Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

The New Narrative in DC Politics: Newsweek and the Art of the Protest

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | March 19, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media, Politics, Politics
Tags: Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, gay protests, Get Equal, GetEqual, LGBT protest, Newsweek, Pelosi, protest, sit-in

Yesterday's blogswarm on ENDA generated dozens of blog posts and hundreds of calls to Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office and a piece in The Advocate, a national LGBT magazine with a circulation of 175,000.

On the other hand, the nonviolent sit-in conducted by GetEqual generated a piece in Newsweek, a national mainstream magazine with a circulation of 3,000,000.

newsweek-headline

A debate began yesterday in the LGBT community about which of these actions was more effective in calling attention to inaction on ENDA. Why is there any debate?

Eve Conant of Newsweek published an article last night entitled "Gay-Rights Protesters Stage Sit-In at Nancy Pelosi's Office: Leaders Stand Ready to Bail Out Activists." In it, she mentions the blogswarm in passing, but the bulk of the article is about the sit-in and the inaction on ENDA. This was followed up shortly by another Newsweek article by Kate Dailey, "Gay Activists Stage Civil Disobedience as Health Reform Gets Closer to a Vote."

Is it possible that GetEqual knows something about the media and politics that the more sedate advocacy elements of the LGBT community don't know, or don't want to know? I think so. Upsetting Congressmembers is no way to get access to Congressional offices, parties or celebrities, if that's your game. And that is part of the game. Someone has to be on the inside. But not everyone can be on the inside, or should be there.

Outside advocacy has its place too. I'm not advocating disruption for its own sake, by no means. But, frankly, patient advocacy and lobbying has resulted in a year-long delay in ENDA, and promises of more delay by the Speaker. Perhaps some media attention to this fact is not unwelcome.

Establishment types rushed to criticize GetEqual on listservs and blogs, faulting them for turning Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Congress and the public against us, saying they should have waited until the endless health insurance reform battles end, and suggesting that the sit-ins represented nothing more than a fit of pique that would accomplish nothing.

But the truth is that health insurance reform (it's not really health care reform anymore) will not be done next week or the week after that, as the reconciliation process drags on. Yes, I support health reform, and I have worked on it over the past year as well. I recall the words of the ancient Rabbi Hillel: "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?" I'm for health reform and ENDA.

I do understand their position. They cannot be seen as encouraging the more unruly elements, or they will lose their backstage pass. But I'm not a member of that club, so I don't have that to lose.

But there is an establishment criticism that must be addressed, and that is the idea that the sit-in was counterproductive. Let's look at how Newsweek's authors saw the sit-in.

The First Newsweek Article

The first article highlighted the protesters' cause in the first paragraph, rather than the protest itself.

The groups are fighting for her to take the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to the floor for a vote, Yandura told NEWSWEEK as he drove toward his home in D.C. to meet with other activists.

That in itself is a major victory. Instead of an article discussing "gays gone wild" or stressing frustration or anger, the tone is measured. She mentioned the blogswarm and the calls and emails from the community,

Next, she cited a statement from GetEqual that shows maturity and understanding of the political context.

"We understand that Speaker Pelosi and the rest of Congress are in the midst of passing health-care-reform legislation," said McGehee in the statement. "However, health care for many LGBTQ families is intimately connected to employment protections and we cannot wait a minute longer for those protections. We've already waited far too long."

After citing evidence that Speaker Pelosi is not going to present controversial bills to the House, the article ends with a call for human rights, evidence of massive job discrimination, and acknowledgement that pressure on an ally is sometimes necessary.

But activists say that politics should take a back seat to human rights and basic safety. "A recent study on discrimination found that 97 percent of transgender people who responded had experienced some level of harassment and 26 percent had been fired simply for being transgender," said David McElhatton, who is described in the statement as a transgender activist who participated in the San Francisco action today. "We thought we had an ally in Nancy Pelosi, but she has taken our equality for granted. We are not going to let up on her until she takes action to ensure that we are all protected in the workplace."

I can't imagine a better article to outline the issues to a mainstream audience.

The Second Newsweek Article

But the second Newsweek article is even better.

It first discusses the arrest of Lt. Dan Choi in protest of DADT. It moves on to discuss the Pelosi sit-in, and restates the issues on ENDA from the first article.

It ends by suggesting that more protest is a welcome development. Far from seeing the nonviolent action by GetEqual as a function of mere anger or frustration, it tacitly acknowledges that GetEqual's tactics so far are a sophisticated reflection of the political context in DC. It also implies that the magazine found the action by GetEqual to be newsworthy and worthy of continuation.

Whether this will fizzle out after today or become a new narrative in D.C. is yet to be seen. Leaders for the group sound like they're ready to make some noise and have the money and resources to keep this thing going for quite a while. Stay tuned--Conant is on the case, and more updates will be coming in throughout the week.

I believe that there is a place for nonviolent direct action, such as that conducted by GetEqual yesterday, when there has been a long course of more traditional politics that appears to be going nowhere.

Newsweek clearly believes that as well.

Gay activists everywhere take note: There is a new narrative in DC politics.


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Actually, as a child of the 60's I have to say it...

When being nice and advocating and asking politely fails doing a protest and sit in is the next logical step.

Thanks to those who protested and staged the sit in!

Rock On!

By nature, and even though I've never had the access or A-list cred, I tend to be more of the reserved insider type. But I gotta tell ya, I was sure glad that GetEqual did what they did. I'm glad that someone's telling the legacy organizations that a "new sherrif's in town."

So like Gina say's, "Rock On".

Newsweek didn't support or endorse any of yesterday's publicity stunts. They didn't in your words "suggest that more protest is a welcome development." Nowhere in their article is there even a hint of endorsement.

A Newsweek reporter simply wondered "Whether this will fizzle out after today or become a new narrative in D.C. is yet to be seen."

It's already fizzled out.

In the coming days there will be further reporting and analysis to determine if these publicity stunts serve any valuable purpose. These will be done by people who acknowledge the fact that this is 2010, not 1960.

How do you know it's fizzled out, Andrew? Do you know what's planned for tomorrow? Where's your evidence?

Because most people laughed at it Jillian. It was a stunt. It didn't even make the major media. It was simply an effort to raise money for yet another LGBT non-profit without a purpose - GetEqual.

If you want to be helpful, answer these questions and provide some evidence:

Do these actions further our movement?
Do these actions add to our base of support?
Do these actions change any votes in the Congress?

In this article you very intentionally misrepresented the content of a Newsweek blog post. Instead of simply being an uniformed cheerleader, answer the questions. Tell us HOW these actions have made progress.

Well since it is the day after we may have to wait a bit to see what the effect is. However it couldn't do less than Buffalo Joe lobbying has done.

I'd like to see that evidence too AndrewW. All my sources confirm more is to come. I can't wait to see what that might be.

Even though you cannot prove it is effective? Interesting.

Andrew, you just verified something I wrote about at my blog a while back: http://www.dyssonance.com/?p=1411

Not that it will matter much, but, eh, there ya go.

This "divide and conquer" bs, instead of answering some simple questions?

Not having any evidence to support a tactic is the problem. You remind me of the hamster that runs everyday on the spinning wheel, but gets nowhere.

Instead of going from cheerleader to paranoid, just ANSWER the questions and provide some evidence. I know you're not used to accountability, but it is important. It is necessary.

And yet, I did answer them. Twice.

And you pretend like I didn't.

Funny that...

Andrew: The definition of crazy is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. We have been pouring money into those so-called lobbying efforts for years with no effect whatsoever, even spurring the likes of the creation of NOM and other organizations to fight us. That's the effect of past efforts. Tell me. What is your strategy that's so different and so effective?

I agree Mykel. We've wasted million on "lobbying." We should have learned a long time ago that lobbying on LGBT-issues doesn't work. The community is finally recognizing that. But, simply switching to another unproven tactic like protest and publicity stunts doesn't solve the problem.

GetEqual is trying to raise money. I have contributed to many LGBT non-profits. I won't even consider GetEqual until they can provide some evidence that their plan for civil disobedience and protest will be effective. Their apparent strategy is to replicate efforts from the 1960s. The world has changed in 50 years, but maybe they're right. Maybe they have some research that confirms we'll gain support with these tactics. If they do, they should share it because the majority of the community believes protest does not help us.

Because we are now embracing accountability within our movement there are several groups that I'm aware of focused on winning full equality. They aren't trying to start another non-profit, they're trying to figure out a complete solution. I hope they succeed.

Interesting article today:"As pro-gay provisions stripped from health reform, pressure grows for votes on ENDA, DADT"

Click here to read the article from the San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, March 19, 2010

My personal preference is to press on all fronts. Let the lobbyists go in and make nice and beg for crumbs later in some undisclosed future. Also take direct action through protests, knocking on doors and speaking to people. Let artists speak about it in our art. Take stands and take action everywhere the opportunity presents itself.

"Also take direct action through protests, knocking on doors and speaking to people. Let artists speak about it in our art."

GetEqual didn't do that, they did publicity stunts. Talking to people (not yelling) and letting artists contribute to the cultural conversation would be helpful.

GetEqual did the stunts to raise money. So far, nobody has provided any evidence that these stunts actually help us.

How do you know they did the sit-ins to raise money, Andrew? I see no evidence of that.

Kip and Robin have launched a new non-profit GetEqual. During previous meetings they talked about "creating a brand" and getting attention. They started with enough money for these initial events and are trying to turn that into financial support. They have a few initial supporters (including Jonathon Lewis) but, they need it to transform into individual contributions to survive.

The organization is made up of former EqualityAcrossAmerica and JoinTheImpact non-profits.

I have no quarrel with another non-profit organization, but I think as part of their appeal and strategy they need to provide some evidence that their plans will be helpful and/or effective. If they believe in their strategy they should tell us how it will help.

I've contributed to many LGBT non-profits, but I'm not the only one that is now demanding accountability. With limited resources we should ALL be analyzing methods to determine their value.

Now for part 2.
And after that, part 3.
I suspect part 4 is still being planned, based on feedback from part 1.

Yes, more will be arrested. That can be a very different experience for trans people than GLBs. But it's either that or go Buddhist Monk. I'm glad that's not on the table, I was getting concerned about the possibility.

Antonia said:

"And yet, I did answer them. Twice."

These were the questions:

If you want to be helpful, answer these questions and provide some evidence:

Do these actions further our movement?
Do these actions add to our base of support?
Do these actions change any votes in the Congress?

Your answers:

YOUR actions (bitching) does not further our movement.
YOUR actions (bitching) does not add to our base of support.
YOUR actions (bitching) does not change any votes in Congress.

and

But, to be more accurate: Yes, to all.

Evidence. If you are so convinced these publicity stunts and/or civil disobedience are effective for LGBT issues, then surely you have some evidence.

Maybe provide a few verifiable examples in the past 20 years. With all your cheerleading, you must have plenty of examples. The issue is whether or not these actions are effective - asking for evidence is appropriate, unless you reject accountability. The same people who organized these stunts have suggested HRC is ineffective (and by extension lobbying) and if they have tactics that ARE effective, let's hear see some proof.

That's easy enough.

Um, Andrew?

Those weren't *my* answers.

Perhaps you could, you know, pay attention once in a while instead of just blindly responding?

I'm going to go off and laugh my ass off at you for a while.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | March 20, 2010 12:15 AM

Even better than small, militant actions like civil disobedience are mass, legal actions like the March on Washington, which terrified so many LGBT Democrats because it was an anti-Obama, anti-HRC rally.

The MOW marked a sea change in the movement, reflecting widespread disaffection with the hypocrisy and outright hostility of The Obama administration and Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

It’s not bad that people called Congress and the WH but it’s fruitless. They’re reluctant to give us what we want and in lockstep with the cults and the Republicans on most of our agenda.

What we haven’t seen for awhile but will see again, and soon, is mass civil disobedience. Examples are Tian'anmen Square and some of the anti-capitalist, anti-G8 protests (Seattle, Genoa) and the ongoing movement against the killer ayatollahs in Iran.

However those actions don't begin to approach the power of trade union general strikes, which recently produced major power shifts against the looter classes in Argentina, (2000) Spain (2002), Peru and Mexico (2006 - 2010) and in the Russian Federation (2007).

'"Because most people laughed at it..."

Andrew, would you be so kind as to produce some of your YouTube links showing masses of people in cities across the land howling with amusement at the queers. Or did you just make that up. (You don’t have to try to answer; I think we’re on to you.)

I only wish the participants in the National Equality March had handcuffed themselves to the White House so we could have counted them. There was never any consensus or verification on the number - estimates ranged from 20,000 to 200,000. Quite a difference.

Even the friendliest estimate doesn't suggest "mass demonstration" Bill. Politicians (including ours) laughed at it. The speeches contained relentless expressions of anger. I can't find any evidence that it was effective. Claims made by organizers are not evidence.

I have used focus group research in several cities to determine objectively whether or not members of our community and non-members believed the March was effective. The majority confirmed they saw "no value" in the March, but they were still supportive for the effort. The distinction is that people are actually encouraging something that they believe is ineffective. I suspect the same is true for other forms of direct action.

I agree with you that calls, emails and even lobbying are "fruitless," but I don't see mass demonstrations being resurrected by the LGBT Community. I think most in our community realize the world has changed and it is much more important for us to communicate than to demonstrate.

I appreciate your comment.

Saturday, March 20th, 2010
Washington DC

Dear Andrew,

As a card carrying member of the Washington Press Corps I am going to state with absolute authority and clarity, that from my perspective as 30 year veteran of mainstream political reporting; actions that were taken this past week on behalf of LGBT Americans by those who participated in the 'Blog-swarm,' DADT protest & publicity, and finally the sit-ins in the Congressional offices of the Speaker, had affect.

Lets be clear Andrew, these protests mirror the frustrations of Americans in general with the stagnant atmosphere the is so persuasive on the Hill on all issues. Why do you think that the far right has so successfully been able to galvanise the efforts of the 'Tea-Party' types?

Also, not once did I hear any of official Washington disparage or mock these actions by Gay activists as simply, "a bunch of whiny faggots."
Although in all honesty, one looks at say Lt. Dan Choi, and I personally think that using that particular slur might cause him to rip one's head off one's shoulders, defecate in resulting cavity and oh yeah, insert one's head up one's arse. Of course that's just because he looks formidable.

My point is, that this is a new era Andrew.
This is not the 60's or 70's. What you are seeing is a concerted efforts by Americans to let the Congress and the policy makers know, in a crystal clear way, that they have had enough.

Civic participation Andrew to achieve specific goals, from this reporter's point of view, is still sometimes best accomplished by direct means. Citizens, LGBT folk, Americans all, are displeased, very.

Also Andrew, that those of us in the press corps "get it." I also need to point out that all forms of major media organisations by the way also covered the WH DADT incident as well as the dual sit-ins in Speaker's offices.

Now, conventional lobbying? I had a quite pleasant conversation on the phone with Dr. Weiss nearly a month ago on the topic of ENDA after a column of hers generated a great deal of debate here at Bil's Media outlet. We discussed the need for citizens to make personal appearances, and to approach lawmakers on their own turf.
I told her then, I'll say it now, both House pay attention to that. Why? Because actions on issues like this can also translate into loss or gain of monetary considerations and votes during campaigns. Yup, the "pink" dollar in this case, has direct affect on Congressional though patterns in terms of the votes.

Now, Let me address charges of 'political grandstanding' such as chaining one's self to the WH fence. I have in my career seen many changes come about that were inspired directly by events such as Lt. Choi's, that motivated others to take up the cause and insure that changes will occur.
Sometimes, the and I shall quote him as he was released on Friday, "We may be been caged physically, but the message is clear to those that think equality can be purchased with a donation or with a cocktail party."

Actions can Andrew and oft times do translate into political trees that bear the fruits of positive change. This type of civil disobedience does have affects that are far reaching. I am of the opinion that the Monday morning armchair quarterbacking simply has no place or merits serious considerations if one does not actively participate. As journalist Andrew, I can say that as I report on it daily.

Sincerely,


Brody Levesque

"I also need to point out that all forms of major media organisations by the way also covered the WH DADT incident as well as the dual sit-ins in Speaker's offices."

Very few mainstream media outlets covered the WH DADT incident. Substantially fewer covered the Pelosi stunts.

I have admitted that these efforts are designed to garner attention and that they have in fact done so. The question is "to what end?" and do they effect "public opinion" or "increase support for our cause." Are they really effective, and if so what's the evidence. Your occupation and endorsement is not evidence.

"Because actions on issues like this can also translate into loss or gain of monetary considerations and votes during campaigns. Yup, the "pink" dollar in this case, has direct affect on Congressional thought patterns in terms of the votes."

Anti-gay politicians are from States like Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia and Oklahoma (to name a few). There are very few "pink dollars" in these areas, especially compared to "religious dollars." There is NO evidence that we have been successful in changing minds/votes because we might withhold our political donations.

Fifty percent of the US Senate is Anti-gay. Not a single one of them is concerned about any threats regarding campaign contributions. The "other side" contributes more than 50 times the amount we manage to scrape together. With the exception of Tim Gil (in specific, targeted contests), we do not represent a sizable/organized financial component of elections. Perhaps, we should.

If you have real evidence to the contrary, please provide that. I am interested in verification that an action or tactic successfully changed a politicians mind/vote, not just your enlightened assertions.

"This type of civil disobedience does have affects that are far reaching. I am of the opinion that the Monday morning armchair quarterbacking simply has no place or merits serious considerations if one does not actively participate."

These actions may or may not have far-reaching effects, that isn't entirely known. But, the real issue is whether or not these actions produce positive results. Even before they are launched it is possible to determine if they are, in fact, useful. That wasn't done in this instance because people believe they are effective simply because "that's the way we've always done it." That isn't evidence and it ignores the reality that the world has changed dramatically.

I do not believe holding tactics accountable is "Monday morning quarterbacking." We agree these action will have consequences, but we have no evidence if they are likely to be helpful.

Finally, the suggestion that I am not "participating" is without any merit. I have participated financially in numerous efforts and I have spent the last year - with the help of several hundred people throughout the country - in a very honest and objective analysis of not only our movement, but all the tactics, strategies, ideas and even organizations committed to LGBT equality. That effort has produced one very obvious and stunning result - our movement lacks accountability. We do not seek any justification or rationale for methods we use and we do not hold organizations accountable. THAT is our biggest problem.

Recently a Blogswarm was launched to hold HRC accountable. While this effort called into question the effectiveness of HRC, it could have instead focused on their primary effort: lobbying. There is significant evidence that lobbying the US Congress does NOT work. So, perhaps the anger at HRC should have focused on their methods and a determination of whether or not, as a community, we should continue to fund HRC. That is the important question.

These are very important questions Brody, and they NEED to be answered. I appreciate your comment.

Just as an observation, you cannot hold tactics accountable.

You can only hold people accountable.

A successful tactic draws more people to it. That's how you measure it's success.

It is, however, a tactic -- and anyone who thinks that only one tactic is going to be successful in a campaign not only hasn't read the art of war or Machiavelli's several books, but doesn't know what the hell they are talking about.

rapid butterfly | March 20, 2010 9:06 AM

Ms. D'orsay: why the horse laugh as a lead-off comment?

AndrewW: under the guise of apparent reasonableness, you ask for "evidence" that the protests help us. And yet, elsewhere you point out, with some truth, that hearts and minds need to be changed - if I've understood you, among the legislators and public alike, for real change to occur. So how exactly would there be evidence today or tomorrow of that kind of shift based on this action?

And because your request for "evidence" cannot possibly have been verified or falsified yet, but you conclude there's no evidence and therefore the action was unsuccessful, it makes me think you're being disingenuous at least in this thread. And I wonder why you would do that among friends (fellow LGTBTQ people).

It isn't hard to produce evidence that protest is effective - if it was available. We have a great deal of research and feedback that many in the LGBT community think these efforts are counterproductive. So, it appears that many actually believe they are ineffective. I have suggested that anyone who organizes and/or promotes these stunts has an obligation to provide a compelling argument for their effectiveness.

I have suggested that sooner or later we need to "change hearts and minds" and we need to get people to join us. Instead of being an angry minority, we should focus on becoming a strong majority. This can only be done by getting people to stand with us for full equality. We need to communicate, not demonstrate, in order for that to happen.

I recently spoke with two Board Members of HRC about the Aravosis Blogswarm. They understood the impatience, but not the aggression of many members of the LGBT community. They admitted they could no longer simply dismiss these calls for "accountability." I asked both individuals if they knew how many Americans "supported our full equality?" They had NO idea. Wouldn't you agree that's a good starting point?

My efforts have focused on winning. I have used my money and several hundred people have contributed ideas, strategies, methods and considerable analysis. I DO NOT want another non-profit and I will NEVER make a living off of the struggle for LGBT equality. I simply want to win.

To that end, nothing is sacred or off limits or presumed effective. Everything is under review and must stand on its own merits. If a tactic does not contribute to achieving equality is must be retired. That's why GetEqual and others must substantiate the value of their tactics, strategies and plans - much in the same way they are trying to hold HRC accountable.

We need to focus on winning, not fighting, or struggling, or protesting - but, on winning.

Direct ACTION is here to stay!
Every body rock!

Andrew - are you still here annoying the shit out of everyone and wasting valuable air space? :-) BTW - i need the proof of your figure: 50% of 30 million lgbt are still in the closet. I quote you everywhere on that - but need some support... seriously. Please. But that doesn't detract from my comment here to you. SHOW US YOUR PLAN baby! Whip it out!

xoTif
p.s. Inspired by DC events - we shut down the recruitment office in Times Square too... and then separately, phone-dogged the Immigration Rally organizers for NOT having even ONE LGBT Group speaking at Sunday's Rally - using the on-line direct action groups Queer Rising and GetEqual and Out4Immigration. This stuff works!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dT0HE4cQTcs

"using the on-line direct action groups Queer Rising and GetEqual and Out4Immigration. This stuff works!"

Please define "works." You know we need to substantiate the effectiveness of tactics Tif - especially because these groups are ALSO asking for donations.

I don't know if you support accountability from your comment. Plus, the research we discussed will be made available soon. The starting point is to get the community to embrace accountability. If that's not possible, there is no movement, there is just more of the same. You know that.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | March 20, 2010 10:37 AM

Its way too soon to say how any of this will play out. Join the Impact, National Equality March, and Equality Across America all kicked off with a bang and then fizzled because other than a few showy actions there was no "there" there.

Kip and Robin are smart and enormously talented activists and I am hoping they will be able to build something that has a real impact.

We definitely need more people engaged in serious action, but we also more strategic actions that are designed to be effective.

Excellent point, Michael. I agree with you one hundred percent. I promise you I will do everything in my small power to make sure that direct action continues on a regular basis for ENDA, that it be directed to specific, measurable results in the legislative process, and that it is better designed to get positive media attention.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | March 20, 2010 11:09 AM

You are doing kick ass work Jillian! Keep it up.

Michael,

Kip and Robin are tireless advocates for LGBT Equality. We can agree on that much. Because of that, they have an obligation to present a rational argument for the effectiveness of "direct action." They do need the support of the community (financial and participation) and that is achieved by having a strategy and plan - with evidence of its probable effectiveness.

There website simply encourages people to "demand" our full equality. If there is evidence that these "demands" will be well received and effective, they should share that information. If demanding leads to results, show us how.

People have been "demanding" good schools, honest politicians, magic diet pills and hair-loss remedies for decades - with no results.

Demanding, no matter the volume or intensity, does not create results. Perhaps, this is what you meant by:

"Join the Impact, National Equality March, and Equality Across America all kicked off with a bang and then fizzled because other than a few showy actions there was no "there" there."

There must also be a map - a way to get "there." I'm assuming you meant "winning." We need to determine "how" and "when."

Kathleen of Norfolk | March 21, 2010 12:43 AM

Andrew,
Can't y'all just agree that you are not going to agree and move on? Personally, I don't support these tactics any more than I do those pulled by the tea party protestors on Saturday. Others associated with the LGBT political movement have felt differently. They took initiative and they acted upon their beliefs. More power to them and I hope they are right. If they are, they win and events will prove me (and you) wrong. I'd trade me eating a little crow for ENDA. If they are wrong, we are probably are not a whole lot worse off. If anything, an overreach by the Get Equal crowed will improve HRC's standing via a Clintonesque bit of triangulation.

I want to underscore your point about triangulation, Kathleen. I think that, whether or not the GetEqual action is received by Pelosi as a message that ENDA cannot be ignored, it will provide an impetus to the Dems to want to deal with the more reasonable factions. While I think that HRC, NCTE and other legacy and legacy-related organizations have been ineffective with ENDA, it's clear they have a great deal of access precisely because of their namby-pamby approach. Ordinarily, I'm a big fan of that approach. The problem is that the namby-pamby approach is too easily ignored in times of crisis. And that is precisely what is happening, if the information I am getting from DC is correct. Someone from the outside needs to give the Dems a kick in the pants that is going to make them prefer working with the reasonable faction. And what's the harm? I'm happy to be called a loose cannon and to be differentiated from the reasonable guys, if it's going to get some movement. Aaar, fear the black-hearted pirate, Weiss... I'm already getting emails from friends enraged over my association with GetEqual. I expected that, and here they are, right on cue. Well, I value ENDA and jobs for our people more than frenemies.

Juston Thouron Juston Thouron | March 21, 2010 2:38 PM

Exactly Jillian. Let the HRC be the ones Dems feel "comfortable" talking to about ENDA. But the reason/topic for the conversation will be the anger of the LGBT community communicated via every route possible; direct action in D.C. and around the country by GetEqual and QR, coordinated and individual online/calling actions, celebrity actions, etc...

BTW, we also need to get Dems whipping Dems. It would require only a couple of Senators to raise awareness of LGBT issues if they were willing to commit to loud and public actions. e.g There is nothing holding back a Senator from getting arrested protesting DADT (like Choi) and ENDA, is there? Talk about only getting a slap on the wrist, the risk is nil but the reward for their campaigns and the visibility of our issues could be massive.

GetEqual is last year's EqualityAcrossAmerica and the year before's JoinTheImpact.

Unless they show us some evidence and a Plan, they'll be over soon, too. No organization should be seeking our financial support or participation unless they are able to support their tactics, methods and strategies.

"David Mixner told me so" or "I have studied history" is NOT evidence. It's 2010 and the world has changed - we must, too. We can start by figuring out what actually works. Instead of settling for feeling useful we need to know we actually being effective.