Saturday, October 02, 2010

One Ugly Human Being

Sometimes somebody makes you sick to be an American. Meet Andrew Shirvell.

Last week, I saw Anderson Cooper cover a story about someone so bizarre I could not believe my ears and eyes when I learned that one of our state's Assistant Attorneys General, Andrew Shirvell, apparently kept a blog he maintained, which existed solely as an attack blog on the President of the Michigan Student Association, Chris Armstrong.

This started when Chris Armstrong ran for President of the Michigan Student Association last spring. Armstrong won, becoming the first openly gay MSA President. Shirvell started his blog after the Alliance Defense Fund put out a notice about Armstrong advancing a "radical homosexual agenda." Shirvell had apparently posted numerous blog entries attacking Armstrong and his friends/allies, accusing him of being a racist, a Nazi, and photo shopping pictures of Armstrong next to a gay pride flag with a swastika encircled in the middle of the flag, and the word "Resign" scrawled across Armstrong's face.


Shirvell further went on to show up at rallies with offensive signs linking Armstrong to the KKK and even once showed up at his house with a video camera.

Cooper picked up on this story and interviewed Shirvell on his show, AC360 on Tuesday evening.

The first thing I noticed was just how scary it was this kid could be so unfazed by what he was doing. It never seems to occur to him that he, as a state official who represents the State of Michigan in court cases can somehow find it appropriate to attack not a state or federal official, but a student at a public university.

Chris Armstrong is 21 years old. He is the student body representative to the University of Michigan governance. He is not some influential public official. God knows, he probably makes no more than $300 a week (I haven't looked; and I don't care) at his job. Armstrong is elected to a 1-year term. Most likely he won't run again.

Shirvell maintains that this is a political campaign he's waging. He argues that Armstrong is pushing a "radical homosexual agenda" at the University of Michigan.

Please, no gays in Ann Arbor is like there being no rice in China.

Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan are one of the gay-friendliest communities in the world. The fact that only now in 2010, Armstrong is the first openly gay President only means that it's only about goddamn time. And maybe it's time for Shirvell to join us in the 21st century.

Unfortunately (or maybe it is fortunate), Shirvell's blog is no longer open to the public. Deleting the whole thing might have been better. I did view it on Wednesday, and while not shocked, I was a bit annoyed at the way he referenced phrases such as "gay rights" or "homosexuals" in quotations.

This is pure bigotry, plain and simple. No matter how hard he tries to disguise it, he fails. The fact that he is still allowed to represent my state in the courtroom is disturbing. Attorney General Mike Cox has maintained that while Shirvell's actions are offensive, they are done on his own time, and he has otherwise performed acceptably as a state attorney. Shirvell worked on his reelection campaign in 2006.

Cox recently lost a close race for Michigan Governor in the GOP Primary. He has since then gone back to his duties as AG. Observers have speculated the only reason Shirvell still has a job is simply Cox's way of repaying him for his loyalty. Cox does have a religious, values voters political base to consider. After all, we have not heard the last of Mike Cox in Michigan politics, I think.

I think Shirvell has not only done himself harm, but he apparently hurt his other cause even more simply by speaking his mind. Ever since Shirvell's interview, support for Chris Armstrong has skyrocketed. Thanks to our Asst. AG, Armstrong is probably more popular than ever, free to push his agenda, one of which is gender-neutral housing, which Shirvell says is a "radical redefinition of gender roles."

Even our ever-popular Governor, Jennifer Granholm couldn't resist the chance to take a swipe at Cox, saying if she were still Attorney General, he would've been fired already. Thanks, Gov, but every public statement you make from hear on out should an include an apology for the way you've run the state for the last eight years. Nice try scoring political points, but it's too little, too late, ma'am.

Maybe there is a silver lining to this cloud. Shirvell has recently taken paid sick leave, and when he comes back, he will be facing a disciplinary hearing. It isn't specific, what the hearing will be about, but what else could it be, really?

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