If there was any doubt the Human Rights Campaign was colluding with Democrats and the White House to give Barack Obama a pass on your civil rights, confirmation arrived yesterday, when the organization told its “millions” of members not to judge the president today, but wait until January 19, 2017. Yes, more than seven years from now.
The stupidity of the message —
But what has he [Obama] done?
I’ve written that we have actually covered a good deal of ground so far. But I’m not going to trot out those advances right now because I have something more relevant to say: It’s not January 19, 2017.
That matters for two reasons: first, the accomplishments that we’ve seen thus far are not the Obama Administration’s record. They are the Administration’s record so far….
I am sure of this: on January 19, 2017, I will look back on the President’s address to my community as an affirmation of his pledge to be our ally. I will remember it as the day when we all stood together and committed to finish what Senator Kennedy called our unfinished business. And I am sure of this: on January 19, 2017, I will also look back on many other victories that President Barack Obama made possible.
— should be self-evident. (The full message is on the next page.) That note, from HRC’s Joe Solmonese, effectively lets Obama off the hook for your LGBT rights until the last day of his (not definite) second term. Yes, Solmonese is saying we will judge Obama’s legacy on that date. But you know who can’t wait for 2017 for Obama to come around? The same people who supposedly aren’t facing “immediate threats” to their civil rights: American soldiers, parents who yearn to adopt, couples who are not attached under the law, employees who can be fired at a moment’s notice because they are queer.
It’s preposterous that an organization charged with defending and demanding the rights of LGBT Americans — and already facing allegations of telling Obama to give preference to some gay rights legislation while ignoring others — just told the entire world that the gay community can wait until Obama is moving out of the White House to expect our rights. The ramifications of HRC’s message are dire; the media and other gay organizations around the world take cues from this organization, and if this is the agenda they are pushing, we worry it’ll reverberate into a message the “gay community” is behind.
It is not.
HRC may be comfortable “looking back” at some point in the future, but that’s not good enough for millions of us who don’t have seven years to putz around and, fingers crossed, expect a man to come to our aid. We certainly share Solmonese’s hope: That when Obama is done as commander-in-chief, we’ll wave goodbye to a man who helped enact the most progressive slate of gay rights legislation in this country’s history. But we don’t expect too much from a guy who doesn’t (publicly) think we’re entitled to the M-word.
We’re not in the business of building Obama’s legacy. We’re in the business of making sure we’re all treated like any other America. We’re not quite sure where HRC’s mission falls.
Maybe the protests arranged for tonight’s HRC dinner shouldn’t be aimed at the president, but at America’s “largest” Gay Inc. organization.
UPDATE: Joe sends this update, clarifying:
I’ve seen some reactions to my weekly message, that I gave the President a free pass not to fulfill his campaign promises until 2017.
Here’s something from what I wrote that the authors didn’t include in their pieces: “I predict great things coming out of our work with this President, but that does not mean that I am satisfied today. Our community cannot be satisfied so long as DOMA is on the books and an inclusive ENDA is not.“ I am not satisfied.
HRC is not satisfied.
Our community is not satisfied and that’s why thousands of LGBT people and our allies are in Washington this weekend to demand more.
That’s our position. Stopping here would mean losing. But stopping here is not what we intend to do.
We are pushing for much more. It is our job to dog them, but it is also our job to make sure that success is possible. As I wrote, “To do the work, we have to work with our supporters in Congress and with the Administration.
Whatever you think of the Administration’s first nine months, you don’t pass laws by sitting out. You pass laws by sitting at the table.” Do I believe we’ll have a good track record by 2017? Yes. But the President can’t deliver on his promises alone. It will take all of us working together.
NEXT PAGE: Solmonese’s original message in full.