Guest Blogger

NetRoots Gaytion: Is It Wicked Not To Care?

Filed By Guest Blogger | July 30, 2010 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement, The Movement
Tags: Capitol Building, ENDA protest, GetEqual, LGBT movement, Netroots Nation

Editors' Note: Guest blogger Zack Rosen is a Leo who is losing his hair. He attended Netroots Nation on a Freedom To Marry scholarship. He blogs at The New Gay.

Nothing looks more democratic than Las Vegas from the 36th floor of the Rio Grande Hotel. A whole city of lights, bustling, in perfect little squares of houses and commerce, all given an equal plot of land in the city where anyone, as the legend goes, can win a million bucks from a quarter or get a blowjob from someone they might or might not be paying. It was a great fantasy from the window of my hotel room in the midst of last weeks NetRoots Nation conference. We are all equal, and we all count. Unfortunately, the view of the city looks way different from the street. It’s dominated, depending on where you look, by a smattering of buildings so tall that you can barely see the sky.

Wednesday, in the Rotunda of the Capitol Building, I was arrested for something I believe in. I complain a lot, and criticize, but rarely have I felt so close to creating the actual change that I think is needed in our queer universe. It’s hard to put yourself on the line like that. I was only assured that it was worth it, worth the temporary loss of freedom, the spectacle of being shackled in front of the whole word, because I approached the issue (with the help of fearless activist group Get Equal) on my own terms. I am tired of waiting, tired of being polite, and tired of being stymied by an overly organized system every time I try to make a difference.

The greatest resource we have in the queer community is queer people. Not organizations, not cabals or clatches or back rooms filled with cigar smoke and a fine mist of Skyy Vodka. People. Us. When I went to NetRoots Nation last week, a high profile convergence of bloggers, organizations and activists, I came out feeling like I was nothing. Not affiliated with an orgs, not in the accepted camp of approved activists, and certainly not one of the 6 or 7 bloggers elected to decide what the rest of us should care about. The LGBT meetings I went to confirmed something I had long suspected: Gay Inc has galvanized not just our culture, but our movement. Instead of empowering individuals to attack the things that matter most to us, and make a difference one small act at a time, a consensus had developed that there is a right way to go about things, a right hierarchy of what issues matter, and when.

We are headed to a paradoxical truth, one that flies in the face of the most basic lessons learned since kindergarten. I fear that very soon, the individuals that comprise the queer community are going to be stronger on their own than they are together.

I say this because the system I saw set up at NetRoots seemed designed to punish those that act on their own without approval from the homos-that-be. Instead of debating the best ways to address our own causes, beat our own daily injustices, so much of the debate came down to why a given issue matters more than another. Everyone put your dicks and clits on the table and measure. Biggest one gets to change the world. ENDA. DADT. Marriage Equality. Immigration. each one of these is equally important, because each one is a patchwork in the great straight quilt that keeps us from getting out of bed. There is room for all of them. If you tackle religion, or domestic violence, or culture, or anything, it should be just as important because A) you care about it and B) your resources will be better served toward something you care about, and know about, then they are towards someone else’s cause.

It made me sad to see even our best and brightest so attacked for how they chose to alter the world about them. Mike Rogers' rallying ability, Pam Spaulding’s inimitable voice, Michael Crawford's tireless quest toward marriage equality. Nothing else should matter when a person has dedicated themselves to what they believe in. Instead, I saw all these people spend as much time defending themselves as they did empowering the people around them.

And when that happens, you miss the bottom half. If Bloggers are intermediaries between the people and the power, you can either influence up, at the power, or influence down and get more regular folks to believe that what they do, no matter how small, can make a difference. And if you were like me, unfamiliar with the menagerie of acronyms and political names peppered into regular speech, you would feel that the train has already passed you by. The system is just that, a system. Working tirelessly within it makes as much sense as standing in a rain storm to stay dry.

Everyone has their place. That’s what makes us people. The insider insight of HRC would be of no value without the balls-out civil disobedience of Get Equal, and vice versa. I have never seen a group of like-minded people so split on between two equally valuable poles. We are lucky enough, in a way, to live in a time when our political workings have some structure. But when your erector set becomes handcuffs its time to rethink. Queer people, queer activists: Do you want to change your own little corner of the sky, or ensure that everyone with you on the ground has a chance to flex their muscles?

Think about it. In the meantime, I’m done letting others tell me what’ right for me.


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Okay, I got lost in Matrix but like the idea of one man standing up for what he believes in. NO CULTS, ORG'S, or .COM's Required. :)

"Queer people, queer activists: Do you want to change your own little corner of the sky, or ensure that everyone with you on the ground has a chance to flex their muscles?"

Perhaps, we should be flexing our brains, too?

I think much of the criticism of GetEQUAL and other publicity-stunt organizations is directed at whether or not they are helpful. I wouldn't object to them if somebody would provide some rationale for them.

Maybe you can explain HOW trying to "embarrass" Pelosi (and other Democrats) is helpful. This ill-conceived idea that publicity stunts are somehow "holding politicians accountable" is just plain silly. Politicians are held accountable by the media and at the voting booth.

It appears you support GetEQUAL's function of "embarrassing Democrats." These public displays of anger and frustration - seeking to slap our friends and allies - help us how? Trying to embarrass Pelosi, Reid, Chairman Miller and even Obama don't inspire them or even threaten them. Heckling is not a strategy, it is simply childish behavior.

I think I understand your frustration with what you call the "system," but I don't think their is a system. There isn't even a strategy to win.

You are singing the same song as Gay Inc., by suggesting "everyone just do anything" and maybe "someday" it will add up to victory. Accountability requires that we all hold tactics, methods, and ideas accountable. We determine what works and what doesn't. It is the only way to determine a path to victory.

Just so that we are clear - I do not believe there is a "political solution" to our equality and I believe HRC has wasted $550 million (and 30 years) on "lobbying" efforts. They have nothing to show for it. We also have nothing to show for childish pranks to embarrass politicians. These stunts benefit Republicans, not us. Plus, not matter how disappointed we are with so-called "friends" I fail to see how pissing on them in public accomplishes anything. If we are going to rely on a magical political solution we need all the allies we can find. Embarrassing them defeats that goal.

If you think demanding is effective, please explain how. Typically any demand is worthless without a threat. We don't have a threat.

I understand the sincerity of your action, but I do not see the value. I want to know how it helps us. How does it help us win?

Andrew...

Plenty of people have given more than enough rationale for direct action such as what happened at Pelosi's office.

You, conversely, have chosen to ignore what's been put forth. All you seem capable of doing is cruising the web looking for something GetEQUAL has done and having a bitchfest about it. You've offered absolutely nothing constructive to the dialogue. Ever.

If you have such a problem with people so frustrated by the lies and inaction of "friends" like Pelosi, Frank and Obama, perhaps you should take all that research you've supposedly done and create your own organization so you can show us all how it's done.

Mr. Rosen and his comrades have put their freedom where their mouth is, which is far more than you can say.

Perhaps when you've done something worthwhile, you can talk about it. Until then, please just relax and be quiet.

If so many people have provided a rationale for Direct Action (in the style of GetEQUAL) please finish this sentence:

Embarrassing Democrats is helpful to our movement because it _____________________________.

Please keep in mind that Pelosi and Obama are "allies." You may not be happy with their pace, but tell us why embarrassing them helps.

If you default into historical references, please recognize the world has changed dramatically. Use a few references from the last 20 years.

First of all, andrew, I don't think they're allies.
They seem much more like the Vichy French to me.

Secondly, as I and others have said before, just because you parrot the same things over and over, and ignore everything that doesn't quite fit your narrow worldview, does not mean that it hasn't been explained ad nauseum.

Lastly, you and those like you are not the dictators of how people are to react to inaction on the part of our elected officials. Nobody answers to you, andrew.

Once again, when you have something to say other than whining about what others are doing that upset you and your "allies", and stop childishly pissing on the efforts of others, feel free to speak. Until then, you would do well to keep quiet.

So, you are NOT going to complete that simple sentence or provide any rationale?

I knew you wouldn't, because you couldn't.

Andrew...

The rest of the LGBT community doesn't answer to you, as much as you'd like to believe otherwise.

You've been given reason after reason. You won't accept the reasons.

You have no need to comment on GetEQUAL posts anymore. Everyone that reads this blog knows you hate them. You hate what they do. You hate the fact that they let the people you worship know that we're pissed at them for doing nothing that they said they'd do. You hate them for refusing to vote for them anymore, and for not giving them money anymore. You hate them for calling them out for lying to us repeatedly, and for not laying down and taking it like good sheep anymore.

Mostly though, I think you hate them for actually calling attention to the fact that your "friends and allies" have done this to you, and to the rest of us, and we've all been dumb enough to fall for it over and over.

Your purported allies hav thrown us all a bone, and you're happy to get it. Some of us are not.

We know how you feel about this. Many of us don't agree with you. Many of us are tired of being on the outside looking in. You're ok with that. We get it. No need to keep yammering the same things over and over on every blog that exists.

WE KNOW.

Again, you didn't provide any rationale for GetEQUAL's childish publicity stunts. Please, tell us how "embarrassing Democrats" helps the LGBT Community.

I don't "hate" GetEQUAL, I just believe they are incredibly stupid. Everything they have done is counterproductive. They have not generated any support for our equality and they have alienated many people. The only people I know that are happy with their childish outbursts are Republicans.

Accountability means we as a Community need to hold all tactics, methods and strategies accountable. That includes "stunts." So, if you want to make some progress tell us how GetEQUAL's stunts help us. Nobody has. You give it a try.

Andrew...

The rest of the LGBT community doesn't answer to you, as much as you'd like to believe otherwise.

You've been given reason after reason. You won't accept the reasons.

You have no need to comment on GetEQUAL posts anymore. Everyone that reads this blog knows you hate them. You hate what they do. You hate the fact that they let the people you worship know that we're pissed at them for doing nothing that they said they'd do. You hate them for refusing to vote for them anymore, and for not giving them money anymore. You hate them for calling them out for lying to us repeatedly, and for not laying down and taking it like good sheep anymore. You hate those of us that bring up the fact that lip service isn't helping any of us, and that we DEMAND action now. You hate the fact that, even though we contribute to their salaries, healthcare, fancy parties, wardrobes, vacations, and whatever else, we have the audacity to speak up and require them to be accountable to us for their lack of action and credibility regarding matters that they themselves told us they'd deal with.

Mostly though, I think you hate them for actually calling attention to the fact that your "friends and allies" have done this to you, and to the rest of us, and we've all been dumb enough to fall for it over and over.

Your purported allies have thrown us all a bone, and you're happy to get it. Some of us are not.

We know how you feel about this. Many of us don't agree with you. Many of us are tired of being on the outside looking in. You're ok with that. We get it. No need to keep yammering the same things over and over on every blog that exists.

WE KNOW.

So...you've once again been given rationale for the actions of orgs like GetEQUAL. But I know in my heart that you'll dismiss everything you've been given in this thread as meaningless, because it makes you uncomfortable.

We know what the republicans are all about. They're honest and open about their hatred of us. And there are plenty of people and organizations around doing what they can about it. In fact, the majority of Americans made it clear, by voting a majority of dems into office last cycle.

But the dems, while having majorities all over the place, have smiled and nodded while they held their hands out for contributions. Yet they've failed miserably at delivering on the promises made while begging for money and votes.

In short, we don't know what the dems are regarding us. They have not been what they say they are. The republicans have always hated us. The conservative christian fundies will always fight us. They are a known quantity. The dems are not.

Does this make it any more clear for you why many of us support the actions of GetEqual?????

Probably not.

Still not rationale. I understand that you are a cheerleader for GetEQUAL but why? How do their stunts help us?

GetEQUAL does have to answer the the LGBT Community. They haven't. What benefit does the LGBT Community get from GetEQUAL's stunts?

It's an easy question Heather.

I'm done answering your inane questions. It's your turn.

Why do you continue to ignore what others tell you in response to your babble?

Why do you continue to call traitors, liars, and thieves "friends and allies"?

Why do you continue to piss on the people who put their freedom on the line to call attention to issues the negatively affect you?

Why do you continue the same childish shenanigans every time GetEQUAL is mentioned?

What is your plan for changing the status quo? Or are you as comfortable with it as you seem?

Answer away, andrew.

My name isn't Heather. It's Jenny Jackson.

GetEQUAL doesn't have any obligation to be accountable to you. Like your friends HRC, and DNC, they're accountable to those that give them money. Unless I read poorly, I'm quite certain you've given them nothing.

So...answer the questions posited, or keep quiet.

If you ever do have any rationale for GetEQUAL's childish stunts, please let us know.

Perhaps you are just like GetEQUAL when they said "we don't care about consequences."

You should read what others are discovering about GetEQUAL and how they risk our progress:

http://mpetrelis.blogspot.com/2010/07/getequal-we-dont-care-about.html#links

You should read what people, here and elsewhere, say about you, andrew.

I don't care what people say about me - I'm not "embarrassing Democrats" with "crazy shenanigans" Heather. I am not seeking non-profit status for Jonathan Lewis. I am not representing the LGBT Community. GetEQUAL is. Your organization is in trouble. They don't make any sense and they refuse to be accountable.

Tell Kip and Robin to answer the 10 Questions. Tell them time is running out. It's called accountability, Heather. You should embrace it.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 31, 2010 2:52 AM

Embarrassing Democrats is helpful to our movement because it embarasses Democrats like Pelosi and Obama.

A Republican is a racist right centrist with a theocrat attached at the hip. A Democrat is a Republican in drag.

With Democrats like this who needs Republicans?

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 31, 2010 3:03 AM

"Please keep in mind that Pelosi and Obama are "allies."

Thats an untruth.

Obama is our enemy. The facts are that same sex marriage was defeated by Obama's rampant and widely broadcast bigotry – 'gawd's in the mix' – at anglo redneck southern baptist friendly churches lioke Rick Warrnes, which was widely reported in the news media and on MTV where he said 'I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage'. Contributing factors were the ineptitude and eurocentrism of No on 8 and the huge media campaign by Yes on 8 that repeated Obama's bigotry to millions. The impact of Obama's bigotry is proven without question by the polls.

The polls show us narrowly winning as late as October.
SurveyUSA – 47% yes 50% no / 18–28 Oct 2008 / ±4%
The Field Poll – 44% yes 49% no / Oct 2008 / ±3.3%
PPIC – 44% yes 52% no / Oct 2008 / ±3%

Then came the media barrage by Yes on 8 highlighting Obama's bigotry and then came the bitter, unnecessary and unexpected defeat for same sex marriage. It's all absolutely documented and incontrovertible.

People who claim that Obama is an ally of the movement are talking about some other movement.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 31, 2010 3:52 AM

"Please keep in mind that Pelosi and Obama are "allies." (Warning to Andrew, you can skip this, it has Pelosi's history, her political rap sheet.)

After the defeat of SSM in 2008, tens of thousands of real activists began to protest and demonstrate. Just last year, although AndrewW denies it, roughly 200,000 demonstrated in DC. These demonstrations are a recognition of uselessness of lobbying and voting for the bigots-bigot panderers of the Democrats and the Republicans, their bother-cousins across the aisle.

It's very unlikely that these new activists, especially those from California or SF would agree either with the delusional notion that Pelosi is an ally or that they're childish and silly for demonstrating against our enemies.

In many ways, Nancy Pelosi is the perfect Democrat. She's no more a radical than Obama's for change or McCain is an independent.

In 1987, her first election, she ran as the 'machine' candidate in a special Democratic primary narrowly defeating gay SF Supervisor Harry Britt in a campaign that featured gay baiting. She won due to the extraordinarily large Republican crossover vote and used her personal wealth to win the election.

Recently Pelosi's made a few noises about DADT and ENDA, although that's all they are. They're as honest as any claims made by the Fierce Defender-Great Pretender.

Pelosi is rich. Her income as Speaker is $223,500.00 but that pittance is dwarfed by her personal wealth. The Pelosi's reported nearly four dozen stock sales and purchases in 2007, the year the Great Recession or Long Recession, or the Great Double Dip, or most accurately, the Depression began. All those transactions involved sums greater than $1 million, including stock in Cisco Systems Inc., New River Pharmaceuticals, Apple Computer, and Sandisk Corp.

Pelosi, a card carrying member of the looter class, is relentlessly rightwing.

According to Peter Camejo, the late Green Party VP candidate:

"Nancy Pelosi should be understood as someone who... voted for a motion for unequivocal support for George Bush's conduct of the war in Iraq, and she led the Democratic Party to vote for that. ... She led the Democrats in giving George Bush 35 standing ovations in the State of the Union address in 2005. Every single time he used the word Iraq, all the Democrats rose to give him a standing ovation."

She voted for FISA and for the Paytriot Act.

She drew a line in the sand about impeaching Bush because she and the Democratic leadership are practicing the same kind of genocidal policies for the same reason - to steal oil and resources.

She supported the recent health care scam that will continue to condemn tens of thousands to an early death.

Anyone who thinks she's an ally is confused about what movement they're in.

I'm curious, do you believe we have any "political friends?"

Name one democrat in D.C. that has the political clout to influence the movement of an issue, and doesn't talk out of both sides of their face when it matters.

Oh wait...like you accuse others of, you have no answer. There aren't any.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 31, 2010 5:19 PM

I'm curious.

Who do you think our friends and allies in government are. Name names and tell us why.

And what should these friends do to help us?

And why you think having friends and allies in government is important given the fact that you think going door to door speaking to neighbors and workplace associates is the only way to equality.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 31, 2010 7:50 PM

Waiting......

It isn't going to happen, Bill.
This individual isn't interested in holding himself to the same standards as he holds others to. He's quite committed to seeing progress held up, and completely averse to any dialog or progress regarding our rights.

Let it go. We both know he'll continue to play anti GetEQUAL screechmonkey anywhere he can.

Make sense of GetEQUAL - it is about them.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 31, 2010 11:02 PM

Still waiting....

On May 27, 2010 a total of 234 Members of the US House of Representatives voted for us - they voted for DADT Repeal. That was enough to pass the House and send it to the Senate.

What would you and JennyJ call those people? Allies or Enemies? All 234 of them? What? I know you dislike the word "friend," but what do YOU consider them?

I would like you both to consider the very real possibility that the whole world isn't against you and they aren't all out to get you.

Really, they aren't.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 1, 2010 7:28 PM

That was a long wait, AW. No doubt you had to do a lot of research trying to come up with an example of Democrat 'friendliness'. You still haven't. Your claim that the DADT compromise is helpful is an 'untruth', AW. They voted for a compromise that may or may not end DADT, or may end it in name only.

The fact that Democrats, who are responsible for DADT in the first place, voted for this hollow compromise is an indication that they're not our friends, but our enemies.

The whole question may become moot if causalities continue to mount in Obama's war to steal resources from Afghanistan - they may need more cannon fodder.

Causalities to date (Afghanistan only)

2001 12
2002 49
2003 48
2004 52
2005 99
2006 98
2007 117
2008 155
2009 317
2010 268 as of 01 Aug 2010

Total 1215

6773 have been wounded in Afghanistan, about half 'not returned to duty' which indicates ghastly, life altering wounds.

The suicide rate, according to The Australian: "Last year, there were 160 suicides among soldiers on active duty, putting the army suicide rate at 20.2 per 100,000. The US national average is 19.2."

Suicides among veterans are much, much higher.

Because of that they've seen and been forced to do soldiers, marines, air crews and sailors are tragically taking their own lives in unprecedented numbers. These latest figures are the worst since records began to be kept in 1980.

There are still roughly 50,000 US troops in Iraq. As the terror - they like to call it 'shock and awe' - created by US embargo, invasion, occupation and genocide lessens Iraqis are taking to the streets in larger and larger numbers demanding their independence and the right to control their own oil. US troops in Iraq are now suppressing workers in the oil and electricity unions, the war there is not over. GI causalities in Iraq stand at 4413, with about 30,000 wounded, 15,000 not returned to duty.

Don't enlist!

Don't fight!

Don't translate!

Wild Bill,

I didn't say the Compromise was good for us - I think it's a charade by Gay Inc. and the Democrats. It won't pass.

But, what do you call those 234 Members of Congress that voted for it?

Do you believe we have any friends or allies?

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 1, 2010 10:47 PM

Are you temporarily unable to read, AW?

If so have someone read my comments of August 1, 2010 7:28 PM to you. Particularly the second paragraph, conveniently in bold so no one would miss my meaning.

If the compromise is bad for us then why do you claim, on the basis of their vote against DADT repeal, that they're our allies. That makes no sense at all. Perhaps another demonstration of AndrewThink will change our minds.

I doubt it. Most of us remain convinced that with allies like that who needs enemies?

By the way, AW, you continue to describe those who picket the White House as childish and an embarassment, etc.

Barbara Gittings and Frank Kameny marched in the first gay picket lines in 1965 at the White House, the State Department, and at Independence Hall in Philadelphia protesting the federal government's policy on discrimination against GLBT folks, which is exactly the issue with Democrat Bill Clintons DADT. (Warning. Landmines ahead!) Do you have the guts to say that they and the other pioneers of our struggle were childish and an embarrassment to the movement.

If you do maybe you're confused about what movement you should be in.

This would be a good time to back down.

So, we don't have any friends? Scary.

Look, I have tried to converse with you, but you think the whole world is against us and you. That's a little too crazy for me.

I would hope you would try to be more constructive. Hating everyone and never trusting anyone is not a Plan. Your expressions of anger and doom are not productive.

I will focus on people that are trying to win, not complain. In politics we have the Democrats. that's the best we can do. If you want to vilify them, go ahead. I hope you fail. Not because i love or trust or respect Democrats, but I believe many of them are allies and even friends. I think many of them actually "get it." You, do not.

So, you can join the other misfits that just want to vilify everyone and refuse to believe that we have supporters. Everything is so unfair. The world is so terrible. I disagree and i am not going to waste my time exchanging ideas with someone who is self-defined as "friendless."

I wish you well, sorta.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 1, 2010 11:27 PM

We do have friends. The NAACP. MALDEF. Unions. Environmentalists. The Antiwar movement. Civil libertarians. Where we don't have friends is in the White House or Congress, among Democrats or their brother-cousins the Republicans. .

Thanks for being afraid to answer my question about Kameny, Gittings and the rest. Nothing could be more revealing.

And thanks for identifying our enemies as your friends. Now we know what movement you're in.

You can resume ignoring me now, and I'll ignore you, until after True Blood is over. Then you're fair game again.

"In the meantime, I’m done letting others tell me what’s right for me." I think that says all that needs to be said to you Andrew. But I think you made a few good points in your reply. As for your post Zach, I think you made a lot of sense and I admire your actions and thinking on this. We must be open to try all kinds of things and fight for full equality. And I do not feel that holding Obama, Pelosi, Reid, etc accountable is pissing on them. (seems you love that phrase Andrew) I may not think every single way is as effective as another but at least they are trying and not just sitting behind a computer spouting what should not be done.

Then you think exactly the same way Gay Inc. does. They simply suggest "everyone should try everything and hopefully it will all add up someday." THAT isn't good enough - we're much smarter than that and a lot more creative.

I appreciate your sincerity and your commitment Rann, but we have to hold all tactics accountable so that we can direct significant resources to what actually works. I have spent a bunch of money trying to figure out how to win - I will spend a lot more when we figure out exactly what that means.

I do not want anyone in our community to waste their time, money or effort on ineffective tactics and, more importantly, I don't want our progress to be jeopardized by thoughtless efforts to simply get attention and not results. I think GetEQUAL is hurting us. At the very least they can provide some simple rationale for their "crazy shenanigans" and childish efforts to embarrass others.

Have you ever been intentionally embarrassed Rann? Did that "direct action" inspire you or piss you off? Our Movement needs everyone that understands our struggle and is willing to stand with us. I do not think trying to embarrass or humiliate them - no matter what we believe about their sincerity - is helpful.

I appreciate your comments. I hope Zack adds his.

Points for the Belle & Sebastian reference.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 31, 2010 2:50 AM

Embarrassing Democrats is helpful to our movement because it embarasses Democrats like Pelosi and Obama.

A Republican is a racist right centrist with a theocrat attached at the hip. A Democrat is a Republican in drag.

With Democrats like this who needs Republicans?

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 31, 2010 2:52 AM

oops. wrong spot.

I am going out to fill my friends with alcohol.

I would still like to hear from Zack. Please respond to the Comments.