Anti-Bush Message From CU Gets National Attention, Thanks To Blogs
In an increasingly divisive political climate, PowerNet Credit Union here has been caught up in a war of words over a sign placed in a parking lot adjacent to its own that asserted the company's love of President Bush and American troops.
PowerNet, whose membership consists chiefly of construction unions, reacted to a large sign put up by employees of Cornerstone Abatement and Demolition Co., which read, "We Love Our President George Bush" by placing a large "Not" sign on its own property. Viewed from the parking lot, it seemed to be just a squabble between those who hold different political viewpoints. But then someone added three words "And Our Troops" to the sign, took a photo, and it became the focus of a blog accusing PowerNet of being unpatriotic, disgusting, and urging members to withdraw all their money and bombard PowerNet's president, Tim McMurray's, e-mail with complaints.
The Arlen, Texas based blog The Jawa Report (http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives /179680.php) picked up the June 1 link from another blog, (http://www.hyscience.com /archives/2006/06/email-from-disg-1.php#more) that stated: "Readers and bloggers are encouraged to pass this around in posts and in e-mails in order that PowerNet's reputation for disregard for our American armed forces and contempt for our Commander in Chief during a time of war be spread far and wide. Further, that the names Tim McMurray and PowerNet Credit Union become associated with anti-Americanism and contempt for our troops in battle!"
The post has a later update containing a forwarded response from McMurray that said, "Neither PowerNet, or anybody affiliated with it-especially myself-has any contempt of anything less than total respect and support for our troops. We do have problems with the current person in the office of president of our country." His message goes on to note that the "Troops" sign was added later, and states his economic-based reasons for not liking Bush, an opinion shared by PowerNet's members, he said.
McMurray told The Credit Union Journal that when he saw the "Troops" sign go up he had the "Not" sign removed. "It's sure not our intention to besmirch the troops. That's ridiculous. I'm a Vietnam Veteran myself and I support the troops. And if it were just the original sign, I might have left our sign up there, but I don't want any confusion."
McMurray said the only flak he heard was from PowerNet members who thought the original sign in support of President Bush was put up by him.
"From the street it looked like it was on our property, so I had to tell them it wasn't ours. Our members are union members." He had not received any other flak over the signs. "I think people see it for what it is. This is a free country and you're entitled to think and express yourself freely. It's just sad that it's become such a common practice with the Bushites to challenge your patriotism if you don't agree with them."