Should Valentine's Day be reserved for sweet messages of love? Or is it a perfect opportunity to bring attention to special agendas? If you are more traditional you may find yourself competing with special interest groups on this holiday of love.
Andromedia Pippis walked around the Stephen F. Austin State University campus covered up with inflated balloons that her boyfriend sent her. A large teddy bear balloon caused the most attention. Undoubtedly she knows what Valentine's Day is all about.
"Valentine's is about just love in general. Happy Valentine's Day, Mamma, Daddy, just general love," said Pippis as she fought a balloon waving in her face.
But, just across the way special interest groups tried to create some attention of their own. They are more specific about their Valentine messages.
Young Conservative David White said, "We handed out cards like this with pro life messages. Like a play on words with hearts. Like for instance, this one says, 'Soul mate, I have a soul too."
Then there's the question who qualifies as a soul mate? Adam Key is with Straight Pride. His red t-shirt with a Valentine heart encourages debate over homosexuality. In his mind a perfect topic for the day. "If Straight Pride were to pick one [holiday], it would have to be Valentine's Day because Valentine's Day is all about celebrating what we celebrate. That is heterosexuality, the union of a man and a woman."
But often the union becomes volatile. The Texas Council for Family Violence chose February 14th as its lobby day. Members are reminding legislators about women and children with broken hearts.
Women's Shelter of East Texas Director Margi Preston said, "What not a better day when people are celebrating love to really think about those people who are hurt by relationships, physically and emotionally."
The issues can be important, but is Valentine's Day when people want to hear about them? President of the Young Democrats, Whitney Bond said, "I really think it could backfire on them because this is the holiday of love and sharing."
Traditionalists and lobbyists have both strayed from the true observance of St. Valentine's Day. Back in 270 AD the bishop, 'Valentine' fought for Christianity and matrimony. His efforts led to his execution.