Michael Crawford

What Would Harvey Milk Do?

Filed By Michael Crawford | November 14, 2008 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, The Movement
Tags: gay activists, gay rights, Harvey Milk, Prop. 8 protests

In this time of incredible passion, anger and energy in the LGBT community, these words by Harvey Milk could not ring more true.


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It is amazing to see how quickly our community catapulted from grief to outrage over the passage of four anti-gay state amendments on November 4. Tens of thousands of LGBT people and allies have marched in the streets to demand an end to the bigotry and hatred used by right-wing religious extremists to harm our families and fill their coffers.

Some people are calling this Stonewall 2.0. I call it the kick in the ass that the LGBT community has needed for quite some time.

We have become way too comfortable with television shows like Will and Grace and The L Word lulling us into believing that everything really is okay.

Now is the time to turn that anger and passion into effective action that will win full equality for LGBT people. It won't all be as glamorous and self-expressive as protests, but we need to use a multiplicity of tactics to get the job done.


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Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | November 14, 2008 5:41 PM

"It won't all be as glamorous and self-expressive as protests, but we need to use a multiplicity of tactics to get the job done."

The key word, of course, is "multiplicity". On another thread to a piece you've initiated someone took a jab at me and indirectly others for talking about "strategizing", as if that were somehow now an old, discarded, discredited way of approaching things. It's legitimate and indeed necessary to challange those who claim or are considered to represent the GLBT community, assuming we can even begin to define it.

Any organization composed of more than one individual is subject to the criticism that sometimes its sense of self-importance, propensity toward inertia, leanings toward secrecy and an "inner circle", must always be able to hold a mirror up to itself (or have others hold it up to them) without seeing that as being disruptive or irrational.

Yet there is always danger in an indiscrimmate dumping of what may well be an immense amount of planning, analysis, and the like over a period of time. For example, if one reads the history of decisions where, when, and how to most effectively litigate some of the key GLBT issues in the past twenty years, one quickly sees that a wrong step or incompletely considered stragegy may well have caused serious defeats and setbacks.

So while others commendably, and I hope to God loudly but without any hint of counterproductive violence, carry their signs and perfect their chants, some of us will continue to quietly try and reflect and do planning and persuasion, lobbying, and education. We all make contributions in various ways. Do not trample us under your brisk footsteps in the street.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | November 14, 2008 6:06 PM

If the No on Prop. 8 campaign folks had done more strategizing, we would have had a much better shot at winning.

I am believer in working on the inside and outside to reach our goals. Some peopel let their anger get the better of them.

Michael, you and I think far too much alike. One word in response to your post: amen!

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | November 14, 2008 11:44 PM

I think we may be becoming the same person. Or, it is just that we get weak in the knees at smart organizing?