BY Michelangelo Signorile
October 22 2009 1:40 PM ET
HRC was once again apologizing for an administration. But unlike in the ’90s, the group’s point of view wasn’t what was reflected in the media. The blog posts criticizing Obama continued — this time aimed at HRC too. The radio broadcasts went on. The cable debates didn’t stop. All you had to do was tune in or sign on to any media to find out what gays really thought — and it wasn’t what HRC thought.
The group has its work cut out for it — both in trying to bridge the divide between the organization and much of LGBT America and regaining the trust it needs from the grass roots and the Net roots if it wants to work together. It can start by really representing the mainstream LGBT thinking on Obama and his promises instead of heaping praise on the president and falling back on its access-at-all-costs strategy, which has never worked.
And HRC should acknowledge to the White House that the grass roots is very organized, isn’t happy, and will be marching again. HRC can be a facilitator of that truth rather than apologizing for the administration. Rather than looking increasingly irrelevant, our big D.C. lobbying group could actually make itself look much stronger.
The march in fact has only made us all stronger as a movement. We were able to organize in a few months, using new media, and got 200,000 people to D.C. without spending much on traditional advertising. David Mixner is to be lauded for his passion and putting the idea out there. Cleve Jones, for his vision and his steadfastness at doing it quickly and keeping the costs down to a mere $150,000. Robin McGehee, Kip Williams, and all the other young activists, for tirelessly organizing the event and using the Net roots so skillfully.
We now know it can be done successfully on short notice and for little money. That means a couple of things: We need to continue making a lot of noise — online, but also getting into the streets and protesting everywhere. And we need to march again on Washington — or at least let them know we’re prepared to do so if we don’t see some real action, real soon.
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