If it seems counterintuitive that the HRC, of all organizations, has to be convinced to do such a thing, be sure to read the rest of John’s post. He’s right. If they lose momentum now, it could be lost for years.
I would guess that over in Afghanistan right now, there’s not one soldier who gives a damn if his fellow on the battlefield is gay. Just get on with it. When even Dick Cheney signs on, there’s no earthly reason to delay.
A really nice story from Michael Triplett at Mediaite about today’s blog swarm.
Some of the biggest names in the LGBT and progressive blog world participated Feb. 15 in a coordinated effort to encourage the Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay rights organization in the country and a frequent object of blogger scorn, to put its heft behind efforts to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
The “blog swarm” was coordinated by John Aravosis and Joe Subday of Americablog and include LGBT bloggers and activists Pam Spaulding (Pam’s House Blend), Michelangelo Signorile (Sirius OutQ & the Gist), Andy Towle (TowleRoad), Joe Jervis (Joe My God), Bil Browning (Bilerico) and Dan Savage (Slog). Also joining in are two big names in progressive blogging, Markos Moulitsas at DailyKos and Taylor Marsh at TaylorMarsh.com.
Aravosis cut his activist teeth on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and has become a leading voice in using social media and the Internet for political action. His career has included StopDrLaura.com, the first-ever successful boycott of a TV show and the outing of Jeff Gannon–a conservative activist with White House press credentials–who allegedly worked as a gay escort.
In an email, Aravosis told Mediaite that the idea of a coordinated blog effort came from a desire for “a positive result, our civil rights” but that it also required placing “a little negative pressure on both HRC and the White House.” While “blog swarms” often have a negative connotation, Aravosis said he thought the image was unfair but that he believed “successful advocacy involves a mixed bag of tactics, including carrots and sticks. The problem is that HRC has been using a lot of carrots and not enough sticks. We’re hoping our blog swarm helps to convince them to even things out a bit.”
While the LGBT community is among the most wired and has been on the forefront of using social media advocacy, Aravosis said it was important to include “honorary gays” Moulitsas and Marsh in this effort. He said many of the netroots object to the idea that only the “gay community” is concerned about LGBT civil rights and so “we wanted to involve them to recognize that this isn’t a “gay” battle. It’s something we all believe in, care about, and want.”
A great post from Adam Bink at OpenLeft, detailing things he’d like to see:
Mobilization aimed at the White House. The night of the State of the Union speech, HRC launched its Voices of Honor campaign around grassroots mobilization, media events and legislative pressure. This is all important, but what remains to be seen is presidential leadership on the issue. John is dead-on here:
Unfortunately, we’ve reached a point with the Obama administration where allies have to publicly demand action, or promises are never kept. Just last week, the AFL-CIO was forced to send an action alert to its members, targeting the White House. If it’s good enough for the unions, it’s good enough for us.
Dan Savage goes wild:
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.