Diane Silver

Barney Frank explains

Filed By Diane Silver | October 16, 2009 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Barney Frank, Joy Behar, National Equality March

This post may well bring me no end of trouble, but here goes: Watch this clip of Joy Behar and Barney Frank. At the end of a long and interesting discussion of the status of the health care debate, she asks him about his much-maligned comments about the National Equality March. Barney explains. Now, here's the part that's gonna set off fireworks: I agree with him.

This march may end up being the most wonderful thing to ever happen to the LGBT movement. It could also end up draining energy away at a key moment. Here's Barney. What do you think?

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Totally agree with you, Diane AND with Barney Frank! Thanks so much for posting this clip. And now I'm gonna FB it...

I was at the Equality March and it was energizing and empowering. The message was loud and clear at every event with every speaker. Call, write, e-mail, and visit your lawmakers. Get involved. We will be the change!! I really don't think the participants at the March believed that's all they needed to do was show up and we'd be granted equality. Come on. We know there is much work that needs to be done.

I totally agree with you and Barney Frank. "They think marching s the end of it," is the most important part of this and the perfect answer to why "both" is not really going to do much. Living in San Francisco, I know that marches are very popular with young people (I'm nineteen) most often because they provide great facebook picture albums and status updates, I'm sorry to say.

Recently I've been writing to Senator Feinstein every single day about gay rights, health care, and education issues (specific to California) because of what Barney Frank said. It made me realize that the marches are not going to do anything unless we have well written words to back them up.

Between 100,000 and 250,000 LGBT people participated in the march. No, the were not wearing black ties and gowns. No, they are not "Washington insiders" nor are they the "power or financial elite"

They are, however, the LGBT base that needed to be and was mobilised, by this march. It was good, it was necessary, and it sent a message, not only to Washington, but to our own leadership: We've grown tired of waiting.

I think you're right, Diane. While there are some dedicated people who are participating in our ENDA Legislator of the Day campaign, I get the sense that most people are not making those phone calls. A few people regularly report back that they are calling, but mostly we hear a big silence. That's why ENDA is in trouble in the Senate. I would like to hear back from thousands of people making calls. I encourage everyone reading this to start getting their friends to call the ENDA Legislator of the Day every single day.

The march shows people like to get out and be seen while socializing with like-minded people. Whether we do this by going to a bar with friends or being politically active is not all that different emotionally.

Socializing is basic human nature and why I felt the approach to ENDA proposed by Dr. Weiss and others to use the magic of the Internet to connect groups of people to go meet their local representatives was so brilliant. In so doing we could use the normal human desire to be with others to accomplish political goals.

I've signed up for three such plans regarding ENDA to include Dr. Weiss's but sadly they have not worked out. Whether I'm the only one in my area signing up or whether the ideas have been poorly implemented is unclear.

In any case I'd love to get an e-mail from Dr. Weiss or another source saying something like "Several people are seeing Rep. John Doe about ENDA on such & such a date. Could you join us?"

As with many people if I can combine political activism, with meeting potential new friends, while getting out of the house, I'm way more prone to participate than sitting alone at home on my phone.

That's a great idea, Nerissa. The major difficulty I found this summer in terms of the meetings is that it is tremendously time-consuming to get a meeting with a US legislator. They have schedulers who often refuse to commit to a meeting until a week before the event, and they often forget or lose such requests, so it requires calling twice a week to make it happen. As an individual, I couldn't commit the kind of time necessary to make it work well. I handed it off to NCTE at some point. HRC is doing something similar with their No Excuses campaign. However, some sort of recess is coming up for the Senate (which is where the effort is really most needed.) I think the House is going to vote before any recess. So my thought is to create a site where the Senator's schedulers names and numbers are posted, allowing people to note their interest in meeting with that Senator, and dates that are scheduled. I'm not quite sure what it should look like, so if you or others have any ideas, please do let me know here so we can coordinate publicly. What do you think?

marc poirier | October 18, 2009 10:23 AM

There are undoubtedly people who will go to a march but will not pitch in then and do political work on the local or national leval. No gain but no harm in them marching. There are folks who are doing and will do the political work. Some of them took time and energy and money to get themselves to the march,s ome did not. I don't think in retrospect that there was a terrible drain on thse folkds created by the March. No harm in *them* marching, even if not much gain. And there are those who attended the march and will be inspired by it to take energy back to their local and national political efforts. It was a plus for this group to march. So on balance, the March was a good thing. Moreover (and this I think is a point Barney Frnak misses in his comparison to groups like the National Rifle Association, which lobbies but does not march) a significant part of the historical oppression of the LGBT community has been invisiblity, and what the March offered was an opportunity to be visible, politically visible, visible in a very large group, in a politically and culturally central place and modality. For us as LGBT folk that is terribly important -- to claim social and political legitimacy via visiblity en masse every few years.