[UPDATED: HRC has responded by playing it safe. The same old disappointment.]
[UPDATED AGAIN: HRC’s official statement rings hollow.]
Today, a number of blogs are putting the pressure on HRC to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. This blog swarm is organized by AMERICAblog Gay, with participants like Pam Spaulding at Pam’s House Blend and even coverage in The Advocate.
I want to support the swarm and will post all the details below, but first, I want to play devil’s advocate.
John Aravosis explains “Why HRC” by reminding us:
Why are we focusing on HRC? Because HRC is our community’s largest, best-funded gay rights organization in Washington, and they carry the most sway with the White House. In fact, HRC often boasts about their close working relationship with the White House. HRC’s President, Joe Solmonese, is so close to the White House that he gave the President political cover during the uproar over the administration’s brief in support of DOMA. It’s time HRC, and our entire community, got something in return for everything we have done for this President, this Congress, and the entire Democratic party.
I share John’s bitterness that HRC hasn’t really served our community well. I’ve chastised both the Human Rights Campaign and its President, Joe Solmonese, over the past six months, such as after the NEM and after the State of the Union. I’ve even gone so far as to discourage financial contributions. And honestly, I think we’ve all been too forgiving of HRC from when they abandoned the trans community over ENDA a few years back. So I’m right there with John that HRC needs to use this power and clout it’s developed.
But at the same time, I’m incredibly skeptical about humoring and legitimizing HRC. I think we are moving towards a point where “the movement” and HRC operate independently. The more money HRC accumulates and the less it delivers, the less it is actually working on our behalf. It becomes self-serving, and in a way that could really paralyze our progress. I feel like that’s what today’s blog swarm says: “We really don’t respect HRC, but damn it, we can’t do it without them.” I really don’t like thinking about the power HRC has over us or the way they’ve laid claim to presidential and congressional access for our issues.
Think about it: there is some incredible irony to the fact we need to organize a blog swarm to demand that the organization that claims to represent us and our struggle actually follow through on that commitment. HRC is defined by LGBT advocacy; it is its sole purpose. It’s hard enough holding our own representatives and president accountable, but we have to go out of our way to hold our own advocacy organization accountable? It’s incredibly frustrating.
For today, though, I’ll concede to my fellow bloggers that HRC is a necessary evil. They do seem to have the access and clout we need, so we should call upon them to follow through. Here are the details:
OUR MESSAGE TO HRC IS SIMPLE:
Publicly demand that President Obama take the lead in getting DADT repealed this year.
1) That means the President needs to state publicly that he wants Congress to repeal DADT this year; and
2) The President needs to take the lead in working with Congress to make sure the repeal happens.
HRC Front Desk: (202) 628-4160
TTY: (202) 216-1572
Toll-Free: (800) 777-4723
Some may say that there is little the President can do, or that this is up to Congress now. That is simply untrue. The President can send a powerful signal that he wants the repeal done this year. He can include the repeal of DADT in the Defense Budget he sends to Congress in the next few months. If the President is serious about keeping his promises to our community, now is his chance to prove it.
And here are other blogs involved in today’s swarm:
BLOG SWARM SPONSORS
Today’s blog swarm is sponsored by the following bloggers and sites, all of which will also be writing about this issue today, and urging their readers to contact HRC:
Joe Sudbay and John Aravosis, AMERICAblog
Pam Spaulding, Pam’s House Blend
Michelangelo Signorile, Sirius OutQ & the Gist
Markos Moulitsas, DailyKos
Andy Towle, TowleRoad
Joe Jervis, Joe My God
Bil Browning & Phil Reese, Bilerico
Taylor Marsh, TaylorMarsh.com
Dan Savage, Slog