Perriello Comes to Harrisonburg

On Friday of last week, I received word that former Representative Tom Perriello would be in Harrisonburg on Saturday morning, February 4th.  Mr. Perriello is one of two candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to be Virginia’s next governor.  Although I knew the time and location of the event, the Lucy Simms Center, I had no other details.

When I arrived, I discovered that it was a forum hosted by Virginia Organizing.  However, one surprising element was that it was a gathering designed specifically for deaf individuals.  As such, much on the discussion took place through sign language.  Mr. Perriello brought an interpreter with him.  Although she seemed to have no difficulty translating his words into sign language, she had a bit of trouble explaining what some of the attendees were saying.  Then again, given that much of the conversation focused on technical terms relating to the deaf community, it was understandable.  In fact, even after translation, some of the terms were still foreign to me.  Fortunately, there was another interpreter in the audience so they worked together; one translated Mr. Perriello’s comments into American sign language while the other converted the sign language into English. However, it was difficult to follow chunks of the conversation.

The event highlighted quite a few areas where deaf people face obstacles, many of which the average Virginian is likely unaware of.  But, whether intentional or not, one of the major points I drew from the gathering was that Tom Perriello seemed to advocate greater government power as a solution to many of the issues and concerns of the deaf community, although that seemed to be the message Virginia Organizing was promoting as well.

Before leaving, demonstrating his knowledge of sign language, Perriello made signs for the various letters of the alphabet.

I appreciate that Mr. Perriello visited Harrisonburg.  The next time he comes, I’d like to learn more about where he stands on a number of important issues such as fiscal restraint, restricting the growth of government, eliminating needless laws and bureaucracy, and expanding personal and political freedom here in the Commonwealth.

9500 Liberty At JMU

I haven’t seen Corey Stewart in the city of Harrisonburg since he spoke to the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party back on February 24th.  At that time, he spoke primarily regarding The Rule of Law Campaign, but also explained how George Allen was a poor legislator during his time in the United States Senate.  Although I could discuss in length how his recent flip-flop on the former Governor greatly tarnished my opinion of him, that topic must wait for another article.

Although Stewart himself will not be at James Madison University, his actions as the Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors will be a central focus on Tuesday.  Tomorrow, JMU’s chapter of Amnesty International along with Virginia Organizing will be holding a screening of the new film 9500 Liberty.  From what I’ve read about the movie, it paints Stewart and his supporters in unflattering terms.  According to rottentomatoes.com, “9500 Liberty reveals the startling vulnerability of a local government, targeted by national anti-immigration networks using the Internet to frighten and intimidate lawmakers and citizens.”

I know most conservatives don’t care for Amnesty International and I will confess that I don’t like some of their positions, such as their opposition to Virginia’s death penalty.  However, when it comes to issues like torture, this group serves an important role as a watchdog to protect citizens and foreigners alike from abuse.

So here is the trailer for 9500 Liberty:

I’m guessing that I will not agree with the message of 9500 Liberty.  After all, protecting our borders is one of the primary Constitutional duties of the federal government.  If Washington D.C. cannot or fails to prevent aliens from entering our country illegally, then it falls to our state and local governments to pick up the slack.  In general, I’ve been supportive of the efforts of folks like Corey Stewart to battle the influx of those people who have violated our laws.

So why should we watch the film?  Well, even if you happen to disagree with the political premise, that doesn’t mean that the movie has no value.  After all, although I wouldn’t rate Fahrenheit 9/11 as a particularly great work, it did raise questions that needed to be discussed.  So too could 9500 Liberty.  I hope it is more than mere liberal propaganda.

In case you are interested, 9500 Liberty will be showing on November 15th from 7 PM to 9 PM at JMU’s Memorial Hall in room 2210.  Love it or hate it, my hope is that this movie will expand the political dialogue.  I suppose that there is only one way to find our for sure.