Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Milk Club: Yes to Pies & No Debates
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis

There's no argument that Harvey Milk passionately believed in debating challengers such as homo-hater John Briggs, and was known for offering his endorsement or taking a stand during an election season.

The #VotePetrelis team wishes the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club lived up to those ideals of his this fall, but leaders of the club have opted to not hold any debates in the District 8 Supervisor's race while taking the no endorsement route.

Does anyone really believe Harvey, during a time of great displacement and gentrification and evictions and after four years of complaining about the incumbent, would not engage District 8 voters with debates and at least nudge voters unhappy with the status quo to vote for the best protest candidate?

This week, we received an invitation from the Milk Club's director of events and fundraising, Steven Torres, to help the club at last Sunday's Castro Street Fair:

"In light of the state's desperate water crisis, however, we thought that Harvey might agree that a dunk tank, although fun, wouldn't be responsible or sensitive choice. Instead, we thought he might enjoy our back-up plan which is a pie throwing booth, since he himself, was so fond of getting pied, not to mention throwing them. We are lining up a pretty decent cast to take the hot seat this year and would be so grateful and honored if, like Harvey, you took it on the chin with a pie tin."

If the club had multiple ways of engaging candidates with voters from the serious to the silly, we might be interested in this pie toss. However, given their apathy about District 8 debates and no endorsement position in the Supervisor contest, we're declining this invitation.

By the way, the New York Times offered no endorsement in the Empire State's governor's race, but the paper still urged voters to use their votes for change:

"Those who want to register their disappointment with Mr. Cuomo's record on changing the culture of Albany may well decide that the best way to do that is to vote for Ms. Teachout, Despite our reservations about her, that impulse could send a powerful message."

Might Milk Club leaders, in the month left before the election, follow the lead of the Times, and push folks to use their votes as a form of protest? Would be nice.

Here's a screen-grab from the movie "Milk" with Sean Penn on the right as Harvey, during a debate scene over the Prop 6 Briggs Initiative, just to remind us all of the power of debates and how vital they are to democracy.

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