The blogs are swarming

The blogs are swarming today.

McJoan over at Daily Kos:

It’s time. It’s time to this discriminatory, counterproductive, and damaging policy. Doing so isn’t even controversial anymore particularly within the military. It’s time. Call the HRC and ask them to get on board. Ask them to publicly demand that President Obama take the lead in getting DADT repealed this year.

HRC Front Desk: (202) 628-4160
TTY: (202) 216-1572
Toll-Free: (800) 777-4723

Towleroad:

Take Action on DADT – Join Our Blog Swarm: Call HRC Today

Towleroad joins today with a coalition of gay and straight bloggers in asking our readers to contact the Human Rights Campaign on behalf of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Taylor Marsh says do this for Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach:

Fehrenback represents to me all the other gay men and women who serve our country, including in support positions, all of whom deserve to walk proudly for who they are without being asked to hide in shame.

If a person can put their life on the line for our country, they deserve to serve openly.

Call, email and contact HRC today. Then tell two friends to do the same. Tweet this post, whatever you can to join in.

Do it for our military, who deserves to have the best of the best standing on the line for this country.

David Mixner:

DavidMixner.com is joining the ‘blog swarm” today. We are urging our readers to contact the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and lobby them to press the President and Congress to pass repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this year. Please, in a positive and friendly manner, ask HRC to take leadership in demanding action now, not next year, on this policy. From Towleroad.com here is the script and contact information for the call. Please call today and share with them your views!

Phil Reese at Bilerico:

Any effort to repeal it is about to get swept under the rug, unless HRC, our largest organization, steps up and demands the White House to take some leadership.

Unlike many of my fellow bloggers, I don’t go after HRC very often. I’ll be the first to say HRC has made some dumb-ass moves in the past, but I find it quite lazy to make them out to be monsters, the way most of the gay bloggosphere tends to do.

I have a confession to make. I’m a member of HRC. Not only am I a member, I sat on the Michigan Steering Committee for nearly five years. I was Membership and Community Events chair. I signed up thousands of new HRC members during my time. I still have a box of stickers in my closet. Oh, me and HRC are like *this.* Sometimes.

They’ve made some major mistakes that I wouldn’t begin to defend them for. I would only say that all of our other big national organizations have got portions of our community’s blood boiling at times. And guess what? I give money to them too.

Our federal fight is going to require that we have some visibility up on the Hill, and that we’ve established some credible national organizations with leaders who can maintain some sustained contact with our lawmakers to help move them on those issues we hold dear. Those are: comprehensive immigration reform that does not leave us out, LGBT-inclusive health care reform, gender identity and sexual orientation employment/housing/public accommodation non-discrimination protections, relationship recognition and partnership benefits and obligations, as well as immediately ending discrimination in the military. Folks, we can’t do it without GLAAD, the Task Force and HRC, I don’t care what your tinfoil hat tells you.

Then again, we may not be able to do it with them either. Not if our national organizations – particularly HRC – communicates with the White House in a whimper instead of a roar.

Straight lawmakers on the Hill see HRC as the mouthpiece of our movement, for better or for worse. If Bil Browning were to call up the White House and try to speak to the President, anyone who would be in a position to answer the phone would be asking “Who are you?” If HRC President Joe Solmonese calls up the White House, chances are there are plenty of people inside that will take his call. If Joe called up any Democratic lawmaker, nine times out of ten if he’s not going to be able to get them to take the call a staffer will be relaying the message directly.

That’s because HRC has clout; and that political capital is its massive membership base of progressive and moderate voters that the Democratic National Committee would absolutely love to get their hands on. HRC has a bad habit, however, of squirreling away that political capital for… well, we’re not really sure yet. In January of 2009 we suddenly had total control in both houses, and a progressive Democratic executive branch with a Commander in Chief who had pledged to fight for our issues. What was HRC’s reaction?

*crickets*

If our President does not take lead on repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” this year, he’s going to leave behind a legacy of disappointment on LGBT rights. The only organization that can truly put the pressure on is HRC.

Why shouldn’t HRC send a strongly worded blast to its members about contacting the White House about a full and immediate DADT repeal? Every other major progressive organization does it. Yet the largest LGBT organization rarely ever blasts Democratic leadership. Time to spend that capital.

What If, Just One Time, HRC Stood Up?
I wish Rep. Alan Grayson was in charge of communications over at HRC. There’s a guy unafraid to spend his political capital. Call him what you want. Call him a fame-hound. He’s not making many friends with his theatrics. What he is truly doing is standing up for what he believes in, and doing whatever he can – even risking his reelection – to try to get the job done while he has the office.

Could you imagine what HRC’s statement to the President on White House DADT foot-dragging would be like if Grayson wrote it?

ZackFordBlogs.com:

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 organ
ization 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.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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