Politics / Homo
DADT Blog Swarm: Contact HRC, Demand That the Largest Gay Rights Group to DO ITS JOB
by Dan Savage
on Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 12:02 PM
Originally posted at 7:30 AM. Updated and reposted.
I'm on vacation with the family this week—enjoy the Savage-free Slog while it lasts, haters!—but I'm taking a short break from my short break to join today's DADT Blog Swarm. Americablog, DailyKos, JoeMyGod, Pam's House Blend, Bilerico, Towleroad, Michelangelo Signorile, Taylor Marsh and Slog are all calling on their readers to contact the Human Rights Campaign—the largest gay rights group in the country—to demand that HRC publicly pressure the president make good on his promise to repeal DADT this year. Here's John:
We've had an amazing few weeks of momentum on DADT repeal following the mention of DADT in the State of the Union, the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing during which both the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs both stated their support for repeal, and the unexpected support we've received from former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Colin Powell and former Defense Secretary and Vice President Dick Cheney.
But that momentum is quickly slipping away. After talking to people around Washington over the past two weeks, Joe and I have found a vacuum of leadership that is leading to confusion. The Hill has no idea if the President does or doesn't want them to move ahead with repeal this year. The House has already said that it's waiting for the Senate to do something. The Senate is in turmoil after the Democrats lost a single seat in January. And the DADT proposals being discussed in the Senate are focused on every possible approach except full repeal this year. As we painfully learned last year during health care reform, nothing happens in Congress unless the President leads. And when the President doesn't lead, disaster is guaranteed.
HRC claims to lead the gay rights movement and—rightly or wrongly—in Washington D.C. HRC is perceived as speaking for the entire gay rights movement. HRC has a cozy relationship with this White House and while other gays and lesbians—frustrated by the lack of progress on our issues—are taking to the streets and beginning to commit acts of civil disobedience, our leading gay rights group's public statements don't reflect the mounting frustration and impatience among average gays and lesbians.
Now maybe you need "radicals"—like these dangerous bomb-throwers—to scare politicians and "safer" groups and more "moderate" leaders in D.C. that politicians believe that they can work with. But there are times when the entire movement—the supposed "radicals" and our "moderate" leaders—need to speak with one voice. This is one of those times. We have an opportunity to end an injustice—and for the president to fulfill one of his campaign promises—but it's not going to happen if the Democrat in the White House and the Democrats on Capitol Hill think they can get away with punting on this issue—punting on another one our issues—indefinitely. HRC is in a position to convince Democrats that they have to act, that they have to deliver on this promise, or risk alienating not just the gays who blog and the gays who protest but the gays who vote and the gays who write checks.
Today we're demanding that HRC do its job. Tell HRC to speak in a loud voice for all of us—something HRC has done when it realized just how angry the community was—and tell HRC to publicly demand that the president seize this moment, and build on the momentum he helped to create, and show the leadership necessary to make sure that DADT is repealed this year, as promised. Not studied, repealed. Contact HRC right now:
It is especially important that HRC hear from people in Seattle. Our city is the site of a large and lucrative annual black-tie fundraiser for HRC—one of the largest in the country—and money talks. If you've attended a HRC dinner here or anywhere else, if you've written HRC a check, let them hear from you today.
It's exactly as we said, HRC seems genetically incapable of ever challenging President Obama on anything. They simply parrot the Obama line—the President is supposedly powerless, you know, to influence legislation—and think that what's best for Barack Obama is best for gay America. Well, sometimes it's not. Sometimes you actually have to challenge the President. Sometime you have to recognize that the President of the United States of America actually has some political capital at his disposal—especially on an issue involving the military when he's the commander in chief.
HRC today, via one of its local affiliates, responded to today's DADT blog swarm, launched by top blogs in the gay and non-gay blogosphere, by yet again defending the President and deflecting the blame to Congress for the inaction on 'Don't Ask Don't Tell.'
Was HRC in a coma last year? Did they not witness the melt down on health care reform that occurred because the White House refused to lead on a key campaign promise, but instead sat back and "waited for congress" to act?
Tell HRC that we expect the biggest gay rights group in the country to lobby and pressure the president, not make excuses for him. If the president was powerless to do anything about DADT—if he couldn't lead on the issue—HRC should've slammed him during the campaign for making promises to the gay community that he wouldn't be able to keep. They didn't because the president isn't powerless. He can put pressure on Congress, use the bully pulpit, and insist on a repeal of DADT this year—a repeal that is supported by wide majorities of the American people, liberal, independents, and conservatives.
The repeal of DADT is—if you'll excuse me—the low-hanging fruit of the Obama agenda, the one promise made by candidate Obama that President Obama should be able to deliver on. He won the White House after explicitly and repeatedly promising to end DADT, he has both houses of Congress, he has the support of the architect of DADT (Powell) and the Worst Person in the World (Cheney), and large majorities of the American people support the end of DADT.
If the president and the Democrats in Congress can't make this happen in this environment, with the support of Powell and Cheney (!) and a large majority of the American people, then the Democrats do not deserve the support, votes, or checks of gay people and our allies. And if HRC isn't willing to unambiguously and publicly pressure the White House to make this happen—Barack Obama is the president of the United States and the de-facto leader of the Democratic party—then HRC doesn't deserve our support or money either.
Once again tell HRC to publicly demand results—real leadership and the full repeal of DADT—from Barack Obama: