GetEQUAL Skips Chats With Sen. Reid;
Org Ignorant of ENDA Whip Count
Derrick Washington, a gay black community organizer in Las Vegas, where the Netroots Nation confab took place last week, was written up in an excellent report by Karen Ocamb on some of the GetEQUAL fallout at the confab and he made a disturbing allegation.
He says longtime Clintonista gay Democratic Party advocate Paul Yandura, who advises gay millionaire Jonthan Lewis on where to spend his political dollars, royally screwed up a few chances to chat with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
Washington’s disappointment with GetEqual not following “the process,” especially backer Paul Yandura who apparently asked for a meeting with Reid’s office, which Washington arranged “not less than three times” – but Yandura failed to show. [...]
Washington asks why GetEQUAL is taking on Reid – “we know him. He’s on our side….There seems to be a disconnect between what [GetEQUAL wants] to hear and what [they] listen to.” [...]
Ocamb doesn't mention any response from Yandura, so I hope he reads her piece and offers an explanation about Washington's serious allegation of dropping the ball with pressuring Reid through meetings with his staff, especially since GetEQUAL asked for the sit-downs.
Without holding a single public meeting of their own, GetEQUAL has decided the community should push for votes, because it's a way to figure out who to pressure:
McGehee notes that Reid is the forth most powerful person in the US and they need Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bring LGBT bills such as ENDA to the floor for a “litmus test” vote “so we know who are targets are.” [...]
Funny, I don't recall a vote of any sort among average community members, asking how we felt about such litmus strategy. Here again we see GetEQUAL employing the "no public town halls/we speak for all gays" thinking of the Human Rights Campaign.
In the days leading up to the confab, GetEQUAL zapped vehicular traffic on the Strip, with signs urging action by Reid on the Employment Non Discrimination Act. The Advocate caught up with Yandura in Las Vegas, and he, like McGehee, showed ignorance about the whip count for ENDA in the Senate:
And some people are saying, why not target Senators who are against it? But we don’t even know who those Senators are until they bring the bill to a vote. Some lawmakers are telling us they don’t even know if they’re for or against it because they haven’t seen the final language. [...]
If Yandura and McGehee want to learn which Senators oppose ENDA he can check the ActOnPrinciples site, whose primary focus is to track where legislators stand on the act. Click here to read where Senators stand, including the 36 leaning toward no. I must have missed the GetEQUAL release heralding a zap against any of those 36 Senators.
This site is actively maintained by Yandura's longtime partner Donald Hitchcock, and both men were key to the May 2009 invitation-only weekend in Texas that produced a document full of hollow rhetoric labeled the Dallas Principles. I mention the Texas meeting, it's lack of transparency and failure to generate true grassroots activism, because it's the model that launched the failure known as GetEQUAL.
As GetEQUAL continues to suck all of the activist oxygen out of the gay community, and DC and Democratic Party insider Yandura exhibits strange lack of knowledge on a whip count and faces the accusation of rejecting communication with Reid's office, I see no hard evidence that movement is afoot in Congress on ENDA.
So what's the point of GetEQUAL and Yandura, and will they ever present the gays with a roadmap?