Editors' note: C.D. Kirven is a Lambda Literary nominated author of the book What Goes Around Comes Back Around, former Get Equal member and Co-founder of Get Equal Now.
The truth is marching on as President Obama's declining poll numbers are at the root of his staff's impatience with LGBT commentators. As a community activist on the frontlines of the equality fight, I find the Obama administration takes a more tactical approach to strategic social issues. My advice to the administration, as a voter and as one of the unsatisfied members of the LGBT blogosphere, is "It's ENDA Stupid."
Here is my advice on a more effective plan of attack after reading former Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta's "legislative box" theory in New York Times article by Matt Bai. The theory sets the stage for a provocative look at the "legislative traps" set by right wing pundits and outlines the Republican's back-to-basics roadmap to jumping congressional hurdles by sticking to a simplistic approach to political regaling.
The first mistake made by the administration was president's choice to dismantle Don't Ask Don't Tell and abandoning the momentum of the Non-Employment Discrimination Act with Trans inclusion. ENDA is a basic financial need and would have allowed them to stay on message with the need to fix the economy. The ENDA choice would have opened the door to a laser beam focus on our spiraling expenditures and would have allowed ENDA to piggy back on new bank regulations.
Most Americans agree on the need for more stringent economic controls to prevent another recession and tone down the transparent greed of huge companies lining their pockets with tax dollars, filling jobs with illegal immigrants and taking advantage of their "too big to fail" propaganda. This simple approach allows the administration to take control of the current political climate impacting most middle-class Americans by focusing more on the ails of the middle-class electorate that elected President Obama, it puts the economy center stage and allows the administration to just say no to reactive politics.
The president allowed populist right wing characters like Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh the ability to steer public opinion in the wrong direction and set the president's centrist agenda instead appropriately setting their commentary as extremist satire.
There is a "meet in the middle" model to change politics that was key to the success of candidate Obama that President Obama needs to recapture or fiascos like Sherry Sherrod become the norm instead of the highly typical Capitol Hill posturing. Let's engage Americans to helm their own destiny and hold corporations to the same fiscal responsibility that average Americans are facing, which is the very stark realization that "MADE IN AMERICA" has been outsourced to the much cheaper "MADE IN CHINA."
President Obama's central strategy of passing massive legislation instead of becoming the post-partisan president we elected has stifled the much needed change required to break free from the decaying blue laws that have become a thorn in his legislative side.
Also, the president should avoid taking a morally pragmatic stance on social issues like the Ground Zero Mosque then using the Constitution as a shield to avoid the appearance of being a hypocrite. President Obama took the high road by challenging Islamophobia but continues to take the low road in his rejection of gay marriage, which only amplifies homophobia. LGBT citizens are entangled in fringe political play that has increased a national acceptance of anti-homosexual conversations. He agreed to the constitutional right to build the Ground Zero Mosque but disagreed with the logic of its location. Sound familiar? When all else fails, Mr. President, do what's right instead of what's popular!
ENDA legislation has the support required to pass in the House and leave the Senate holdouts to LGBT leaders. The LGBT community and voters have a responsibility to call out representatives not acting in the public's best interest.
I hope more Democratic officials take the popular public Republican imaging of wearing their love of liberty on their sleeve. Stop the blame game to start the shame gambit because America needs more public servants and fewer corporate slaves. The damage done to our country in the name of free enterprise is nothing short of disgraceful. This strategic vision will go along way in repairing the devastation greed has done to our economy and lessens the opportunities of those profiting from injustice.
A big scope focus of the economy will allow the Obama administration to get back on track. Stop the outsourcing, start giving companies hiring illegal immigrants stiff penalties and require American companies use profits to hire American citizens to produce products for American consumers. LGBT, immigration and economic turbulence are a part of one central strategic plan to shift the focus from what your country can do for you to what you can do for your country.