madden appeared on the scene), I was likely to be one of the people holding the ridiculous and embarrassing idea that there was a link between Nazis and the United States military.

I especially liked that line about Constitutional law classes that teach "about viewpoint-based restrictions on speech being bad," because it highlights the contradiction among the politically-correct crowd: they are willing to pass rules against groups with which they disagree, not realizing (or willingly ignoring the fact) that such rules are, in and of themselves, discrimination.


  • At 3/28/2006 5:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Liberals love free speech as long as they are the ones doing the talking and controlling of society.

    The military must have standards. Gay soldiers in the open would be disastrous for morale.


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