Just who the hell is “Get Equal”? They seem to have appeared from nowhere sort of like Athena springing fully grown from the forehead of Zeus.
Wanting to know exactly who they are and who is financing them seem like valid questions, especially since they have recently suggested a campaign to deny support to some really important figures within the Democratic Party.
Get Equal claims its motivation in denying support to these people is due to these people wholly ignoring the needs of LGBTT folks as evidenced by their failure to pass one of the holy grail pieces of legislation, a transgender inclusive ENDA as well as failure to repeal DOMA and the rather graceless manner in which the repeal of DADT is being handled.
They have put up four people and asked people to vote on throwing one of those people under the bus. Yet every single one of the people they suggest we withdraw support from is a crucial player in undoing some of the damage done by years upon years of ultra right wing neo-con/neo-lib rule. Each one is involved in working on very important progressive issues or has as an opponent an ultra right winger who is either a Tea Bagger or will be a representative of the corporations that have lead us to this economic and environmental crisis.
The complaint of, “Oh our friends didn’t get a Trans-inclusive ENDA or for that matter any incarnation of ENDA to the floor much less passed” might sound valid if it took place in a world where the Democrats in congress or the senate were getting other things passed without kicking screaming fights that require them to practically water down every bill they try to pass to the point of meaninglessness.
Over on Bilrico two people I have a good deal of respect for are on opposite sides in this issue: Bil Browning vs. Jillian T. Weiss. Of the two I think Bil is the one asking the important questions.
For me the biggest questions are: Why is “Get Equal” targeting only Democrats? Why are many of them the same people targeted by the Tea Bagger movement? Is this a coincidence? Let’s take a look at the people they are targeting for non-support.
Senator Harry Reid? I saw him speak here in Dallas during the bleakest part of the Bush Regime. He introduced my partner and me to a young senator named Barack Obama, even as early as 2005 we saw his promise and heard his message of hope.
We learned that Senator Reid was from Nevada. Now for those not in the know Nevada is a hard place for a Democrat to win. Harry Reid is in a campaign to keep his seat against an insane racist Tea Bagger who will never ever support ENDA or any other piece of progressive legislation. The idea of somehow punishing Harry Reid by not supporting him makes about as much sense as my punishing someone by cutting myself.
But let’s look at Harry Reid’s opponent. Sharron Angle is a certifiable whack job. Does anyone really believe that we would be better off having another Michelle Bachmann making the laws that govern our lives, only as a senator she would have far more power? She is the candidate of the ultra right wing religious fanatics and the extreme wing of an already ultra right wing movement.
Every Senate seat the Democrats lose is a gain for the ultra right wing extremists who have destroyed the nation and plunged us into a crypto-fascist nightmare where we could lose every bit of progress made by not only LGBT/T people but every person of color and every woman.
It this a chance one wants to take, following an organization that smells like an Astro -Turf front group for something funded by the vast right wing conspiracy?
Count me out…
Targeting Barney Frank? Now here’s some one the Tea Baggers and their puppet masters would really like to take out. Forget ENDA… Forget DOMA… Representative Frank has been a very important progressive voice on a little matter called “Financial Reform”. Now I know there are a lot of short sighted folks who can’t see much beyond the particular interests of their particular set of identity politics but last I noticed we are teetering on the edge of a worldwide depression and are facing being put through the “austerity measures” outlined in Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine”.
Now tell me again why we are supposed to withhold support from Barney Frank?
Get Equal asks: Should it be Rep. George Miller, who heads the House Education and Labor Committee and has said via a spokesperson “he intends to get to it [ENDA] very shortly?”
Now I will admit that I wasn’t all that familiar with George Miller, I wondered what possible reason there might be for his selection. Let’s see… Oh yes… George Miller has sort of had his hands full lately with matters like mine safety and the Jobs Bill.
But let’s look a little more at his record.
In 2002 he was one of the few to oppose the rush into the war in Iraq. Miller voted against the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.
On January 5, 2007, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor, introduced [H.R. 2], a bill which would amend the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act to increase the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 in three steps over a period of twenty-six months.
Then there is the little matter of the Employee Free Choice Act, a piece of legislation that would make it easier for workers to organize and form unions. This is a bill hated by the ultra right wing Republicans and major corporations, alike as it would help restore to workers some of the power that has steadily eroded since the Reagan years.
On February 5, 2007, Miller introduced the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it easier for workers to unionize. The bill passed the House but stalled in the Senate. All votes on the bill were divided almost entirely along party lines.
Would someone explain to me again just why I am supposed help the Republicans by not supporting this Democrat who seems to be one of the best of the best?
Finally we get to Nancy Pelosi. I am a feminist and I have witnessed one misogynistic right wing attack after another on Nancy Pelosi. She sends the misogynistic Republicans and their media minions from Rush Limpdick to Glen “Tears of Niobe” Beck in to apoplectic fits. What’s not to love about her? She is a solid supporter of women’s rights including abortion access. Call her a liberal, call her a progressive she is not one to pander to the ultra right wing. Indeed she is one of those Democrats who seem to have a permanent target stuck on their backs by the Republicans.
I’ve been involved in left wing movements since the 1960s. Racial equality, anti-war, pro-worker, feminist, and LGBT/TQ and whatever other initials you want to add. I’ve seen movements come and movements go. One result of having years upon years of experience in various movements is that one gets to see a lot of dirty tricks played by “operatives”.
I’ve seen secret police operations destroy movements from within. I’ve seen red baiting, smears and inaccurate media coverage that minimized the level of participation in demonstrations in favor of progressive, left wing causes while maximizing beyond any reality based figures the number of people participating in demonstrations in favor of right wing causes.
The media claims objectivity. I am dubious.
For the first time since the election of Ronald Reagan, perhaps for the first time since the election of Richard Nixon, progressive people in this nation have had a chance to reverse 40 years of conservative misrule and end an era of malevolent governing.
Isn’t it rather immature to collapse into the sort of temper tantrum of identity politics that prevented us from building a coalition of progressive people simply because we haven’t got our particular needs addressed as quickly as we might like? Granted we haven’t gotten things that were high on the shopping list of desired measures. I for one would have liked socialized medicine in the form of single payer.
I really would like to see a whole slew of progressive measures passed including that Employee Free Choice Act and Corporate Reform. I want to see higher taxes on the rich. I have a whole shopping list of measures that would help repair the damage done by right wing Republicans over the years.
I spoke earlier of years within the movement.
In the 1960s we were so caught up in the anti-war in Vietnam movement we lost sight of how important the War on Poverty was. We demonized LBJ, who at great political cost signed the revolutionary Civil Rights Bill of 1964.
We rationalized our actions that contributed to the election of Nixon by mouthing such platitudes as, “Nixon’s election will heighten the contradictions and bring on the revolution,” In doing so we put someone in office who had played a leading role in the promotion of McCarthyism. Someone who ended the War on Poverty and substituted the Welfare State.
In 1980 many people supported the candidacy of John Anderson. As poor a president as Jimmy Carter was he was still better than Reagan. Reagan the man who couldn’t say the word AIDS, while thousands of gay men died, who was never quite able to wrap his mouth around the word, “gay.”
Then there has been the strange political career of Ralph Nader and the Green Party
Ralph Nader’s selfish and egotistical run in 2000 played a role in the defeat of Al Gore. As a result we were stuck with Bush Jr. for 8 years. This resulted in 9/11, two disastrous and un-necessary wars and a destroyed economy.
Since then it has seemed as though the Green Party is basically a Republican front group.
Since Obama’s election we have witness an explosion of ultra right wing highly funded front groups mimicking grass roots campaigns, all seemingly developed from below yet almost always the product of well funded campaigns financed by the vast right wing conspiracy.
They have sprung up in opposition to almost every effort to rein in the power of the corporations. They opposed health care reform. They oppose Financial Industry reform. They oppose the employee Free Choice Act. They oppose Nancy Pelosi’s support of abortion rights.
The proper description of these organizations is not “grass root” but rather “Astro-Turf”
They are behind the tea Party in all of its various ultra right-wing, homophobic and racist disguises.
Now I won’t go so far as to opine that Get Equal is an Astro-Turf front group that has targeted various seriously progressive Democrats who are also among our strongest allies in congress but it does seem like a strange choice of targets when not a single Republican has offered one iota of support for any LGBT/T bill that has been before congress in the last decade.
Direct action growing out of the grass roots is one thing and I’ll be right there on a picket line or providing photo/reporting of demos. But being asked to throw Democrats on the sacrificial altar as a way of punishing them for not getting something passed at a time when every single measure they try to pass is an exercise rolling a rock up a mountain, seems questionable.
Further I’ve looked at Get Equal’s web site and in comparison to other well known and often respected LGBT/TQ organizations it seems both a bit thin and a tad opaque.
Until I see more transparency and better explanations as to why I should support Get Equal on throwing one of these candidates under the bus I will continue to be a good Yellow Dog Democrat and show party loyalty.
For References I suggest:
Blackstock, Nelson Cointelpro: The FBI’s Secret War on Political Freedom
Brock, David Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative
Churchill, Ward The Cointelpro Papers: Documents from the FBI’s Secret Wars Against Dissent in the United States
Donnor, Frank Protectors of Privilege: Red Squads and Police Repression in Urban Areas
Bilrico has numerous articles that seriously discuss Get Equal