Tuesday, May 29, 2007

No More Dion

I'm reluctant to write about a race that I haven't really been following, but Jeff Dion's dropout from running for the 51st district of Virginia's state legislature caught my eye. It even made the WaPo and NPR. Apparently, right-wing blogger attacks on Dion, primarily centered on his sexual orientation caused him to write a good-bye letter on his website that attributed his dropout to a "toxic atmosphere." From what I can tell, Dion was a target for being a leader in prosecuting hate crimes in his role on the Criminal Justice Services Board and because of his gay.com profile. (I didn't bother to try looking up his profile, but it seems likely he's since altered it or taken it down at this stage.) Apparently local Democrats then began to question his chances of winning and asked him to step down.

The fact that bloggers could affect such change on the local level is astonishing to me. It's true that netroots take a lot of credit for getting people involved at the grassroots level, but it's so hard to understand why s Furthermore, because Democrats (at least now) view themselves as so favored to win in the next election, it seems they're shying away from fighting difficult races like what Dion's race would have been had he stayed in.

Ultimately I'm unsure of whether Dion was a "good candidate" or not, but I certainly support having someone to speak for those that are the victims of hate crimes. We need more people that are willing to make this their primary issue.

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