We Were Warned:
Chris Crain, HRC & Obama
(Image credit: The GaySpecies blog.)
There's lots of very justifiable confusion and anger around the gay blogs today over a letter from the Human Rights Campaign's lapdog leader Joe Solmonese, in which he gives President Obama cover to wait until 2017 to deliver on significant federal changes for us. Check out what John Aravosis, Pam Spaulding (full text of HRC letter included), Jim Burroway, Dan Savage, Queerty.com editors and Andy Towle have to say.
Reading those posts reminded me of what former Blade publisher Chris Crain had to say about in June about Cleve Jones' call for another gay march on Washington:
I've been writing for years and years about the tragic willingness of those in "leadership" roles of the gay rights movement to cut deals that betray their supposed constituents. Joe Solmonese and David Smith of the Human Rights Campaign are archetypes of this pathetic trend -- grossly overpaid lobbyists who spend far more political capital lowering the expectations of gays on behalf of the Democratic Party than they do pressuring for equality in Washington. [...]Believe it or not, I actually wrote that I'd support the march, if it were to challenge the b.s. of HRC. Hell, we gays would be smart to direct our ire and demands for change not just at the over-paid Gucci gays at HRC, but also at the Democratic National Committee, during this weekend in Washington.
Don't say I didn't warn you. HRC and the Democrats have been promising (with no plan to deliver) passage of a hate crime law and Employment Non-Discrimination Act for more than a decade, including before the 2006 election, and yet we are still expected to be satisfied by these same civil rights crumbs for the entire first year that Democrats are firmly in control of Washington. [...]
Count me in for another March on Washington -- let's just make sure the HRC building is included on the protest route.
But, as we all know, the parade route and related actions are in no way directly targeting two of our biggest obstacles to achieving federal change and equality for gay Americans - HRC and the DNC.
Earlier this week, surprising and delighting me, a note from Kip Williams, a co-director of the march and rally, circulated on a gay listserv. He was reacting to a press release from wealthy gay advocate Charles Merrill demanding cancellation of the march because socialists are involved. Williams said:
1. The Socialists organize, they turn out, and they DELIVER.Yes, yep, yeah. Where are those scaredy-cat Democrats, and there certainly should be loud and sustained criticism this weekend, year round too, but despite agreeing with Williams' sentiments, I doubt he and the majority of folks showing up in DC will confront Solmonese, HRC or the DNC.
2. When people freak out about the involvement of Socialists, I remind them that in a movement, you work with whoever shows up.
Which always leads to the million dollar question:
3. Where the hell are the Democrats? Why don't THEY show up? Even the
National Stonewall Democrats didn't show up to help us organize and make
Instead of criticizing the Socialists for showing up, shouldn't we be criticizing the Democrats for NOT showing up?
How much baloney will we accept as steak from the likes of Solmonese and the hundreds of executives and staffers who occupy HRC's plush office building on Rhode Island Avenue?
I don't like being on my back, looking up at the underside of a bus driven by Solmonese.