A group of progressive and LGBT blogs have launched a blog swarm aimed at the Human Rights Campaign. The goal is simple: Call HRC and tell them to push the White House to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell this year. So I knew that I needed to share this with you.
This is perfect timing, because just this weekend while I was at the Field Museum participating in their "Bridal Party" my friends and I had a discussion about HRC and what it meant to each of us. Not surprisingly, we all had different opinions. Mine was that I don't feel as though HRC does anything personally for me as a gay man living in Chicago, whilst another of my straight ally activist friends felt that it provided her a path to information and inclusion.
Seriously though, it is time for HRC to do what they say they do and not just stand by. Take action today!
OUR MESSAGE TO HRC IS SIMPLE:
Publicly demand that President Obama take the lead in getting DADT repealed this year.
1) That means the President needs to state publicly that he wants Congress to repeal DADT this year; and
2) The President needs to take the lead in working with Congress to make sure the repeal happens.
Some may say that there is little the President can do, or that this is up to Congress now. That is simply untrue. The President can send a powerful signal that he wants the repeal done this year. He can include the repeal of DADT in the Defense Budget he sends to Congress in the next few months. If the President is serious about keeping his promises to our community, now is his chance to prove it.
BLOG SWARM SPONSORS
Today's blog swarm is sponsored by the following bloggers and sites, all of which will also be writing about this issue today, and urging their readers to contact HRC:
Joe Sudbay and John Aravosis, AMERICAblog
Pam Spaulding, Pam's House Blend
Michelangelo Signorile, Sirius OutQ & the Gist
Markos Moulitsas, DailyKos
Andy Towle, TowleRoad
Joe Jervis, Joe My God
Bil Browning, Bilerico
Taylor Marsh, TaylorMarsh.com
Dan Savage, Slog
MOMENTUM HAS TURNED TO CONFUSION
HRC may argue that it's already told the President it would like to see DADT repealed this year. Well, that's not enough. And here's why.
We've had an amazing few weeks of momentum on DADT repeal following the mention of DADT in the State of the Union, the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing during which both the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs both stated their support for repeal, and the unexpected support we've received from former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Colin Powell and former Defense Secretary and Vice President Dick Cheney.
But that momentum is quickly slipping away. After talking to people around Washington over the past two weeks, Joe and I have found a vacuum of leadership that is leading to confusion. The Hill has no idea if the President does or doesn't want them to move ahead with repeal this year. The House has already said that it's waiting for the Senate to do something. The Senate is in turmoil after the Democrats lost a single seat in January. And the DADT proposals being discussed in the Senate are focused on every possible approachexceptfull repeal this year.
As we painfully learned last year during health care reform, nothing happens in Congress unless the President leads. And when the President doesn't lead, disaster is guaranteed.
Whatever HRC has been telling the White House about DADT, it clearly isn't working. In spite of the President's positive comments during the State of the Union, no one knows where President Obama stands on repealing "Don't Ask Don't Tell" this year. All the while, unnamed administration officials are telling the media that it could be years before repeal finally happens. The White House clearly didn't get HRC's message, and as a result, we are losing this historic momentum.
Why are we focusing on HRC? Because HRC is our community's largest, best-funded gay rights organization in Washington, and they carry the most sway with the White House. In fact, HRC often boasts about their close working relationship with the White House. HRC's President, Joe Solmonese, is so close to the White House that he gave the President political cover during the uproar over the administration's brief in support of DOMA. It's time HRC, and our entire community, got something in return for everything we have done for this President, this Congress, and the entire Democratic party.