Responding to much criticism, HRC President Joe Solmonese issued a statement today entitled The Last Thing We Should Do is Wait. I’ll give him a little bit of credit for walking back a few of the things he said, including the 2017 bit:
Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was the reaction some people had to my comment that on the last day of President Obama’s term, we will be able to look back on many accomplishments in LGBT rights. I still find it hard to believe that anyone thought I was saying that we should be content to wait patiently for our equality. What I said—and what I believe in my heart—is just the opposite.
Unfortunately, the language he uses in the rest of the letter suggests otherwise.
Will Obama be with us? Absolutely. Has he made his position clear? He has. Can he generate all of the votes that we need? No. Only we as a community can. We all know by watching the health care debate that the President can’t make those votes happen without pressure from the grassroots. And that’s us.
Am I the only one who finds this patronizing? The way I read that is that it’s no fault of Obama’s that he can’t or won’t generate the votes we need. Solmonese makes a perfectly fair point that we do have to apply pressure to our Senators and Representatives, but that does not mean we should not put pressure on our President as well. In fact, he seems all too willing to forgive Obama any failings whatsoever, and I find that quite cowardly. It seems to me he’d rather HRC be in and connected than actually stand for the frustrations of the community.
An appropriate interpretation of the above quote would be: If you don’t think the President has done enough to support our community, don’t expect HRC to do anything about it. We’re putting it back on you.
Thanks, then I’ll keep the money I’d give HRC for myself.
In the uproar over what President Obama didn’t say, something he did say got lost. He said that we will pass this agenda “day by day, law by law.” We can only move each law day by day if we move Congress, vote by vote. We as a community can do that. We have been doing that and no one who believes in our equality has a moment to wait.
Day by day and law by law, eh? That would mean the laws being voted on in Maine and Washington in just a couple of days would be an important thing to mention. So too would be the new bills being introduced in DC and Illinois. And on a day by day basis, members of our community continue to be discharged from the military, even though the President could stop it. And day by day people are harassed, fired, bullied, and oppressed in other ways in the absence of a trans-inclusive ENDA. I don’t see the President standing with us. I see HRC applauding him despite ignoring some of the most important laws that would affect how we continue to live day by day.
Solmonese is floundering:
That is why our confidence in what we will accomplish under this President is not misplaced. At the end of the day, it is confidence in ourselves. I have confidence in the LGBT community and the people who support us. We will claim the equality that is our birthright, day by day, vote by vote, law by law.
Was he listening to anybody at the march? We demand full equality now. Not as the days go by that we get to them. Not law by law as we get to them. FULL EQUALITY NOW.
If Solmonese can’t stand for what we are standing for, he should not be the leader and spokesperson for an organization that has hijacked the equals sign as its logo. Until we are in fact =, we are <. Until Joe Solmonese can speak the language of =, he too shall continue to be <.