Jerame Davis

The Government is Shut Down, So Let's Talk about ENDA?

Filed By Jerame Davis | October 03, 2013 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, The Movement
Tags: bad activism, ENDA, government shutdown, HRC, Task Force

That makes sense, right? I mean, what else are we going to do while the Republicans hold the country hostage demanding a ransom? Apparently, that's the mentality at many of our national LGBT organizations today. My first clue was this text alert from the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force:

Task Force ENDA Text

Shortly thereafter, I received an email from HRC urging me to call and lobby Congress on ENDA today.

Folks, if you want to know why it's taken over 30 years to pass ENDA, look no further. Time and again, our own community has been the gum in the works when it comes to sensible, strategic action on ENDA. While this particular instance is mild, there are times when I wonder if our organizations are serious about passing this bill, or if they're just going through the motions.

HRC ENDA EmailWhile it's great to see movement on ENDA from our national organizations, there is no worse time than right now to be lobbying Congress on anything other than the shutdown. There have been repeated reports of day-drinking at the Capitol, legislators are tripping over one another to get in front of a TV camera to blast the other side, and, most importantly, staffing on the Hill, which has already been cut, is dwindling in both number and patience by the day.

So, with fewer people dealing with more bullshit, our organizations want to send a bunch of people calling and visiting the Hill to lobby for ENDA? Are they serious?

HRC should have cancelled or rescheduled their lobby day and the rest of the organizations involved should have been cognizant enough to redraw their own plans. The shutdown has been looming for weeks and the deadline was known. No one was caught off guard here. It is a waste of time, effort, energy, and resources to be talking to Congress about anything other than the shutdown right now.

So, while I'm sure some staffers may be thrilled to hear about something other than the shutdown, the message is almost certainly falling on deaf ears among the people that matter and will most likely get lost in the shuffle as the fight to fund our government continues. It's also possible some of the offices will be downright irritated to have a bunch of LGBT people lobbying on their narrow interests while the whole country is in shambles.

We've become rather inured to HRC's tone-deafness on ENDA, but this is new ground for the Task Force. It's great to see our orgs coordinating their efforts, but that coordination couldn't have come at a more inopportune moment. And rather than talking about how great it is that our LGBT orgs have found common ground on this important issue, we're left wondering if they've joined the rest of DC in the day-drinking festivities.

Just because Congress has lost its collective mind doesn't mean our organizations need to follow suit.


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