Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

"Don't Ask Don't Tell" Protest of Obama Fundraiser Makes Local and National News

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | October 12, 2010 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Get Equal, GetEqual, Miami, Obama protest

In the crush of local and national and international news, getting a line in an article can be considered a major victory. GetEqual succeeded in getting a toe in that door. GetEqual Miami Protest.jpg

Yesterday evening, GetEQUAL and other Floridian activists, unleashed a barrage of protests by air, land, and sea targeting President Obama for his failure to sign an executive order barring gay and lesbian servicemembers from being discharged under the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law.

President Obama attended a star-studded Democratic Party fundraiser at NBA star Alonzo Mourning's bayfront estate. During the hour and a half President Obama was at Alonzo's home for this big-money, Democratic Party fundraiser, LGBT activists confronted him by land, sea and air, demanding he finally show some leadership and stop the discharges of openly gay and lesbian servicemembers by signing an executive order.

Firedoglake, AmericaBlog and Pam's House Blend covered the protest as it was happening.

The protest also caught the attention of the Associated Press (that's where the picture above is from) and the Miami Herald, and their stories are after the jump. This type of mainstream media coverage is key to movement forward, if any is possible, in my opinion.

UPDATE:

CBS has weighed in with a full story on the protests, entitled "Gay Rights Activists Protest Obama Fundraiser, Lash Out at White House." The Hill, a well-regarded Capitol newsmagazine, also mentioned the protest. See comments section for links.

The Associated Press included pictures of the protest, and said:

Protesters of the military's ban on gay service members stood outside the entrance to the gated community where Obama spoke, holding banners that read "Stop the Discharges Now." Other activists protesting the "don't ask, don't tell" policy boarded a boat within view of the waterfront property, blowing airhorns during the president's fundraising remarks.

While Obama has repeatedly said he opposes "don't ask, don't tell", some activists say he hasn't done enough to repeal the law.

Here's the caption on the AP photo:

Larry Whitt, who left the Navy after serving 12 years because he is gay, joins other protesters and supporters who watched President Obama arrive in Coral Gables, Fla. Monday, Oct. 11, 2010. Whitt was there to protest the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Three weeks from Election Day, President Barack Obama tries to buoy Democratic candidates, traveling to four states in seven days, including a stop in South Florida. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

The Miami Herald included a bold headline, "Protest," in its article, and connected it with GetEqual's previous protest of the President.

PROTEST

A group of about 20 activists pushing for a quicker end to the military's ``Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'' policy protested the event aboard boats in Biscayne Bay. They could be heard at the tents on Mourning's lawn, but the noise wasn't enough to disrupt the fundraiser. Hecklers at a New York fundraiser in September forced Obama to go off-script several times to defend his record.

I'd like to see more of this mainstream coverage. Coverage in the gay press is nice, but it's preaching to the choir.

Kudos to GetEqual for planning and executing a fairly complex tactical maneuver. I say "more!"

Disclosure: I am on the provisional Board of Directors of GetEqual.


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UPDATE:

CBSnews.com has weighed in with a full story on the protests, entitled "Gay Rights Activists Protest Obama Fundraiser, Lash Out at White House." The Hill, a well-regarded Capitol newsmagazine, also mentioned the protest.

Only a small percentage of the LGBT media covered this latest stunt. The National mainstream media did not. Of the 27 articles or newscasts in Miami only 5 of them even mentioned the protest.

But that failure aside, even if it did get coverage, please explain HOW that is helpful. It's not a secret that we want DADT repealed and it's not a secret that Obama can't do it without 60 votes in the Senate.

So, how did this grandstanding change any of that? Did it give Obama some new magical powers? Did it change any votes in the US Senate? Of course not.

The GetEQUAL strategy of embarrassing, harassing, irritating or inconveniencing people into submission is juvenile. Please provide some examples of how any of those desperate actions have lead to success for any group. Find something in the last 20 years.

There is a reason no other group is heckling, barging into meetings, stopping traffic, dancing with signs or engaging in mini-hunger strikes - THEY DON'T WORK.

GetEQUAL is only doing this an effort to get themselves "attention" and hopefully turn that into donations. Let's hope they run out of money before we run out of friends.

Still lying, are you, Andrew? Tsk tsk. Sooner or later you'll realize that you can't post about how no mainstream coverage was done when, well, all the reporters who were there were from the mainstream, the photo supplied for Jillian's article came from a mainstream, and there's something about it in critical sources both in Miami and nationally.

Then you add in the lie that the Commander in Chief, under the UCMJ, does indeed have the power -- constitutionally so -- to end the order, and can do it even if he has zero votes in the Senate. Because he is the commander in chief.

Now, if that seems to you, Andrew, like I'm calling you a bald faced liar, well, then your perceptions of things are incorrect, as I'm saying that your words are lies, because in the first two paragraphs you lie through your teeth in your response.

I will, of course, be kind to you and assume that these are lies of ignorance on your part, and not too willful, but that doesn't change the fact they are, in fact, lies.

Care to share your military service with us, Andrew?

You appear to be operating under some illusory belief in the power of changing hearts and minds of people who have no real reason to change their heart or mind, which you assert when you talk about did ths change any Senators opinions. You also seem to think this is about changing the heart and mind of someone -- it isn't, and to characterize it as such is, well, sorta asinine, but to be expected from someone who starts out a comment with lies.

I find it interesting that you think the GetEqual strategy of embarrassing, harassing, irritating or inconveniencing people into submission is juvenile. Especially since you, personally, have been employing that exact same strategy across multiple blogs, yet you yourself have done absolutely zero in any way to advance any cause. THis makes you a hypocrite, in a ddition to a liar, and you really don't want me to bring up some of the homophobic, heteronormativist, transphobic, and generally classist bullshit you've spread in the past.

Keep in mind, I think you should be able to post such stuff -- the hypocrisy, lies, deception, misdirection, and lies you employ are all excellent examples of why organizations such as Get Equal are not only worthwhile, but why they even came to exist in the first place.

Then, of course, you end your statement with "no other group", forgetting, of course, Pride parades (which are, literally, and precisely, what you are describing), but then, it's become apparent that you don't participate in Pride parades, so no wonder that you fail to see that connection.

And lastly, y favorite, you claim that they are doing all of this for donations, when Get Equal isn't asking for any that I've seen -- although I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and allow for the that maybe you've seen something I haven't.

Which you will have to prove, of course. Because otherwise, you are just a lying prejudiced hindrance and a damaging force tot he rights of LGBT persons, and an active collaborator with those who seek to oppress LGBT people for your own benefit, therefore acting in bad faith.

After all, why else would you be putting so much effort into hurting the efforts of people working for such?

I know where you will go with any response you will make, and to be perfectly frank, barring an admission of the accuracy of what I've said about your words and statements, I don't give a rat's ass. My response to you is here in order to point out that you are lying about such things and that you are doing so from a position of someone who is working against LGBT interests, not for them.

By the way, it was a blast, and the overwhelming majority (over 99%) of people entering the fundraiser, driving by, and incidentally in the area, including the cops involved in the protection of the president, all supported the action.

Amazing. That's a lot of anger Antonia. First, you suggest my first two sentences were "lies." This event wasn't covered by the mainstream media - CBS has an article on their "Blog," it did not make cable news - including MSNBC or any national news coverage. It did however show up in some of the local media, about 20% of the stories covered it. Also, some of the LGBT Blogs mentioned it via a link to AmericaBlog.

That's a fair and objective report of the coverage.

I then I ask "even if it did get coverage, please explain HOW that is helpful. It's not a secret that we want DADT repealed and it's not a secret that Obama can't do it without 60 votes in the Senate.

That's a simple question and then a simple fact: Obama cannot "repeal" DADT without the 60 votes in the Senate. He can suspend the law, but he can't "repeal" the law by himself. That's where those 60 votes come in - for repeal.

Again, an accurate and truthful statement.

You then go into a long rant about me and that isn't what Jillian comments were about. You deny GetEQUAL is soliciting donations but they've been sending emails requesting donations.

The rest of your comment is simply "cheerleading" for this organization. That's fine. I asked a few very specific questions and you have refused to answer them. I suspect it is because nobody has ever been able to rationalize these stunts.

I think GetEQUAL is hurting our movement (or what's left of it) and I think they are hurting our community with their self-serving stunts. I will remind you these are "professional" activists earning substantial salaries and probably deserving of heightened public scrutiny. Robin uses the word "accountability" even more than I do.

I will ask again since you are so supportive of this group: HOW does this latest attempt to get "attention" HELP us? Do you believe we are really going to embarrass or shame Obama into using his "magic wand?" Perhaps you have a few examples from the recent past which help demonstrate the effectiveness of shaming or irritating someone into submission?

Answers would be helpful.

Again Andrew you only addressed part of Antonia's post and surprise surprise it's to attack GetEqual again. You refuse to address the part where she as many of us have challenged you to show what you have done to further the effort. Again I ask you for your proof that your research exists. If you claim their way is wrong show us the right way. Oh that's right we aren't ready for your wisdom yet. It's very simple put up or shut up.

First, you suggest my first two sentences were "lies." This event wasn't covered by the mainstream media - CBS has an article on their "Blog," it did not make cable news - including MSNBC or any national news coverage. It did however show up in some of the local media, about 20% of the stories covered it.

Sorry Andrew, but CBS's blog, local media and the Associated Press count as "mainstream media." Yes, you lied to try and make your point and now you're stuck trying to spin it. Not gonna work. It invalidates your entire point if you have to base it all on a fallacy that's easily proven to be false.

If one CBS blog-article and a few mentions on political blogs count as "covered by the National mainstream media," I guess that's the new standard.

We can keep lowering the bar. That makes more people feel better, I suppose.

It's no secret I have been asking the media to ignore GetEQUAL. I no longer think that's necessary - they get it.

Hmmm.

Andrew, I haven't really posted much of anywhere for six months, and when I show up and read two lies starting out your earlier post, it was not out of anger.

So, once again, Andrew, you've lied. And this time you've lied about me. That's not a post one makes out of anger -- I cuss a lot less when I'm angry, and I'm more likely be far more abusive.

Which most people who've actually had the displeasure of dealing with me when they say stupid things like you have can tell you.

So, your *respnse* starts out with a lie -- unless you count a single word commentary as a sentence, in which case it's your second sentence that has a lie.

Then you want to pretend that the Media didn't cover it because you don't consider a blog to be such, even thought he media and the white house do consider such.

Thank you -- now we have also firmly established that you are literally out of step with mainline thinking, which does more to show your inability to comprehend what you are talking about than usual.

As for your statement about the Hill, well, once again, flat out lies, but at this point, it's something we can expect.

All of this in a vain attempt to support the lies and deciet youv'e perpetrated here, when it whould have been obvious to you (were you actually in touch with things as you have claimed) that I expected you to do so, despite the fact that it's been covered in far more than merely those two places, but you are simply too out of touch to even look for other coverage since that would serve to only bury you even deeper in the hole you dug that I'm helping to fill in on top of you.

You asked how it was helpful -- and as I noted, it reminds the president he doesn't need those votes. You asked, I answered, but you didn't like that answer, which isn't uncommon.

So thus far we have you are a person who lies, who is out of touch with the reality of situations, who is a hypocrite using the same tactivs to disaparage and then denies or avoids dealing with it, that hasn't done anything himself in any way shape or form to advance any of the efforts he soundly attacks, and is generally a liability tot he community as a whole.

ANd that, from just two posts and your history.

Things are not looking particularly good for you right now, Andrew.

As for cheerleading, you seem to have forgotten who I am -- the only people I cheerlead, Andrew, are trans people in early stages of their transition and anything else is my expressing an opinion that may change depending on how stupid they are when they open their mouth.

While you think GetEqual is bad, I *know* that your style and kind of discourse is detrimtental and harmful to the movement -- and can and have shown how it is a liability.

So, to use your own logic, it would be best if you were to stop your hypocrisy and remove yourself from further posting.

Personally, I don't expect you to do so and I am glad of that. Without you, we don't have anyone to remind us of what it is we are fighting against.

Tell ya what -- I'll answer the rest of your questions, and even address the comment about donation seeking (and you'd think since I'm on their email list, they'd ask me), but only after you answer my earlier questions regarding your personal efforts and that means details, names, and addresses.

until then, since you've shown yourself to be willing to lie, to promote hypocrisy, to be out of touch with the way things are and the understanding of what you are talking is fallacious, I'm going to treat you as the liability you represent and have shown yourself to be.

And that means, Andrew, that I will call your lies out from here on and move on.

Because that's education. And you are in sore need of a lot of it.

The Hill, a Blog where Heather Cronk (Managing Director of GetEQUAL) is a contributor, had an article about Obama and the NBA members at his fundraiser. The last two paragraphs said there was a protest "according to the White House pool report." That Post had 37 comments and not a single one mentioned the protest.

CBS did post an article that appears to be the only mainstream media coverage. It has 34 comments and not a single one supported the protest. Most considered it stupid or at least ill-timed. Read them: ww.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20019337-503544.html

I didn't comment on either article.

It's not that the media didn't know about this latest stunt - they simply chose to ignore it. I fully expect a campaign to embarrass the media next, but who will cover it?

Antonia- You are right on the money! I for one have never believed the person you are talking about has ever really had the good interest of our community in mind. I think you have made many valid points about the person but especially these two:
"I find it interesting that you think the GetEqual strategy of embarrassing, harassing, irritating or inconveniencing people into submission is juvenile. Especially since you, personally, have been employing that exact same strategy across multiple blogs, yet you yourself have done absolutely zero in any way to advance any cause. THis makes you a hypocrite, in a ddition to a liar, and you really don't want me to bring up some of the homophobic, heteronormativist, transphobic, and generally classist bullshit you've spread in the past."
and:
"Because otherwise, you are just a lying prejudiced hindrance and a damaging force tot he rights of LGBT persons, and an active collaborator with those who seek to oppress LGBT people for your own benefit, therefore acting in bad faith."

Thank you for saying what so many of us feel. Not to mention this seem to be his only purpose in life which is just sad. And no Andrew this comment does not need a reply.

She was flown into Miami to play the part of "activist." Of course she is going to suggest it was effective. Wouldn't you? Air fare is expensive.

She never explained HOW it was effective - like you she just tossed insults at people that disagree with her.

You both realize you are investing a lot in insulting an anonymous person. You do know that, right?

This is another controversy I struggle with, and don't know which side to take. Some thoughts:

I can imagine Andrew W as a black man asking in September 1963, "OK, we had a big March on Washington and Dr. King gave a good speech ... but what good did it do?"

On this day in 1987, 23 years ago, I was one of about 800 LGBT activists who got arrested in a civil disobedience rally on the steps of the US Supreme Cort Building. We were protesting Bowers v. Hardwick and Michael Hardwick was with us. In 2003, the next time that SCOTUS considered the consitutionality of sodomy laws, Bowers was overturned.

Did the protest make a difference? We don't know for sure, but I am proud of my participation that day.

Two days ago was the one-year anniversary of the 2009 National Equality March. Earlier that year there was a big national discussion about whether that march should take place, whether it would be a good use of our resources. One year later, we can judge the effectiveness of that march for ourselves -- other than hate crimes extensions, little has changed. On Monday, a friend pointed out to me that he could not find a single mention of the march in the press one year later, no one is crowing about how effective it was.

We all know the quote from FDR, when he told a group something like "I'd like to do want you want me to do, but now you need to make me do it." So how are we to make him do it?

The Bottom Line I've arrived at is this: Every one of these protest events is a crap shoot. Some are effective, some aren't, and you don't know ahead of time which ones will prove to be the effective ones.

So ... sometimes they are a waste of time, some times they even backfire ... and as time moves on, tactics do need to change (a black civil rights march today would not make history the way the 1963 March did) ...

... but if we do nothing we will get nothing, so we must try something.

So, even if GetEqual is not producing clearly identifiable results right now, I'm willing to give them a few years to show effectiveness. After that, if effectiveness is not apparent, then it is time to try something else.

GLAAD? ... their time is past. HRC? ... they have become professional fundraisers and not much more. GetEqual? ... the jury is still out.

Well said AJ.

I would simply like to suggest that the world has changed a lot in the last 50 years and as of today there is simply no evidence that 9 months of GetEQAUL stunts have done anything but alienate our friends. That's the risk.

I have never said direct action or even protest are wholly ineffective, but they do need to have 1) a purpose that supports our movement and 2) participation. GetEqaul's stated purpose is to "embarrass Democrats." That's what they done with $1 million dollars. It really defies logic that "embarrassing Democrats" somehow helps us. It's not like we can take up with our 'other" friends when we are dismissed - we don't have any other friends.

I'm glad you protested at the Supreme Court. That makes sense. Protesting your own team just doesn't add up. Another group has become very popular with a message of "throw the Democrats out." The Tea Party. Oddly enough, GetEQUAL fits right into that narrative.

I'm not sure of your age, I am in my 40s (take note Robin) but my biggest concern is the young people that are subjected to this messaging on Face Book, other social networks and blogs. They elected Obama with their enthusiastic turnout. If they don't turn out on November 2nd, I think GetEQUAL's attack of Democrats, including the President, may be partially responsible for that. We'll know soon.

I appreciate your thoughtful comment.

Are you serious? First you tell us that GetEqual is ineffective and no one pays attention to them in one post and this post you are going to blame them for the Democrats loss. I am starting to believe that you are a paid DNC operative. It would make a lot of sense. Cover up for the weakness of this president and the party in general. If the Democrats lose they will lose because they have sold their base down the river. I am in my 40s also. I was extremely active in College Democrats including representing my university at the National College Democrat Convention in Atlantic City. I have only voted Republican twice when the Democratic candidate was so God darn awful. This year for the first time I will look at 3rd party candidates. Now for Congress I will be voting for Dem for both my rep and senator because they have earned my vote. In fact I am proud that my state is the only state where both Senators signed the letter encouraging the DOJ not to appeal the DADT ruling. But local elections I will look and if the Dems don't support us I will vote 3rd party

I have said that GetEQUAL's childish stunts do not help us - the LGBT Community and they help the Republicans.

GetEQUAL is promoting the idea that we need to punish the Democrats. They are on the wrong team. Check the score on November 3rd. While most adults have ignored GetEQUAL the risk is they have had some influence on younger people who don't follow the news and get much of their info from Face Book and other social networks. To the extent that some people have seen their stunts, they are moved to sit out this election. They certainly are not motivated to vote when Robin says Obama is a liar.

GetEQUAL is a sad part of the history of our struggle. Perhaps they will be remembered as the crazy mis-fits that showed us what NOT TO DO. Even I would suggest there is some value there.

Andrew W, when you say "alienate our friends. That's the risk" I tend not to take that risk all that seriously.

The Democrats, like the GOP, are all political whores. All they want are money and votes. We might offend them today, but if we can deliver money and votes tomorrow, we will be back in their good graces in no time.

So I tend to think that the potential damage that GetEQUAL events might do, whether bona fide protests or silly media stunts, will be limited and short-lived.

I don't understand why Get Equal would protest Obama, who wants DADT repealed, and not someone like Allen West, who has a possibility of winning FL Congressional District 22. West is a notorious homophobe, an extreme hater, he wants to keep DADT in place, and is in a tight race with incumbent Ron Klein. Klein voted to repeal DADT in the House in May. I don't get it.

By drawing attention to the FL District 22 race and Allen West's extreme homophobia, Get Equal could really have an impact on a tight race where the LGBT community and gay troops stand to lose a great deal. Instead of protesting someone like West, they go after the President. Come to Fort Lauderdale and protest West - a real enemy!

Really Marc? Don't you think those who care about West's homophobia already know. Get equal would make no difference. As for why GetEqual protest Dems instead of Republicans let me explain with a little story.
Let's say you know two people let's call them John and Barry. They are both moving to a new house and need some money and your help to move. Now John he has been a jerk to you always. Called you names etc. You tell him no I will not help you. Now Barry is a different story. He has always been friendly to you and you kind of consider him one of those acquaintances you call a friend. Now you still aren't sure you want to help Barry but he become buddy buddy with you and promises that if you give him money and help him move he'll be there for you any time you need him. So you say ok and help him.
Now it's 6 months later and you need some help. See there is this job that you really want and Barry is buddy buddy with the people making the decision. You call Barry and say hey remember had you said you will be there for me well could you make some calls for me. Barry says I'd really love to but I am so busy right now but hey next time I'll help you out.
A few months pass and you are getting kicked out of an organization you are in because you are gay. Now Barry is the president of that organization and he has been telling other people that he thinks kicking people out is wrong. John is on the Board of Directors of said organization and he wants you out. The Board is made up of 5 John supporters and 5 Barry supporters. But one of Barry's supporters is afraid what her friends will think if she doesn't kick you out so she's thinking of voting you out. One of John's supporters has supported Barry in the past and really has shown she has no issue with gay people. Instead of Barry taking the time to call these 2 he decides to do nothing so you are voted out 6-4. So what Barry do the next day? Awards his "supporter" with extra money.
Now who should I be most upset with?? John?? Not really. He always hated me and me directing my anger to him isn't going to change anything about how he feels. He owes me nothing and I owe him nothing. I might pissed but I knew what I was getting from.
Now Barry is a much different story. Barry said he was my friend. He then took advantage of me by getting me to help him and promising he'd be there for me. Yet when I needed him he had excuses or showed indifference. He's the one I should be angry with. One who claimed to be a friend but took advantage of me. And if my anger wasn't already high. He comes to me after I get kicked out and says can you help my friend move now and I promise I'll be there for you. Fool me once.

Practicing what I preach and scrolling past the flame wars, great that people turned up for a protest.