Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Pelosi at Netroots re ENDA: "Make Me"

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | July 24, 2010 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: ENDA, GetEqual, Netroots Nation, Pelosi

Today at Netroots Nation, Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke to a large, supportive audience. She spoke about many important issues, and in general I enjoyed it.

But I didn't enjoy her answer to the first question, sent in by Netroots Nation participants, which was about ENDA.

And GetEqual was there, sitting right up front, at one of the dozens of tables set up in the enormous Pavilion Room.

They didn't like it much either.

I was astounded to hear her say that ENDA was her first priority, but that "there was a lot of support for ENDA."

To me, that meant that someone must have told her there was more support for DADT repeal than for ENDA passage, and that she ought to switch her priorities.

Let's see, who could have told her that?

Hmm, I have a pretty good suspicion.

And Netroots Nation moved the GetEqual people away from that front table perch as soon as the lights went down.

But GetEqual's Robin McGehee was undeterred. As the Speaker was giving her mealy-mouthed answer, McGehee shouted "Move on ENDA now!"

To which the Speaker replied "you're right to be impatient."

Later, talking about another bill, she also referenced ENDA: "I want to do it, you convinced me, now build the mass to make me do it."


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To which the Speaker replied "I want to do it, you convinced me, now build the mass to make me do it."

What the hell does that mean? The only meaning I derive is that she was suggesting a few crazy screamers isn't enough and that we need to build the "mass" of political support. Clearly, she supports ENDA but she was (again) suggesting the votes aren't there. Not in the Senate, at least.

I'm curious, how did GetEQUAL make it through the metal detectors.

"I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it."

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Comment to a group of reformers. His point: Until they lead the way, they shouldn't expect leaders to follow.

Tired of Robin | July 24, 2010 4:49 PM

Robin McGehee is an utter failure at politics. When politicians say "make me" they do not mean get 20 of your friends to make a YouTube video about how heroic they are for unfurling a banner. They mean motivate thousands and thousands of people to pick up the phone and demand that congress act. They mean challenge the opponents of change (in this case, the specific Republicans who might introduce a motion to recommit or an unfriendly amendment to remove Transgender protections). Robin McGehee is a one-woman band who everyone, including everyone in Congress, knows is the mouthpiece for one single rich guy (John Lewis). She is everywhere. And because it is always her and not a growing chorus that interrupts, because she is not building a political movement, but rather her own brand (a la HRC), she has no substantial political impact and exerts no real pressure on anyone. She is utterly dismissible.

As for who pressured Congress to take up DADT instead of ENDA, if you are going to claim GetEqual has any impact, you must concede that GetEqual tool Dan Choi is responsible (along with the GetEqual gang who tied their cart to his horse).

Pelosi wants to pass a transinclusive ENDA but she will not let a vote happen if the votes to pass it aren't there. Rather than bashing her, go tell Obama to use his political capital to make Democrats vote lock step for the bill. Every time robin McGehee talks aboutbhim she says she still supports him. If you still support him even though he hasn't lifted a finger to pass ENDA, why should he listen to you and why should Congress?

Bottom line? Robin is just a media whore who doesn't know what she's doing. She represents nobody and therefore is just another voice in the crowd. If she would educate herself about the political processnshe might do good. But since she won't I wish she would shut up and stop with her temper tantrums that spread misinformation about the political situation. The community needs good information. Not this drivel.

Anybody else see a possible Violation of the Terms of Service?

"While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.
The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising." - Bilerico Project boilerplate post used when a comment is in violation

Bil and Jerame, please address when you return from NetrootsNation.

Hey! Some of my best friends are whores and I would appreciate it if you didn't malign them in your attempt to hurl slurs at someone who you think poorly of.

"Make me" = "Jackie Spier is the only one telling the truth on ENDA. Just keep feeding the Democratic Party money and votes and maybe half a decade down the road we'll get around to you...if it happens to be politically convenient for us, of course."

Have we finally had enough yet?

Paul Yandura is part of the GetATTENTION Circus. He was quoted in the Advocate after the Netroots-Please-Notice-US stunt:

"And some people are saying, why not target Senators who are against it? But we don’t even know who those Senators are until they bring the bill to a vote."

Yes we do. His partner does, too. Donald Hitchcock from the "Dallas Principles."

http://www.actonprinciples.org/enda-senate/

Read the Advocate article.

http://advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/07/22/GetEqual_Spooks_Reid/

Yandura is on the Jonathan Lewis payroll, too. He is supposed to the "brains" of the GetATTENTION operation. See how he answers the questions. Better than Robin or Kip, but still pathetic. It's pure bull-shit.

I think many in our community are finally understanding why GetEQUAL is hurting our movement and how their actions are counterproductive. Make it stop.

A more accurate report of Pelosi's words in response to questions and Robin's grandstanding can be found here:

http://www.lgbtpov.com/2010/07/house-speaker-nancy-pelosi-on-enda-at-netroots-nation-%E2%80%93-transcript/

After Robin shouted, Pelosi actually said this:

Pelosi: No, but it is – your impatience is justified. Let’s make it productive so that we can all work together and strengthen each other as – to get this passed as soon as possible. Very important.

"Productive" and "working together" are not what Robin wanted to hear.

Watch the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGXo0lgEa7g&feature=player_embedded

"Crazy shenanigans" at 4:30

I still can't believe that some people believe it is helpful to piss on our friends. We can debate the quality of those "friends," but pissing on them doesn't accomplish anything.

We've been hearing this bullcrap for over a decade now, and it doesn't improve with age.

First they told us we needed to do more education, so we did that, for years.

Then they told us we needed the community leadership behind us, so we raised up those who were on our side and ostracized and discredited those who failed to measure up.

Then, they told us we needed to do more lobbying, so we did, so well that even Barney Frank praised our efforts.

So what is it this time? It's just politically inconvenient for Democrats so too bad, so sad, it's back under the bus you go, LGBT American workforce. And once you pick yourselves up off the pavement again, don't forget to vote for us and send us lots of money. Next time will be different, really it will. Just trust us...you know the Party will fight for you when the time is right, don't you?

There's an easy way to think about this. Just imagine it's '07, Congress is HRC, and the LGBT American workforce is the transgender community. How familiar does it seem now?

Do unto others...

But we don't have 60 votes in the US Senate.

So? Let the Republicans filibuster a popular bill.

It's not "popular" in enough States. That's how the Senate works.

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

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"To me, that meant that someone must have told her there was more support for DADT repeal than for ENDA passage, and that she ought to switch her priorities. Let's see, who could have told her that?"

I don't really know what this is a reference to, but it seems to me that when the Democrats set aside ENDA and moved forward with the DADT legislation first instead they were only doing exactly what the grassroots asked. The dems passed hate crimes and announced ENDA was next; the grassroots denounced the lack of progress on DADT and announced a boycott of the DNC. Remember? DADT is clearly where the energy is. I don't think I can blame the Democrats for acknowledging that. That would basically mean attacking them for doing what we asked.

I think different parts of the LGBT community have different priorities, and we don't help ourselves if we get upset our faction's priority isn't number one-- if we do that we're only attacking the priorities of someone else within the community. So back when ENDA was the thing at the front of the timetable and DADT was waiting behind, my advice to people whose #1 priority was DADT was that if you want DADT passed, help get ENDA passed so we can move on to DADT. Well, now DADT's moved up in the line, and it seems to me the best thing those of us whose #1 priority is ENDA can do is get the DADT repeal legislation passed so that the Congress can get back to ENDA. Pelosi's statement at Netroots Nation seemed very clearly to me (I'd be curious if anyone else got this same sense) to be saying that in fact the reason ENDA is halted is because they are waiting for the DADT legislation to be completed.

Well, maybe then what we need to focus on is getting the DADT legislation completed. Levin says the Senate will be taking up the defense authorization that contains at the beginning of September, after the August recess? Maybe we need to figure out how to hold them to the fire on that timetable?

I guess I don't know. At the least I am glad that Pelosi seems to have been given a clear signal at NN that ENDA really is something which is important and urgent to the community.

>> "Well, maybe then what we need to focus on is getting the DADT legislation completed. Levin says the Senate will be taking up the defense authorization that contains at the beginning of September, after the August recess? Maybe we need to figure out how to hold them to the fire on that timetable?"

You're forgetting the Pentagon's easy-sleazy escape hatch: the poll. Remember -- according to the rules of the game, DADT goes away if the Pentagon's Magic Poll says it's all okay for it to.

Now, what do you *seriously* think the chances of that are?

Seriously?

I think the entire study is a sham to shut up conservatives in the military. They wouldn't have started the study if they hadn't known from the beginning exactly what its outcome would be, or at least, they wouldn't have had the entire top tier of the military go and openly endorse DADT repeal in unbelievably strong terms BEFORE the study started if they were just going to humiliate by pulling the rug out from under them seven months later. This is CYA for the military's supporters of gay integration, so they have some bullshit piece of paper to point at to say integration won't effect "readiness"

(Though of course, that shouldn't matter, because the "readiness" study doesn't have anything to do with Congress-- the readiness study won't come back until months after the military authorization / dadt repeal legislation passes anyway. The interesting thing as far as I'm concerned isn't when dadt repeal actually takes effect, it's when the conference report passes out of the House and the House no longer has "mumble mumble something dadt" as an excuse for why they're not acting on ENDA.)

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....

Sorry, but that's incorrect.

The rules quite clearly state that no matter what Congress does, the Pentagon has the final word in the matter. Should Congress pass something in, say, November 2011 and the Pentagon's poll comes back in, say, July 2015, DADT remains with us and fully applicable until July 2015... or beyond, should the "poll" say that, oh my, this is a really bad idea...

The whole thing is one gigantic shell game, not to shut up conservatives -- no need to, since they're gonna be laughing at every step of this little charade -- but to shut *us* up. "See? We're trying! But what can we do?", said with a forlorn sigh and en extended hand looking for campaign donations...

I don't know what the "rules" you're referring to are and I'm not sure what the point you're trying to make here is. However your description of the process is sort of gibberish. I'm not sure if any of this really matters, but here's basically how DADT works:

1. At present, there is a law passed by Congress in 1993 which says LGBs cannot join the military.
2. There is a new law [link] pending, which has not yet passed Congress, which would create a process whereby the older law is conditionally repealed. The conditions are (a) the DOD study on the effects of repealing DADT has to finish; this is required [link] to occur by December 1 of this year, (b) the President, secdef and jsoc chief all have to certify that their LGB integration plan "is consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces", and (c) 60 days pass. As soon as these three things happen, the 1993 law evaporates and the military is allowed (though not required) to let in LGBs.
3. Congress could of course pass other legislation, saying something different, at any time. The Pentagon is subject to the law as passed by Congress, period.

You refer to a "poll". There is this survey that's been in the news, which is part of the DADT repeal impact study, but technically the results of the survey don't matter-- the overall study just has to finish, the repeal law is indifferent to anything the study says once it's finished. What matters is whether the Lieberman/Murphy law passes (assumed likely), whether we can get three signatures (only one from someone properly at "the pentagon", all three from individuals who have strongly argued for an end to DADT) on a piece of paper, and I suppose whether Congress decides to intervene again if they don't like what Obama/Gates/Mullen do next.

Sorry about the double post. My comment was initially held by Bilerico because of the links so I reposted it. Oops.

I don't know what the "rules" you're referring to are and I'm not sure what the point you're trying to make here is. However your description of the process is sort of gibberish. I'm not sure if any of this really matters, but here's basically how DADT works:

1. At present, there is a law passed by Congress in 1993 which says LGBs cannot join the military.
2. There is a new law [text here] pending, which has not yet passed Congress, which would create a process whereby the older law is conditionally repealed. The conditions are (a) the DOD study on the effects of repealing DADT has to finish, which is required to occur by December 1 of this year, (b) the President, secdef and jsoc chief all have to certify that their LGB integration plan "is consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces", and (c) 60 days pass. As soon as these three things happen, the 1993 law evaporates and the military is allowed (though not required) to let in LGBs.
3. Congress could of course pass other legislation, saying something different, at any time. The Pentagon is subject to the law as passed by Congress, period.

You refer to a "poll". There is this survey that's been in the news, which is part of the DADT repeal impact study, but technically the results of the survey don't matter-- the overall study just has to finish, the repeal law is indifferent to anything the study says once it's finished. What matters is whether the Lieberman/Murphy law passes (assumed likely), whether we can get three signatures (only one from someone properly at "the pentagon", all three from individuals who have strongly argued for an end to DADT) on a piece of paper, and I suppose whether Congress decides to intervene again if they don't like what Obama/Gates/Mullen do next.

>> "The conditions are (a) the DOD study on the effects of repealing DADT has to finish, which is required to occur by December 1 of this year, (b) the President, secdef and jsoc chief all have to certify that their LGB integration plan "is consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces", and (c) 60 days pass."

And so what part of this do you not understand? Look at section (b) -- "certify that the integration plan is consistent with the standards of military readiness..." et al. If the plan isnt, DADT remains in place, because one of the requirements has not been fulfilled. And it will stay in place.

>> "You refer to a "poll". There is this survey that's been in the news, which is part of the DADT repeal impact study, but technically the results of the survey don't matter"

Ahem. If the results dont matter, what, pray tell, is the point of taking it in the first place? No, my friend, you miss the point of the "survey"/"poll"/whatever you wish to call it. It is to document that gays and lesbians will be a disruption to the forces -- which is sufficient to kill the repeal of DADT. If the repeal law had any teeth in it whatsoever, the "survey" would not have been made part of it: Congress would have simply said "It's repealed. Deal with it." It didnt. It caved to the Pentagon upper brass who live in perpetual fear that some little gay boy is gonna find all those stars so dazzling as to be irresistable.

"Ahem. If the results dont matter, what, pray tell, is the point of taking it in the first place?'"

The point of the study is to inform the White House and Pentagon in constructing their plan for the process by which DADT is replaced. It is there because the Pentagon demanded it as a condition of their support for a DADT repeal.

If the goal of the Pentagon leadership was to keep DADT in place, they would not have gone through this incredibly circuitous route of publicly throwing themselves wholeheartedly behind repeal and then tricking Congress into writing into the repeal legislation an elaborate back door by which after pushing for DADT repeal for a year Gates and Mullen can halt the process at the last moment. That is Bond villain shit right there and it wouldn't even work (because if Gates and Mullen bail after the ball is moved so far down the field, LGBT advocates in Congress would be in a strong position to pass further legislation ending DADT by other means). If the goal was to prevent DADT repeal, the Pentagon could have simply done what it did during the Clinton administration: It could have said no.

Well, you're welcome to believe that fantasy. I prefer the reality that says that the circuitous path you cite is just a big PR stunt so the Democrats can say "Hey, we did what we could. Gosh darn it all, we tried!"

>> "It could have said no."

... which is exactly the point. They will. Contain your shock when it happens.

Renee Thomas | July 24, 2010 8:52 PM

@Tired of Robin

Look champ, do us all a big favor and demonstrate that you possess the courage of your convictions and sign your name - your real name - to your next gutless rant. And while you’re at it, regale us all with tales of your recent heroic exploits in the trenches of the fight for full civil rights.

Renee Thomas

I think "Tired of Robin" simply suggested that Robin think before she speaks and try to understand politics. When there are no positive results for the GetEQUAL stunts, we have to wonder how much damage there is.

I think the comment reflected what most of us already know - we do not support the "crazy shenanigans" and childish antics of Robin and Kip. That's why they haven't generated any participation.

I hope they gamble away the rest of their funding.

Pelosi is our friend. If you (like GetEQUAL) believe she isn't our friend - tell me, do we have any friends?

Yep Andrew you're right we're all getting sick of Robin. Oh wait the numerous sites you post on complaining about GetEqual you are normally outnumbered 3 or 4 to 1. I guess most of us don't see it the way you do.

Kip and Robin have plenty of free time to post comments. That isn't as important as the fact that nobody is supporting them. They called an "emergency action" in Washington DC and 20 people showed up - half of them being paid to be there.

My comments on numerous sites have been a warning about GetEQUAL. They are alienating friends and embarrassing us. That's isn't productive or helpful - it is counterproductive.

If you would like to dispute that, tell me why you believe they have been effective with their $500,000 investment? I believe they have wasted money that could be put to better use. How have their actions helped further our Movement? What is so brilliant about childish publicity stunts and pissing on our friends? What? Robin can't answer these simple questions. How about you give it a try?

GetEQUAL has failed miserably. Their actions are offensive and even repulsive because they do not help us - they hurt us. Scheduling their childish stunts and getting a few people to show up might take a few hours a week, not three marginal activists working full time for +$80,000 a year. It's ridiculous.

Tired of Robin | July 25, 2010 12:08 PM

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

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Renee Thomas | July 24, 2010 11:02 PM

Pelosi is a politician - she is not our “friend”. She will act FIRST from a position of self-interest. That said, it's important to make the cost of failing to honor promises made to a constituency that worked very hard to give the Democrats a robust majority in the House, a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and the Oval Office . . . exceedingly high.

I’ve given up counting on moral courage from our “Friends”.

Fear . . . of a withdrawal of political support, of a cessation of political contributions - can be as effective a motivator as selfish and cynical self-interest.

You want my dollar? Earn It

You want my vote . . . ever again? Prove to me by actions – by promises KEPT - that you are worthy of it.

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

Renee Thomas | July 26, 2010 4:12 PM

Andrew,

We have “shared interests” and the Democratic Party has a pressing need to maintain it's "cash cow" - that's all.


Such is American Politics in 2010

The ethos for doing the right thing no matter the "political cost" died with Harry Truman's order to racially integrate the Armed Forces.

Would you admit that politicians vote the will of the majority of their constituents and/or their personal "moral beliefs?"

We can't get 60 votes in the US Senate because there are a half dozen Conservative Democrats.

The President can tell them what to do. Neither can Reid. But, their constituents could.

Angela Brightfeather | July 25, 2010 12:00 AM

It shold be pretty obvious who switched the agenda from ENDA to DADT and I don't mean Dan Choi.

The whole switcheroo and pressure to reverse issue priorities smacks of HRC to me.

Please folks as I have said before ONCE IS ENOUGH if you can't get it across the first time there is no reason to write 7 out of 17 comments blasting the gist of these articles.

Far as I can tell AndrewW's point isn't to be persuasive but just to drown out all other points of view. Argument by typing speed

Then it would seem that he's learned well from the HRC-Gay, Inc., M.O.

In which I find myself back at the beginning.

Was it not last year that were complaining that HRC had told Pelosi to put ENDA before DADT?

Doesn't every one know we're not allowed to prioritize or criticize anyone else's number one issue? The plan is there is no plan because we cannot achieve consensus on a plan.

Well I guess they changed their minds back again.

A search of the archive for the HRC blog 'HRC Back Story' between January, 2010 and today reveals:

"ENDA" category - 35 entries
"Military" category - 205 entries

173 of the 205 Military entries follow the March 15th announcement of the 'HRC, Veterans and Kathy Griffin DADT Repeal Rally.'

ENDA is the blog topic only 16 times from March 15th to the present.

Looks like somebody had a new marketing plan and stuck to it.

http://www.edgeboston.com/index.php?ch=news&sc=&sc2=news&sc3=&id=90428

"Our plate is full right now with our focus on health care, energy, and the issues related to the economy. We have ENDA as a top priority," said Pelosi. "We have the hate crimes legislation first and the ENDA bill the next step after that."

This was an interview in April, 2009.

First off if they really wished to have passed ENDA it would have happened when they had a 60/40 vote split in the Senate, however it never happened. One can only conclude they only wish to use ENDA for political reasons and have no real commitment to actually passing it. My guess is they see little upside to passage, but a whole lot of downside from the ultra-right wing religious bigots who are the loudest opposition to ENDA. So ENDA to them is just a lever to try to get contributions from LGBTQ Americans. They pull that lever just enough to try to keep the cash flowing to their Campaign war chest but nothing more. I believe in rewarding positive behavior and discouraging poor so I have made it clear that if they wish to see any contributions from me, they need to get busy and get ENDA moving. I am not sure I expect passage but I damned well expect a vote on it! When I see it being held in a Democratic controlled committee, it tells me they do not wish to even attempt passage of it. Well if they are unwilling to show some guts and move what I consider a vital issue for LGBTQ Americans forward, I see little reason to open my checkbook so they can mess us around again for another 2, 4, 6, or more years. I say, NO ENDA VOTE, NO Contribustions.

The only problem, Joanna, is when you look at the alternative, it's worse. So we basically have to choose between the Devil we know and the Great Satan we dont want.

While all of the respondents to the ENDA and DADT priorities issues crowd appear to believe that these are the only priorities facing Congress at this time I fail to get excited over arguing with or about the 40 )and growing by the hour) comments back and forth both for and against certain persons and our priorities. It appears that there is nothing new being presented and most of you good folks are just pissing all over yourselves in a vain attempt towards one upmanship. That said I was wondering; what are the other issues that make up the daily routine of our Congresspersons? While I am sure that there are many more issues than just ENDA and DADT I thought that I would take the time to investigate the accomplishments of my own Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR). These interests or issues that he has accomplished include items presented, spoken on before the full body of Congress, or passed:
1. The Budget issues 31 since 2006.
2. Consumer issues 21 since 2007.
3. Economy and Jobs issues 30 since 2006.
4. Foreign Affairs issues 11 since 2007.
5. Health Care and Reform issues 21 since 2006.
6. Homeland Security as Committee Chairperson issues 9 (since 109th congressional year).
7. Infrastructure issues 19 since 2006.
8. Seniors issues 6 since 2008.
9. Small Business issues 8 since 2007.
10. Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan issues 27 since 2002.
11. Social Security and Medicare issues 2 since 2010.
12. Telecommunications issues 2 since 2012.
13. Trade issues 8 since 2007.
14. Transportation issues 53 since 2008.

While I await the results of my question put to a member of Peter’s staff on his interest with and for current issues that he has an interest in pursuing probably by Monday should and I have not doubt that this ongoing open ended back and forth argument will continue I will post again seeing that Peter was one of the first to endorse DADT as a House Rule (1283) of 183 signers by March 2010. I do understand the importance of passing LGBTQXYZ issues running our government is not and should not sink to the level of only two issues. Each Congressperson has a full staff of people working on issues of importance both in the offices of their home states and in DC. Enough is certainly enough move on.

Wow! Two comments removed due to TOS. I haven't seen that for a long time. I wonder which commenter causes all of this anger? Not me. Not this time.

Oooops. This comment does not stay on subject. Oh well.

But not the comment I found offensive and pointed out to Bil and Jerame. I guess that "a comment that.. includes a slur" is now acceptable. Bilerico Project boilerplate post used when a comment is in violation of Terms of Service needs to be amended to reflect the change in editorial policy. Permission granted to refer to individuals as "whores" and "tools."

Later, talking about another bill, she also referenced ENDA: "I want to do it, you convinced me, now build the mass to make me do it."

Which sounds suspiciously like the previous "nobody's been lobbying" excuse given about trans inclusion in 2007. Personally, I'd be insulted that this is being thrown back at the grassroots community, when the top brass has done zip.