Viktor Kerney

Questioning the Purpose of the 'We Can't Wait' Campaign

Filed By Viktor Kerney | April 13, 2012 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, The Movement
Tags: ENDA executive order, President Obama, We Can't Wait Campaign, workplace discrimination

After the Obama administration decided not to use an executive order for workplace discrimination, activists were highly pissed. Many of them called for Obama's head, threatened not to vote and labeled the White House as cowards. Then, one of the newest and problematic campaigns was launched - bigstock-Question-6238425.jpgthe "We Can't Wait" initiative.

This campaign is funded by Jonathan Lewis, the son of billionaire Democratic benefactor Peter Lewis. One of the main initiatives of this program is to fly victims of discrimination at federal contractors to Washington and have them confront Obama. They hope to gain a lot of public attention with this plan.

While it is an ambitious initiative, it's also tricky and confusing.

The point and goal of this campaign is to fly folks to Washington and confront President Obama. Good luck with that. How are they going to 'confront' the President? By invitation? Please, they are not getting into the White House or close enough to the door.

Yes, this will get attention, but the real question is: How effective will this attention be? If this confrontation is nothing but a bunch people shouting at the White House gate, we are looking at a good day or two of talk. Will this act be taken seriously?

When the gay couple, Jarrod Scarbrough and Les Sewell went on MSNBC to talk about the Easter Egg protest, more folks talked about Les' pastel colored hair than the points he was making. Seriously, if this campaign is going to do something; they have to be organized or the message will be lost.

Another thing that bothers me is the use of Jonathan's money. He's using $100,000 to ship people to Washington. How long are they going to stay in Washington and what else are they doing on their free trip?

I'm not trying to be a hater, but in order for us to move forward, we need to question some of these reactive ideas. I find this "We Can't Wait" campaign troubling and awkward. But I'm not going criticize without providing some suggestions.

So these are my recommendations on what this campaign could actually do:

Instead of spending $100,00 on these trips, use that money to support the ENDA legislation. Use that money to win over support from the labor unions and lobbyists. Use that money to confront the federal contractors.

And speaking of federal contractors, why doesn't this campaign go after them? This whole 'Confront Obama' notion is a bit much. Why not go after the federal contractors. Are they the main source of this problem? Be activists and take it to the source. Going after Obama isn't the deal; it's actually an example of poor strategy (which seems to be our theme lately).

My final suggestion is for this campaign to actually work with the key stakeholders and other decision-makers to ensure ENDA's passage. We need to stop acting like we can do it all on our own. This campaign can join with other groups to make sure the legislation has the support it needs to pass.

Yes, we are all upset about the Obama Administration's decision. But instead of shouting at the White House, we could be actually making things happen in a true and effective manner.

(Question graphic via BigStock)


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