Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

GetEqual Has The Right Idea: Hold Our Congressional Leaders Accountable

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | July 16, 2010 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: accountability, Barney Frank, Democratic politicians, gay friendly, George Miller, GetEqual, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi

Bil yesterday attacked GetEqual's latest campaign, accusing it of "attacking friends and ignoring enemies."frenemies.jpg

What fresh idiocy is this? GetEqual has launched their newest action and this time they're asking the public to vote which politician they should "hold accountable" for Congress' failure to pass ENDA.

Bil doesn't like that they chose to target Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, George Miller and Barney Frank.

These are our friends! says Bil. They're on our side! Why not go after a Republican or a Blue-Dog Democrat?

There's one good reason not to be targeting a Republican or a Blue-Dog Democrat: they are not the ones with the power to move our agenda, and they are not the reason our agenda is failing.

Our Democratic Congressional leaders are the ones with the power to move our agenda, they have totally dropped the ball, and now they want to blame it on the minority party and their inability to control a few rogue Democrats.

I say, give 'em hell, GetEqual!

I first want to point out that I agree with Bil on one point: GetEqual doesn't have a coherent strategy in place, and that is a problem.

At the same time, GetEqual is right in asking that these leaders be "held accountable." It's not saying they're not friendly, or it wants to unseat them, or campaign against them, or that they're evil.

Yes they're our friends. And that's why it's appropriate to hold them accountable.

Holding someone accountable is pointing out where they could do better on keeping their promises and achieving their goals.

Republicans and Blue-Dogs have, as their promises and goals, taking away any rights from us. There's no holding them accountable for gay rights.

Bil suggests there is a problem with asking for accountability from Pelosi, Reid, Frank and Miller:

The problem? They've only picked Democrats who are LGBT supporters as targets; Republican opposition and conservative Blue Dog Dems who actually held up ENDA are given a free pass.

If my friend promises to lend me $5 at the supermarket, and I get to the checkout counter and then he reneges, I hold her accountable by saying "hey, you promised me a fiver, what gives?"

Someone might argue, like Bil, that, hey, what about all the other people who didn't lend you $5, why don't you go attack them?

it's not the same, and it doesn't excuse the first friend who made a promise.

Pelosi, Frank and Miller made promises about ENDA, or at least very strong representations that they were going to back it and move it quickly.

Bil calls this a "blame the victim mentality."

Bil, I love ya but I don't agree. Calling Pelosi, Miller and Frank "victims" assumes they had no power to change the result. And that's not true.

Am I arguing that they had the power to pass ENDA and chose not to use it?

Yes, that is exactly what I am arguing.

I think that they didn't use the power they had to get ENDA passed.

That first occurred when there were rumors of an ENDA slowdown on the Hill in early November of last year.

No one at that point could say there were insufficient votes. There were also many more co-sponsors of ENDA than for many other bills that successfully move through markup, and it was quite clear at that point that there were enough votes.

Re-read my article on the slowdown of ENDA from last November. You'll note in the comments section someone from Barney Frank's office telling me that I was seriously misreading the situation, asking me to calm down, and saying that ENDA was on track for a markup and vote soon.

As it turns out, it was he misreading the situation.

ENDA's scheduled markup was postponed a week later, never to return.

At that point in a bill's life there is no whip count because the language of the bill has not been finalized, so insufficient votes could not logically have been the reason. And as I noted, there appeared to be plenty of votes for ENDA. To the extent that the vote needed a bit more shoring up, and in this Congress every vote needs shoring, it would have made sense to mark up the bill, coordinate with advocates to make a major push on the House votes, and take the vote and move it to the Senate, where there was already a majority in favor of ENDA (though a few more votes were needed that the momentum could have only helped). That would have taken advantage of much momentum in the advocacy community on ENDA.

Instead, what happened? They stopped progress on ENDA. Strong advocacy efforts were stopped dead in their tracks. Some stories from Hill staffers were floated in the LGBT media about how ENDA was dead, with the Senate being wrongfully and hypothetically blamed.

DADT repeal surged ahead.

I believe it is fair to say that, had the momentum on ENDA been continued, and advocacy efforts stepped up, that we could have gotten over the hump. I do not believe that anyone can say with authority that ENDA was really dead at the point it was stopped in the legislative process, or that Pelosi, Miller and Frank could not have garnered enough support to pass it.

There's plenty of blame to go around. But part of the social contract of leadership is that you bear responsibility for your choices. When you choose, as Pelosi, Miller and Frank did, to stop the most important piece of LGBT legislation in its tracks, then it is appropriate to say that was a poor choice.

Now the revisionist story is being floated that there weren't enough votes. But this argument fails to address the fact that stopping the legislation in its tracks blocked it from obtaining those necessary votes.

It's important to hold legislators accountable. Look what happened in 2007, after Representative Frank removed gender identity from ENDA and it passed the House. Lots of gay people applauded -- we passed ENDA, let's not now point a finger at Representative Frank in the hour of his victory.

But 400 LGBT organizations rose up in protest. They held Representative Frank accountable for his poor choice. They made it clear that throwing transgender people under the bus was unacceptable. And what happened? Did the earth open up and swallow those 400 LGBT organizations who held their "friend" accountable?

No, what happened was that Representative Frank recognized the error of his ways, and the 2009 version contained gender identity, and many statements were made by Representative Frank and other Congressional allies that never again would transgender people be left by the wayside on ENDA.

We need that to happen again. But this time, we're not trying to improve ENDA, we're trying to show its importance.

As I have said in the past, I am not mad at Speaker Pelosi, Representative Frank or Representative Miller. They are good people trying to do good work.

But on this one, they missed the ball.

When the coach points out that you dropped the ball, you have two choices. You can get mad at the lousy coach and say how dare she, doesn't she know how hard I am working on catching the ball?

Or you can acknowledge the error, and take the coaching, and become a better player.

Which type of player will Representatives Pelosi, Frank and Miller be?


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In June you quit politics Jillian. Now you have a "scorched earth" policy - just like GetEQUAL.

You are delusional if you think our Democratic leaders "have the power to move our Agenda" when they DON'T HAVE ENOUGH VOTES. Pelosi, Miller and Frank DO NOT have the power or influence to change the minds/votes of US Senators. Obama doesn't either.

On June 15th you wrote on Bilerico:

"I'm over the idea that politics is going to save us."

I understood your reaching that conclusion. But, please explain what BENEFIT there is to alienating our friends. Maybe they're not great friends, but they also don't have enough votes to pass our legislation, so what benefit is there in slapping them? Does it simply make you feel better? Making you feel better or anyone else is not the goal of our movement.

GetEQUAL has NEVER provided a sane and/or logical rationale for their silly publicity stunts. Neither have you. You have also pointed out they really don't have a cohesive strategy or purpose. It's simple - Kip and Robin were hired by Jonathan Lewis and Paul Yandura to "embarrass Democrats." Maybe it makes Jon and Paul feel good to spend $500,000 to publicly humiliate our political friends, but it is counterproductive. It doesn't provide any benefit or any progress. It is simply stupid.

We do not have enough votes in the US Senate. Your suggestion that "we don't know" how many votes we have is silly. We KNOW we don't have enough support in the Senate. That must change.

Your latest post wants to assign blame for our failure to pass any legislation in this Congress (especially ENDA) and while it mat be gratifying to blame our friends, we must simply blame ourselves. Only 10% of our community even cares to participate or contribute to our movement. That fact should give all of us pause. Until we inspire our community and ignite a real movement, we will make very little progress.

Maybe the mid-terms will be our wake up call. Maybe, like you did last month, people will realize there is no "political solution" to LGBT equality and we'll stop blaming each other and stop engaging in childish stunts and ineffective tactics. Maybe then we'll get to work creating our equality.

Maybe.

Chitown Kev | July 16, 2010 3:06 PM

"Only 10% of our community even cares to participate or contribute to our movement. That fact should give all of us pause. Until we inspire our community and ignite a real movement, we will make very little progress."

On this point right here, AndrewW, we are agreed.

"Only 10% of our community even cares to participate or contribute to our movement."

Where are you getting that statistic? In the last off election, 88% of lesbians and 89% of gay men were found to have voted. Assuming that transgender people are reasonably comparable to this, it seems odd that folks who are so likely to vote would be so unlikely to participate in our movement.

Chitown Kev | July 16, 2010 3:34 PM

Voting = movement participation?

Really?

That's part of the problem. There have been reports and studies on LGBT apathy; I think that Alex Blaze even wrote something here about that.

There have been several reports about the lack of participation in our movement. (I think LGBTmap.org has a recent study).

I conducted research in an effort to figure out why LGBT people weren't participating and confirmed the number to be about 10%, consistent with other studies. The main reason people said they didn't participate was "they didn't think we could win" at 62% or almost two-thirds. The second reason was "they did and it's a waste of time." So, they either don't believe we can win or they are frustrated or both.

I think many young people will participate, but it better make sense and it better demonstrate a verifiable path to victory. Show people HOW to WIN and they'll participate.

Again, Andrew W, I must ask of you as I have for months now - when are you planning to share your research and with whom?

AndrewW, I am shocked by the brevity of your response. However you did not answer the question of 'when.' In a week, a month, longer?

AndrewW, I am shocked by the brevity of your response. However you did not answer the question of 'when.' In a week, a month, longer?

Soon.

I'm not sure the LGBT Community is ready to actually "win." It takes a change in thinking. Jillian was there, but recently went into relapse. But, I am going to keep an eye on here.

Holding my breath, AndrewW.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 17, 2010 7:02 AM

Please, DJ, don't hold your breath unless you book a room in an ER.

"I understood your reaching that conclusion. But, please explain what BENEFIT there is to alienating our friends. Maybe they're not great friends, but they also don't have enough votes to pass our legislation, so what benefit is there in slapping them? Does it simply make you feel better? Making you feel better or anyone else is not the goal of our movement."

Calling Ms. Pelosi and company friends is like a mouse calling that cat that is after her a friend. She promised a vote and reneged...not once, but often. Is it a scorched earth policy to not continue to play the role of "Charlie Brown" to the Pelosi "Lucy?" I don't think so.

Ms. Pelosi is no friend to the T portion of the LGBT movement.

I'm curious. Do you believe we have any "Political friends?"

This comment has been deleted for violation of the Terms of Service.

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Chitown Kev | July 16, 2010 3:53 PM

I need to add that I don't mean to demean the importance of voting.

I only mean that don't think that merely voting constitutes "activism."

I do think that maybe we do need a working definition of what does constitute "activism." My general sense of it si that most LGBT's vote and that many of us donate and that's kind of the extent of it.

My issue here with Dr. Weiss, I think, is that she is talking about the micro-issue of ENDA vs. DADT. My general sense of it has always been that DADT may be easier to pass than a trans-inclusive ENDA because of the trans factor making some squeamish.

Although not necessarily the President, who does go out of his way, it seems, to be trans-inclusive. That's where his "fierce advocacy" in twisting arms may have made a difference.

I just don't think that this is an either/or thing. We can encourage our allies to live up to what they have stated that they will do on these issues AND "attack our enemies" at the same time.

I guess you're right, Bil. I do agree with Jillian.

Wow, you're really far sighted but hey as long as your happy we piss off the Dems, who cares about the deprives who will suffer under the Repubs?

But I guess you still have your job, your situation and so it doesn't matter.

Nice. Real nice.

Re the writer?

Can we get a strategy that isn't self involved and makes you happy to pick on the people who are at least not wanting to KILL you like the Repubs??

Or are you so used to being bullied that you'd rather pick on that person who helped you when the bully punched you in the guts but didn't try and fight the bully because he/she were 10x as small?

America land of the progressives, denied marriage to gays.

Even Argentina is more enlightened-is this not embarressing? Do you not think you should work the grassroots first????

Should you not be fighting the NOM tour bus?

Do you not realise that the REPUBS are blocking EVERYTHING?

Woah.


What wild hair got caught in a spot hidden from the sun? I posted a comment to a conversation Bil and I had earlier today. I don't recall you being included.

Then maybe you should send him a personal email and not post on a blog post!??

If I'm not mistaken, I have the right on how I wish to comment to Bil. I will take your suggestion under advisement.


Not.

I agree with Jillian on this and she has great reasoning above. We must hold the leaders including Obama accountable and I have not problem with some protests to show them we are not happy with their actions or lack of actions!

I also realize the Republicans should be held accountable as well and that is why things like the protest at his AZ office are a good idea. (And yes I know Andrew does not agree so I will say so far you Andrew)

How is acting like a child by trying to embarrass Democrats holding them accountable? If you can answer that, please do so.

Jillian's Post is about satisfying anger or frustraion, it isn't about achieving results.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 17, 2010 7:44 AM

"How is acting like a child by trying to embarrass Democrats holding them accountable? If you can answer that, please do so."

There is no answer to slander AW. And for the record I want to point out that your comparison of protesters and activists to children having fits is about as offensive as it gets. Plan on being called out every time you do it.

To say that protesters and activists are childish is the politics of the extreme right. It mimics the behavior of Richard Nixon, who described antiwar protesters as "“these bums, y'know, blowing up the campuses”... on May 1st, 1970. That slander led directly and immediately to the murders at Kent State on May 4th, 1970 and Jackson State. Thankfully the only effect of your slanders is to leave a sour taste in our throats.

Calling Sam Adams, Ben Franklin, Tecumseh, Sojourner Truth, John Brown, Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Sitting Bull, millions of union members and opponents of genocidal wars in Vietnam and Iraq and hundreds of thousands of LGBT people childish is movement busting, pure and simple.

“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” Abraham Lincoln

"When an individual is protesting society's refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.” Bayard Rustin


Karavision Karavision | July 16, 2010 7:35 PM

With the best congressional makeup that we could ever have hoped for effectively squandered, I would like for every progressive cause to pull their support for the democrats. The dark ages cannot come back in one term and I honestly think that the dems figured that after 8 years of bush we would all put up with anything. You know that rahm and obama figured it. I think that an embarrassing(sp?) Loss for the democrats will get them listening to progressives as opposed to just depending on them while they pander to everyone else.

I fail to see what can be enacted in another two terms that is not here already. Is the danger that great? It feels like we are no further along than we were at the end of bush.

We don't have 60 votes in the US Senate. We NEED 60 votes in the US Senate.

Andrew brunch is off. You just don't have the stomach for exercising real power. Your surveys and your stances are about as realistic as Bush landing on an aircraft carrier and declaring victory.

Let me know when you are willing to articulate a strategy. All I hear from you is obfuscation and delusion. Sorry sweetie but your ilk has never accomplished squat throughout all of recorded history.

Kisses and hugs big boy.

Out of 20 comments, six were made by Andrew, and true to form, they all lack substance. This is a good time to remind people of our "Ignore Andrew Campaign," or "IAC." Just think of the signs you see at zoos, "Don't feed the Andrew."

This was only a test. Had it been a real Andrew emergency, you would have been informed on which blog you would have had to log into for further instructions. This is only a test, conducted by the Bilerico Broadcasting System (BBS). We now return you to your regularly scheduled comment section.

Andrew makes clear points and I enjoy reading him. You made a bitchy personal attack. I do not like reading you as your attacking of others adds nothing to this forum and makes you look like vidictive, petty and disturbed trash.

Enough. Andrew isn't the topic of the post and he's entitled to his opinion. Keep it on topic, folks, and don't waste time slamming each other. It accomplishes nothing.

Those lawmakers that don't support ENDA are supporting discrimination.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 17, 2010 10:05 AM

Exactly.

And it makes them functional bigots irrespective of their 'secret' good will or their 'fierce' promises.

"functional bigots". I've never heard that one before. I like that. Do I cite you or someone else...

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 19, 2010 11:28 AM

You can't define bigotry simply by what people, especially politicians and 'religious' figures say. Their careers begin and end with lies. (1) Politicians and all but a few lawyers are members of the world's second oldest profession and cult leaders are simply parasites.

It's more realistic to define the role of politicians and cult leaders by what they do. Our agenda is not a fight for 'special privileges'. Essentially it's centered on shielding ourselves from the effects of pervasive intolerance, harassment, bullying and the occasional but ever present threat of violence. Dana Lane is 100% correct saying those who refuse our agenda support discrimination, and I think we should describe them as bigots and tell people why.

(1) Bill Clinton is a good example. In 1992, in a three way race with Perot and Bush1 Clinton desperately needed votes and was the first major party candidate to cultivate the GLBT vote in a big way. He called for hope, change and promised what we now call a fierce defense. Within months he caved on DADT and signed military bigotry into federal law. In 1996 he championed DOMA, signed it and boasted about it in election ads. He remained a bitter opponent of same sex marriage until very recently when it became clear to him that most of us think of him as a bigot. Now he wants forgiveness.

Like most lawyers and all politicians he's been trained to ignore what's true and what isn't and concentrate on winning.

Caveat emptor. Especially when you're dealing with Democrats. The looter rich much prefer working with Democrats like Obama and the Clintons - they're greedier, they fool more people and they're able to get away with a lot more than Republicans.

I've been using that formulation for a while and is probably mine but it's a very realistic view and lots of people could have come up with the same or similar formulations. The concept is far more important than the author.

Efforts to resuscitate GetEQUAL have failed.

Andrew has no answers. He refuses to answer questions and acts as if he is intellectually superior, when in fact he simply doesn't wish to face facts...this congress has done zero to help the trans community...and slightly more than zero in regards to the LG community. Pres. Obama has done more, but everything he has done could be undone by another President...and that is going to happen...in either two or six years. We need LAWS that protect us. Speaker Pelosi isn't providing that.

I can't wait for a non-answer from Andrew!

Enough. Andrew isn't the topic of the post and he's entitled to his opinion. Keep it on topic, folks, and don't waste time slamming each other. It accomplishes nothing.

Bil-
Enough indeed.
I would suggest that AndrewW slams with nearly every posting. Your credibility suffers, Bil, when you only protect those with whom you share a common agenda and not those who thoughtfully disagree Perhaps it is time that you reveal your motivation in all of this, sooner rather than later.
How did you get from http://bit.ly/9WxQDo to here?
-David

The first thing I'd say, DJ, is that a personal friendship is irrelevant when you think someone is doing something that damages the work of our entire movement. Just because Bil or I are friends with Kip doesn't mean we should be silent when we think he's wrong.

I count several of the GetEqual people as friends, but I still think they're utterly misguided in how they're using direct action and the targets they are choosing.

But your attacks on Bil are just ridiculous. First, it's just logically inconsistent to point to one comment thread and say it makes a pattern. More importantly, you're saying Bil shuts down those who disagree with in the comment thread of a post where someone disagrees with him. It really does nothing for your credibility to make such demonstrably false accusations.

This whole thread is off topic and should be deleted, if you ask me.

Jermane Davies wrote: "This whole thread is off topic and should be deleted, if you ask me."

If you ask ME, it looks like you guys really love your power to censor, silence and shut down, don't you. The intra-commenter comments are part of the discussion. You guys would make great prison guards.

I don't love the power to censor, but I do think it's necessary. Some people are unbelievably mean-spirited.

Tina (IL) | July 17, 2010 1:30 PM

one can not mention another person, or else one is violating standards? It appears that someone...perhaps who the site is named after, is interested in protecting certain other people. The comments I've seen are on topic...but I guess the person, who shall remain nameless, controls the thought process here. Sad.

Actually, Tina it's quite clear that you're skirting TOS here. AndrewW is not the topic or even mentioned in this post, yet your comment twice mentions AndrewW in a disparaging way. Not only is attacking another person against our Terms of Service, but so is being off topic in the comment thread. Anything to do with what you think about AndrewW is off-topic.

Finally, if your comments weren't welcome, they'd be deleted - not challenged as they have been here. It's foolish to say that you can't speak your mind when your comment - you know, the one that gives voice to your opinion - is still right here on the page.

It's also kind of myopic - since this piece from Jill DIRECTLY contradicts Bil's previous post on GetEqual. She's arguing WITH HIM ON HIS OWN BLOG. So how can dissent or contradictory ideas NOT be allowed? It's not dissent we don't want, but juvenile behavior.

You were skirting very clearly defined (and quite lenient by most standards) guidelines for civil debate. We don't care what you think about other commenters - we care what you think of the post and the information therein. Take your personal issues elsewhere.

Now, let's get this thread back on topic. This conversation thread is wrapped.

I just want to get some clarification here, if you don't mind? You're basically saying that it is okay for a person to come onto this blog to constantly post multiple comments that have no constructive criticism of the article's contents, make unsubstantiated claims, quote unsubstantiated figures, does not provide any proof of what they say, and for all practical purposes, tells everyone who comments on the article that their ideas are f---ed up without really proving proof to the contrary, acts like the very people that we label our "enemies," and we're suppose to be okay with this kind of behavior in order to "stick with the thread," yet that person becomes the thread by their own design? Would you accept this behavior from one of your contributors on a constant basis without saying anything to them? If you answer "Yes" or "No" to the last question, then there appears to be a problem here.

That's a good point, Monica. There is an unclear line between our rule against off-topic comments and the inherent right to refute incorrect statements. I think what Jerame is saying is that the line is currently being drawn at the point where a series of comments become less about discussing the points made in the post and more about whether a certain commenter is a good or a bad person. My guess is that a single personal comment would likely be let to slide, but when the whole comment thread begins to focus on a certain commenter, it's not. Of course, these aren't hard and fast rules, but I think in this case Jerame's point is justified. Of course we have a right to disagree whether the line has or has not been crossed, but I don't see any reason not to refocus on the point of the post here:

Is GetEqual's move to hold Congressional leaders accountable a good idea or a bad idea?

The remedy for multiple unsubstantiated claims is to point out that they are unsubstantiated. I don't see a further need to point out that the claimant is personally annoying, or start a campaign to ignore him, though I certainly understand the impulse.

As always, you have a way of stating the obvious, as you did so well in the article in the first place. So, I guess a line gets drawn and we don't know it exists until we cross it. I've been living with that for over 20 years for the company I work for. For that invisible line, maybe there should be a signpost up ahead?

"You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension - a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into the Twilight Zone!"

As always, you have a way of using gentle humor to defuse and probe the inequities. I laughed out loud when I read that we're living in the Twilight Zone. But let's not get off-topic. (Ahem.)

Tina (IL) | July 17, 2010 4:48 PM

Okay, I'm finished. I get attacked by elitists for my post, while others go by without a comment from bil. Count me as a former fan of bilerco and a dropout in supporting any political or intellectual discussion on this site.

xxxxx

This commentary is the same wrongheaded assessment that led LGBT advocates in NY state to push for a vote on marriage when it was clear that they did not have a solid vote count in their favor despite the assertions of Tom Duane. They got the vote, it was a disastrous vote and the elected leadership on our side walked away without taking any responsibility for the outcome. Sure, some of the Democrats who voted against us paid at the ballot box--as they should have--but that is not the point. The point is that just because leaders commit to a vote on an issue at one point in time that is no reason for us not to take political reality in to account in real time. There is no reason to attack our friends in this hostile political environment--leaving our enemies to foment hatred and raise money against us--when it turns out the votes are not there to pass a particular policy change. The Republicans never do this. They stick together when things are unfavorable and always stick it to the Democrats regardless. Why must progressives be so hard on the few elected allies in office?

Why isn't the political reality motivating us to mobilize ourselves and get angry at our enemies. Attack them for their bigotry and hope that they make some really heinous statement that will turn the tide of public opinion in our favor? Why not? Why are we so willing, unlike our enemies, to attribute some lack of faith or commitment to our allies when they are unable to deliver?

Dr. Weiss has been unwilling for some time to acknowledge the fact that a trans inclusive ENDA was never as easy a lift as she continues to assert. The votes weren't there in November and they aren't there now. If they had been available the Speaker would have moved the bill. She takes every opportunity put in front of her to move her agenda and ENDA is a part of that agenda. She's just smart enough to know the damage that would be done to the issue and the movement if a bad vote occurred that gave ammunition to and emboldened the enemy and turned marginal votes against us--for no good reason.

I suspect it must be very hard for people in the trans community to hear that their inclusion in ENDA is the reason it continues to stall but that seems to be the case. We will need to continue to work harder for an inclusive bill because the opinions of the elected officials have not caught up with the LGBT advocacy community. That's it and that's all. It's really not complicated.

Bil Browning began this conversation in a Post entitled "GetEqual: Attacking Friends & Ignoring Enemies." He provided some reasoning about GetEQUAL's stunts and summed up his opinion by saying:

"Attacking our allies is a foolish tactic that doesn't benefit the overarching movement. It's not part of a cohesive strategy meant to further our cause. It might be a way to get even, but it's not a good path to get equal."

Jillian Weiss disagreed and responded in a Post entitled "GetEqual Has The Right Idea: Hold Our Congressional Leaders Accountable."

She defended GetEQUAL's actions claiming:

"Holding someone accountable is pointing out where they could do better on keeping their promises and achieving their goals."

I have asked Jillian and others HOW "embarrassing Democrats" is helpful or beneficial? I don't think GetEQUAL's childish publicity stunts are "pointing out where they could do better," as Jillian claims.

Jillian also claims that "we don't know" if we had enough votes to pass ENDA, yet on June 15th she stated (describing Democrats) "I thought they were a progressive party, but I see that they are run by the Blue Dogs, which in my book is another name for Republicans."

We do not have and we have never had 60 votes in the US Senate for any LGBT-related Bill. Never.

That is the unfortunate political reality we are faced with. Scheduling a vote doesn't change any votes. Embarrassing the Democrat's "leadership" doesn't change any votes. Heckling a Committee Chairman or even the President doesn't change any votes.

Bil believes if we want to protest we should attack our enemies, not our friends. I can't argue with that simple conclusion. Especially because there is absolutely no rationale for "crazy shenanigans" that simply seek to "embarrass Democrats."

I haven't made any "unsubstantiated claims" as Jillian suggests. I have commented and simply asked a few simple questions. I would love to hear from Jillian, or GetEQUAL, or their employers Jonathan Lewis and Paul Yandura, exactly HOW these childish stunts help our Community?

Because that question continues to go unanswered GetEQUAL has been ignored and now avoided by our community and the LGBT media. But, there is a good lesson in all of this and I think GetEQUAL's abbreviated existence helps demonstrate how important it is to hold all tactics, methods and strategies accountable. We must all honor those that came before us and give thoughtful consideration to anything we do "in the name of" or "on behalf of" the LGBT Community.

In June GetEqual was asked numerous questions about their strategy, their organization, their funding and their purpose. We were all promised some answers after they had a "Summer Retreat." Instead we got an online Poll asking us to vote on what "targets" we wanted them to embarrass. They still don't have a strategy or a plan.

GetEQUAL has gone from bad to worse. They have become quite good at "embarrassing," but unfortunately WE are being embarrassed, not the Democrats and not our "enemies." I hope they run out of money soon.

So, taking Jillian's advice above, hopefully this comment will be on topic.

BILERCO PROJECT contributor Joe Mirabella has just posted an interview with GetEQUAL co-founder Robin McGehee at SAME SEX SUNDAY. Many questions regarding the organizational structure, goals and strategies are answered. The podcast can be found at:
http://www.bilerico.com/2010/07/sss_interviews_with_getequal_robin_mcgeehee_and_fr.php

As for the votes for ENDA not being there in the Senate, in a cover story interview this week in METRO WEEKLY, Diego Sanchez, transgender congressional staffer of Barney Frank's legislative team, suggests otherwise:
"I feel strongly that we're going to be all right with ENDA, that we've got clearly enough support to pass the bill even right now and we're almost there to defeat the motion to recommit that would limit gender-identity inclusion. We're almost there, and I'm hoping that it still comes up this year. I don't know whether it will. I can't predict that. But I know Speaker Pelosi has talked about her personal commitment to it. Congressman Frank is still doing whipping. He can do many things at one time, and he was working on ENDA at the same time that he was driving this historic financial reform for our country. That just says a lot to me, so it continues to inspire me and it still gives me hope."
Full interview at:
http://www.metroweekly.com/feature/?ak=5430

Dave Fleck

Sanchez is talking about the House, not the Senate.

You are correct, sir.

Stonewall Girl Stonewall Girl | July 18, 2010 3:14 PM

Everyone is looking to play the "blame game" and no wonder nothing is happening! let's blame ourselves for working to push ENDA, get the necessary votes and then when the going got tougher, when we needed the "tough to get going", where were we?

Who was calling and visiting and putting pressure on those Democrats to commit to fighting off a Republican "motion to recommit"?

Anyone? Where was "Get Equal" in sending, not 6 people, but dozens to the offices of those uncommitted legislators to sway their vote? Where were the full time lobbyists at HRC?

How were we helping ourselves?

Yes, we should also send people to expose the hypocrisy of the so called "moderate Republicans" who fall in lock step with Boehner on motions to kill our legislation, that some even sponsor!

We need positive action and less negative talk.


Would someone who supports continuing business as usual please tell me what benefit there is in returning Nancy Pelosi to office? My perspective is that if she is turned out of office and the Democrats maintain a majority in the house it would mean a new speaker and changed dynamics. That I would view as a good change. Maybe some of you see it as bad. If so, why?

And that's another thing. The senate really was not the problem. It had 51 committed votes on an inclusive ENDA and only 3 committed against. We are so used to seeing the senate filibuster that it has become easy to blame the senate. In this case I think it is a total misread. Back in November and the early months of 2010 I could easily count to 60 in the senate but it was also apparent that the senate did not want to lead on this legislation. Therefore the failure in the house was a double fail. It let the senate coast and not have to face the issue.

It's not the Senate's fault - it is our fault. We do not have and we never have had 60 votes in the US Senate supporting us. Never.

We only received 63 votes on the Hate Crimes Bill because it was attached to the Defense Spending Authorization. If the Hate Crimes Bill was presented on its own, it would have been defeated.

Holding defense spending hostage passed the Bill. Clever, but certainly not evidence that we have enough support for LGBT issues. In fact, it demonstrates we do not.

The DADT "compromise" will try to hold defense spending hostage this year. It will fail and also be a defining issue in the Mid-term elections.

Actually there is no substance to your position. It is simply your assertion. 60 votes do exist to break a filibuster on the defense bill. But then there is the administration issue of other unwanted items in the defense bill and the threat of a veto. I project that not only will it pass but the administration will back off its veto threat and swallow the unwanted items in the defense bill.

In the Senate we have 55 likely yeses, and 8 possibles.

I count only 54 "yes" votes only 4 "possibles" for a total of 58 votes. We don't know what to expect from west Virginia yet. So far it looks like a "no."

Well, I don't want to say it out loud because it might scare the children, but it's over for this session. I know some people are holding out hope for it, but it would take a miracle to revive it in this session. Next session, well, no sense worrying about that until we see the numbers.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I agree with Bil.

*insert apocalypse sound file here* :p

IMO, GetEqual is the LGBT version of the Tea Party. Lots of heat, not much light. The work that needs to be done is on the state level and it still hasn't been done. One lobby day in DC isn't enough. If GE wanted to affect change, they'd concentrate on lobbying blue dogs instead of playing a silly blame game. The only good thing that can accomplish is fundraising for GE.

Getting mad at Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, and company will accomplish what? At the end of the day you're either helping Republicans. I remember in 2000 many Democrats said "It doesn't matter, Democrat or Republican, they're all the same." After two wars and the tanking of our economy, anyone that believes that is either a moron, or has been asleep for the past 10 years.

I'm glad people are finally understanding the importance of accountability for tactics, methods and organizations.

Now wouldn't it be nice if they realized we have Bush-lite in the white house and chicken little as speaker of the house? We can't do it now because the sky is falling!

It doesn't matter who is in the White House - it matters who is in our house and our neighbors and friends and co-workers. Our equality won't be solved in the White House - it will be created in our houses and our neighbors houses.

There is no political solution to our equality. WE have to create it. That can only be accomplished by enrolling our fellow citizens in our equality.

Susanna I Astarte | July 25, 2010 7:53 AM

Here’s an idea: Imagine that ENDA is represented as a home-baked pumpkin pie.
And it looks delicious, it smells divine and everyone is hungrily lining up for a slice.
The trouble is that the chefs in the kitchen are all fighting. They have come to fisticuffs
and very coarse language over the proper method to achieve the perfect pie.
Should the pumpkins be boiled, steamed, baked, grilled, broiled or fried ? Should we add nutmeg or cinnamon- both or neither?
Perhaps the answer is to let all the cooks prepare their own pies in their own way.
And the end result should be more pie to go around.
I realize that the Get Equal tactics are quite theatrical- and do not appeal to everyone.
But they honestly believe their way will get attention. And perhaps it will. But it’s not the only recipe we have. We also have the more traditional letter writing and phone call campaigns - nowhere near as flashy but also with a proven track record.
I hope that perhaps the infighting can cease- it helps no one and deprives all of us of the just desserts we so richly deserve. (And now I’m hungry for pie at 4:30 am and Marie Callendar’s is closed!) I just hope we can all get the Trans inclusive ENDA for which we have been waiting far too long, forks in hand. And soon- we’re starving.