I have the following problems with the LGBT boycott of the DNC that a few bloggers launched yesterday:
1. I thought we were already boycotting the DNC. Am I the only who thought that the gAyTM was already supposed to be shut down?
2. The list of charges against the DNC, in its current form, contains some half-truths and unconfirmed rumors on it. According to MLK, self-purification was an entire step when it came to executing a social justice action, and it should be instinctively obvious as to why. If we're seeking justice, we have to base our actions in truth.
3. They say the boycott ends once ENDA is passed and DOMA and DADT are repealed, but they don't specify whether they mean a transgender-inclusive ENDA or not. Since a known and unapologetic transphobe is organizing this, it's a very appropriate question. (And, yes, I would say the same thing if a homophobic transsexual person were organizing something like this.)
4. There has been some movement forward on LGBT issues. Hate crimes legislation passed, discrimination against trans folks in government was banned, a slew of LGBT people were appointed to high-ranking positions, LGBT-specific health care provisions were included in the House bill, an inclusive ENDA's plugging along, the HUD opened up their definition of family to include LGBT families, the Census Bureau will release data on same-sex couples who put themselves down as "married," the HUD will study LGBT housing discrimination for the first time ever, increased HIV/AIDS treatment funding through the Ryan White CARE Act was proposed in the House, the DHHS lifted the HIV travel ban, abstinence-only education is most likely gone, and the DHHS has promised to create an LGBT senior resource center.
These are important changes for lots of people in the community, and if the biggest thanks the DNC can expect to get is a boycott, then what motivation do they have to move on more issues?
5. DADT repeal and ENDA could get done soon, but I really don't think that DOMA will be repealed for a good, long while. We're 0-31 in the marriage fight at the state level and same-sex marriage polls poorly. There's no way Congress is going to pass that soon.
6. Outside of a small group of gay megadonors (which hasn't signed on, as far as I can tell), are our dollars really enough to get attention? Considering how easily women got thrown under the bus this weekend, and how much more power they have in the party than we do, I don't know if we have the power to hold Democrats to their promises.
7. Um, so if it weren't for ENDA, DOMA, and DADT, would the DNC be alright? I mean, if the GOP announced tomorrow that they support us on these three issues, then does that mean we should donate to John Boehner?
On the other hand:
1. Better late than never!
2. The real charges are not passing ENDA nor repealing DADT and DOMA, everything else seems to be icing. And it's completely true that ENDA hasn't already been passed and that DADT and DOMA are still in effect. Plus, speaking truth to power is overrated. (I'm serious! It's not like power doesn't already know what it's doing.)
3. The ENDA is currently trans-inclusive, and it seems unlikely that it'll get split. Plus, transgender job protections are more popular than same-sex marriage and much easier to pass, so, in my prognostication, they'll happen faster than DOMA repeal anyway. The boycott won't end without transgender job protections.
4. The Democrats have already enacted important new laws, and they'll help me personally more than DADT and DOMA repeal will since I don't plan on ever marrying or joining the military. And if we're going to bring every issue in here, then the war in Iraq is still going on, the occupation of Afghanistan is going to get ratcheted up by the Democrats, the Democrats are rather blase about women's reproductive freedom, the administration is attached to Bush's dictatorial power grabs, the stimulus wasn't big enough, money keeps on getting funneled from the Treasury into rich people's pockets, and Congress has done nothing to help queer homeless youth. Why should I defend the Democrats now?
5. Nothing's wrong with a never-ending refusal to donate to an organization. There are innumerable orgs that I completely disagree with and would therefore never dream of donating to. It would kinda help, though, to have a party to the left of the Democrats to represent the left-most 70% of America.
6. Maybe we do. I don't really know. This is the point where Democrats decide how important of a constituency we are to them, and we should be ready for what happens if they decide that we're not.
7. No, they wouldn't, but I've never donated to the DNC or a Democratic political candidate (in fact, the ACLU's the only political or legal advocacy group that's gotten any money from me), so that's probably why I won't shed any tears over the money they'll lose from this boycott. I said I'd withhold judgment on this administration until a health care bill gets passed, and, while it's not looking good, I'll keep to that.
But the DNC has a pretty terrible record of supporting conservative incumbents in primary races, keeping the party further to the right than it should be. Plus there's no reason most people can't just donate to specific candidates they like, and Obama's not having an election any time soon.
There was never a reason to donate to the DNC for most people, and there's no reason to donate to Obama's campaign right now. There are plenty of specific Democrats who are good on our issues and plenty of others, but that's not what we're talking about here.
What else: This is a great way to get attention for the issues. The mainstream media loved our criticism of Obama over Rick Warren because it fit into their "Liberals have buyers' remorse" narrative. As we found out last week, now they want to say "Obama failed and Democrats will pay in 2010," and this fits neatly into that. Except for the fact that it's coming from the left instead of the right, so we'll see.