Get Busy Winning

BY Advocate Contributors

November 15 2010 8:35 PM ET

BILL SMITH X390

Although it’s been said before, it bears repeating — we must get out of
the partisan ghetto and insist that LGBT rights are human rights, not
partisan positions. When we allow ourselves to be seen simply as agents
of the Democratic Party, we’re building barriers that impede progress
with thoughtful Republicans, who we will almost always need to win. We
also need thoughtful LGBT Republicans, who do the hard work of having
difficult conversations with other Republicans without being apologists
for antigay voices. Our freedom to marry, to serve our country, and to
work to support our families transcends politics, and we must
confidently and positively make our case with equal vigor to Democrats,
Republicans, and independents alike.

It’s past time to rethink
our federal presence in Washington. It’s broken and it has to be fixed
before another two years go by. It’s time to model our federal campaigns
after successful organizations like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the National Rifle Association that understand
building and using political capital while insisting on results. There
is no legitimate reason we shouldn’t have the ability to be successful
on multiple issues simultaneously while not allowing ourselves to be
pushed off the agenda by fickle or shell-shocked allies.

We must
be serious about holding elected officials’ feet to the fire and avoid
wallowing in victimhood when they don’t deliver. We must communicate
clearly with our friends about what we expect, push them harder than
we’re comfortable with until they deliver results, and thank them
appropriately when we win. And when they betray our trust or vote
against us, fight like hell to beat them. LGBT New Yorkers didn’t accept
the results of last December’s awful vote against marriage equality,
they got organized. Through Fight Back New York and other organizations,
they defeated three antimarriage senators (of both parties) and
replaced them with three strong allies. Steadily using this formula will
build both respect and a healthy dose of fear for the perils of
crossing LGBT voters.



Yes, there were significant losses, and
unfortunately another truth about the LGBT community is that we sometimes
wallow in our defeats. We have the opportunity now to use the wins of Election Day  to triumph over the adversity of the losses. To do that we
must make the all too familiar choice: Get busy winning or spend time
wallowing. I for one am ready to get busy winning.

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