Really Courage Campaign? I Thought You Were Better Than That.

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The Prop 8 Trial (Perry v. Schwarzenegger) is a big deal. It’s important that it gets as much visibility as possible; the testimony that was shared throughout was incredibly important to our movement. I was really proud to see and be a part of the stepped-up efforts to raise awareness during the trial, particularly those who were liveblogging so we could all see what was happening. I’ve written so much about it myself because I understand its importance.

That’s why I was incredibly disappointed by the email I got today from the Courage Campaign. In this “URGENT” message from Rick Jacobs, we got news of their new campaign, called “Testimony: Equality on Trial.”  And what are the vague goals of this “new” campaign?

In the days before and after Judge Walker’s historic ruling — and the media firestorm that will surround the case as it eventually makes its way to the U.S. Supreme Court — “Testimony: Equality on Trial” will:

  • Bring the Prop 8 trial to life, as Americans actually hear the evidence for the first time.
  • Expose the lies and manipulation that Frank Schubert, Andrew Pugno and the rest of the right-wing campaign cabal used to pass Prop 8.
  • Help pave the way to full and equal protection under the law for LGBT people in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states.

Throughout our nation’s history — from Plessy v. Ferguson to Perry vs. Schwarzenegger — equality has been on trial. And now, with your help, “Testimony” will change how Americans think and feel about marriage equality and full equality.

Yawn. I’ve heard it all before. Isn’t this what your campaign is supposed to be doing already? You know… raising awareness, correcting lies, moving us toward equality? So what’s different?

Well, they’re asking for $100,000. By tomorrow. To “start this new campaign.” A campaign that does the same thing they’ve always done, but with a new logo.

I’m sorry, but that’s just distasteful. I chastised HRC for asking for $150,000 for their “new campaign” on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. I chastise Protect Marriage for asking for money in almost every single one of their posts. And now I must chastise the Courage Campaign.

We know from experience that successful activism does not work this way. You don’t just give lots of money to a small group of people. It has to be a large group of people being invited to participate actively. Donations are passive and free the donors of any real responsibility to the cause. A system based on raising money also gives those working for the cause the incentive to live off the activism in luxurious ways, like Joe Solmonese in his Dolce & Gabbana suits.

Further, there is no accountability. We know absolutely no details about what makes this campaign interesting or different. We have no understanding of why there is suddenly an urgent need for a very large sum of money. We are just expected to fork it over, because they—the Courage Campaign—are who we are hiring out to do our activism for us?

That is patronizing and disrespectful. We should no more be pawns to groups like HRC and the Courage Campaign than our opponents are pawns to Protect Marriage or the Alliance Defense Fund.

It’s time we, as the Netroots, start holding our advocacy groups more accountable. We should be looking for ways to participate, not ways to just give.

Courage Campaign, your Prop 8 Trial Tracker was fantastic. I thought you were better than these shallow corporate tactics. I guess not.

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There are 4 Comments to "Really Courage Campaign? I Thought You Were Better Than That."

  • Linda says:

    I, too, questioned the vagueness of this new “campaign” when I got the e-mail. Today they sent me one telling me that “they’ve done the math” and that 43 people in my COUNTY (Maricopa County–a pretty darn big county) have to donate in order for them to make their goal. “Whether it’s $5 or $500.” (Hmm, I’d love to see that math equation.) If you want me to take another chunk of dollar bills out of my ever-dwindling grocery budget to help fund your campaign, tell me how you plan to spend it and what you hope to gain from it, and give me more than two days to scrape up some cash! 

  • Adam says:

    I thank you very much for this article. I was going to donate to them (I have in the past) and yes, their goals in this particular solicitation were so vague which is why I started searching for more answers. How I can get involved is not present and it’s true, they could be fighting for legalized marriage in Dolce & Gabanna suits. I’d like to know more about who I’m giving my money to, what they’re doing specifically and ways I can get involved. A letter to you congressman can do a lot and that costs 42 cents. I think I’ll pass on “Courage” this time.

  • Buffy says:

    My wife has been doing all that for years for peanuts.  Why does CC need 10K overnight?

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