Saturday, March 24, 2007

What Do We Want?

It is often said that there is no such thing as an orderly revolution, and the recent coalescence of a series of glbt blogs seeking one in the dysfunctional way in which the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is doing business is no exception.

Andrew Sullivan and The Malcontent are locked in a battle of mutual recriminations.

Chris Crain is being dive-bombed by harpies the gay press, who apparently are making up for lost time from when he was one of them.

And Mike Petrelis is being told, in no uncertain terms, that he is not welcome at HRC gatherings, especially with a video camera.

Meanwhile, with the notable exception of Bay Windows, the rest of the gay press is repeating the usual, "Well, sure, HRC could stand some improvement, but they've probably got a good excuse, and besides, Republicans are evil."

The last demonstrates the biggest impediment, by far, to anything changing; unless the attitudes of "mainstream gays" change, HRC will never have to actually DO anything about their problems.

For example, Kevin Naff, in his cited post from the Washington Blade's blog, notes that the question about HRC's actual membership is one that the Blade was reported about two years ago, insinuating that bloggers who notice this now are "piling on."

However, the question that immediately comes to mind is simple; if it was two years ago, why hasn't anything been done about it? The Blade, for one, was also reporting on HRC's lack of bipartisanship two years ago, yet HRC still feels free to publicly state and avow that their goal is, as the Boston Globe put it, "to become a steady source of funds and grass-roots support for Democrats -- more akin to a labor union than a single-issue activist group."

The issue is not recognizing the problem. It's the fact that the problem HAS been recognized and not a damn thing has been done about it.

Taking that farther, Naff bashes Rudy Giuliani and John McCain for not coming and speaking to HRC -- but never bothers to explain why two Republican candidates should come and speak to an organization that one, has a history of public excoriation and blaming of Republicans for every problem in the gay community, and two, has stated specifically that it only wants to support Democrats.

As people were correctly recognizing almost three years ago, HRC is never going to get anywhere with Republicans if all it can do is spit at them -- and even more so, if it makes it clear that its primary qualification for support has nothing to do with gay issues and everything to do with party affiliation.

In short, as I talked about previously, there are structural and policy changes that HRC could make to rectify these matters. But what I am seeing more and more in the reaction to people suggesting these sort of things is that the major impediment to HRC being more effective is a refusal to demand action of it out of partisan hatreds and intra-gay rivalries.

HRC is simply taking advantage of the fact and doing as its primary movers wish, which is to ingratiate themselves with the Democrat Party and protect their six-figure lobbying incomes, their expensive headquarters, and their lavish parties, all at gay expense.

Is that what we really want?

Or are we willing to set these aside and demand that HRC pay more than lip service and drop its arrogance, its lack of transparency, its self-aggrandizement, and its complete partisanship and intolerance?

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