I stepped in it big time when I suggested it was not the right time to close the gAyTM in a post that I shared widely last week.
I got a taste of the anger our community generally directs at our enemies. Let me just say it was ugly and hurtful.
I also learned who my friends are, so to them thank you for stepping up and defending my character. You showed how you can disagree, while still being decent. I admire your leadership.
But I have thick skin, and clearly since you are reading this, hundreds of hateful comments did not scare me away from sharing my opinions with the community about how we can move forward. I can forgive the personal attacks because I realize they are coming from a place of fear. Our community is sick and tired of being treated as second class citizens, and when one of our own says, "Hey, don't give up on the party that has not delivered," it salted the wound. I understand and I empathize with that sentiment.
So since the "gAyTM" is clearly closed for a lot of you I would like to offer a few alternative solutions so that our community does not become politically castrated by a Republican majority.
First, let me explain why I was motivated to write my original post. I strongly believe a $300 million war chest poised squarely at the Democratic Party also has our interests in the cross hairs. In addition, the Tea Party has $64 million rounded up to get their candidates in office. I've never seen a party so committed to being wrong. The Tea Party concerns me.
So unlike what some commentators concluded, I was not motivated because of a personal investment in the Democratic Party. I'm not looking for an insider position in the White House. I'm not even on the short list of bloggers who is invited to White House events. I'm a simple Iowa guy, transplanted in Seattle, who is working his heart out for his family. (That's you.)
So, dear family, put down the rotten tomatoes and pitch forks and listen up. Like it or not, the political process takes money - lots and lots of money. The Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United that corporations have free speech rights because they are people, and money is free speech. Translation: Corporations can give as much money as they want to political parties. This decision strongly favors Republicans.
Karl Rove was drooling the moment Citizen United became law. He is working in over drive to amass an enormous war chest. His first contributor, an oil tycoon, gave $100 million alone.
The Republicans have created a perfect storm. They have filibustered more bills than ever in the history of the United States. They even filibustered an unemployment bill that would have extended unemployment insurance for millions of Americans, including people in my blood family.
Because most Americans don't understand the nuances of parliamentary procedure, they blame the party in charge for their problems, the Democrats. The Republican Party is not interested in what's best for the country, they are simply interested in maintaining power. I strongly believe that most of the Democratic Party really does want to move the country forward. The Democrats I meet and interview certainly do.
But how can they move our issues forward when the minority is still in charge? We need to end the filibuster, but the next opportunity to end the filibuster rule is not until the next Congress is elected. Senate rules can only be changed at the beginning of new sessions. Like it or not, I want the Democrats in charge to change those rules. Calls to end the filibuster are already bubbling up from Democrats in the Senate, including Sen. Tom Harkin.
I am not naive. I know the entire Democratic party is not dedicated to treating the gay and lesbian community equally. However, it is clear, that a majority of the Democratic Party supports our issues. If the Democrats remain in control, and the filibuster is ended, then the House will feel more comfortable taking the political risk of supporting our issues because a majority of Democrats can pass a bill in the Senate. We will no longer be hostage to the minority.
But to get there, we need to elect progressives. To elect progressives we need money. I suggested the Democratic National Committee set up an LGBT specific fund so that our money has no chance of going towards a candidate that does not support equality. That does not exist yet, but there are other ways you can contribute to pro-equality progressives, and I think you should if even that makes me unpopular.
Short Term Goals
The Victory Fund is dedicated supporting LGBT and allied candidates. The Progressive Majority is also a pro-equality progressive political fund you can trust with your money. You should also consider supporting Progressives who have fought for us (even if they happen to be Democratic). Candidates in my region include Jim McDermott and Suzan DelBenne.
Not all politics are national, local politics can have a lasting effect as well. Look around you and find the diamonds in the rough. Believe it or not, we do have friends.
Long Term Goals
Perhaps we need a third party. That's something I heard over and over again in the comments. But you will need to build coalitions because the gay community alone is not large enough to be a viable third party. Start now, because you will need to raise a lot of money for your party to be viable.
Perhaps a more progressive candidate should challenge President Obama. I too remain frustrated on a number of issues. The President has an enormous war chest of his own, though. So again, you will need money to take him on.
We need a constitutional convention to take money out of politics. Campaigns should be publicly funded. While we are at it, corporations should not be considered people. Let's also strengthen our equality by including non-discrimination clauses for sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
Contact the DNC
The anger you slung at me may have felt good, but it really did not accomplish anything. I am not active in the party. You should contact those who can actually make a difference. Here is their contact info:
Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003
Main Phone Number:
With that said, I hope that our community does not completely back out of the political process. I heard that several times in the comments, "No more votes, no more money, no more volunteering." I honestly do not believe that was the intent of bloggers who initially suggested we close the gAyTM. Since they have your ear, and your trust, I hope they can convince you how important it is to remain engaged in our future.
I appreciate that Pam Spalding has already reminded her readers that it is not appropriate to completely shut down your activity:
We're keeping the gAyTM CLOSED, only donating to pols and organizations that are pro-equality and have been effective in advocacy. I see nothing wrong with this.
I am not, however, an advocate of sitting out the midterms. If you have pro-equality candidates on the ballot, they deserve and need your vote. For instance, I need Elaine Marshall to beat Richard Burr. We need that vote in the Senate.
If you are too mad at me right now to hear me, please listen to her.