Sean Kosofsky

Thinking BIG

Filed By Sean Kosofsky | September 13, 2007 10:58 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: ENDA, gay rights, health care reform, progressive

Some days I really get tired of fighting for incremental change.

It just seems to me (and this is no cutting edge or creative strategy I am pitching here) that GLBT activists and our progressive allies need to scrap a lot of our legislative priorities, go back to the drawing board and start thinking big.

Think of how much time we would save pushing for domestic partner benefits if we joined broad coalitions to push for universal health care. We wouldn't need to waste thousands of hours on polling, drafting talking points, and attending dozens of meetings on related, but not quite collaborative, campaigns.

The same goes for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Why the hell does this legislation not include housing, public accommodations, public services, jury selection and other protections? Why are progressives not five years into a comprehensive piece of legislation that would protect all American workers from losing their jobs without cause?

Hate crime legislation at the state level is lacking in creativity also. Most state hate crime laws are merely penalty-enhancement policies. What we really need is legislation that requires the training of law enforcement while providing real services to survivors of hate violence.

The list of issues goes on and on. If we made elections clean and accessible and the media more accountable it would solve many other issues in America, including civil rights. If we committed to strengthening protections for privacy and religious freedom, we could put an end the faith based initiative, religious voucher schools, and abstinence only education. If we raise the living wage while raising the fuel efficiency standards, we would mostly eliminate poverty and pollution in just a few years.

We need to dream much bigger than we are. We must aim higher and work across issues to find solidarity in seismic change.

If you have a creative or cutting edge strategy that can help kill multiple birds with one boulder, please comment below.


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I'm totally with you on this one. I've been saying for a while now that I think that our movement has lost its ability to want expansively and to want passionately, and has instead settled on a few legislative initiatives that won't do a whole lot. Let's start talking about how workers in this country can lose their jobs for no reason at all. Let's start talking about how universal health care would benefit us more completely than health-care-through-same-sex-marriage. Let's start dreaming up solutions to the specific problems that hate crimes bring up in addition to general solutions to fighting crime.

It's hard talking about coalitional politics within the LGBT movement because it's such an abstract concept, but maybe we can look to anti-coalitional politics for help here, or something like that. I mean, the Religious Right has had the keys to this country since 2000, and issues like health care coverage, crime, war, etc. have all been exacerbated. Is it any surprise that these people are homophobic as well? It's all connected on both sides - and if we are serious about benefiting our people, we need to start thinking a whole lot bigger.

OK, like, wow. This is exciting. Now let's take this strategy and make it more specific and implementable and talk about it all the time!

Your post will dovetail nicely with a guest post we have going up today, Sean. And I'm with you 110%. Sometimes it seems we can't see the forest for the trees.

Indeed, people's dreams have become so minimal.