Cranky Congressman Barney Frank has taken some major heat for calling the National Equality March “useless.” He’s since tried to clarify his comments. Maybe one more time will do the trick?
In a brilliant 10-part Q&A with the members of Digg-esque site Reddit.com, Frank further explains: “The LGBT community is pursuing the wrong avenues. … Marches and demonstrations may energize participants. They do literally zero to influence Congress. … It becomes a substitute for what we really need done. … Marching may be fun, but it doesn’t do anything.”
Okay, that’s not further explanation, just repetition!
The problem with NEM, according to Frank? The masses don’t influence elected officials because these officials aren’t having pressure applied directly on them. All those thousands of people in D.C. could be from anywhere, representing whatever — but it doesn’t directly impact these politicians. Writing, calling, and meeting with them, rather, is more effective.
Rather than carpooling to a march? Pool the names of your friends and start a phone bank.
Barney Frank is like that parent who knows a good deal of very important, useful information, but does not always have the tact of explaining it to those who can not suspend emotional responses, and in giving good advice, assumes it will be taken logically, not emotionally.
He is right, the best place to put pressure is phone calls, emails, and above all written messages to your elected officials. It does not matter if you voted for them or not, it matters that they hear from you. They are your representatives regardless of your particular vote, and you need not even exclaim your political leanings. One letter to an elected representative is more effective as one thousand people marching. One question in a town hall meeting with an explanation of your view is worth a whole group marching on the streets.
Marches have their use, and are effective in bringing attention to the general public a movement. The public can learn about things they might not have heard in the media without marches and demonstrations. Once the public knows, then it is time to apply pressure where it does the most good.
Succinctly: Write, meet, question your representative. (Wash, rinse, repeat)
wish there was a thumbs up icon to click for your post.
He’s right, marches are great but have ZERO impact if people go home and don’t lobby their local representatives at all levels of government.
Did this march include a “lobbying day” on monday after the march?
He is right about influence, each and everyone of us need to have a full list of representatives on our computers and write write write. Use every avenue such as responding to editorials etc. But Frank, also needs to understand that marching isn’t just for the attention of the government, it helps public opinion, helps that one LGBT person in Idaho know that they are not alone, and it helps drive others into action.
I wrote mine before the march, and in his reply (after the march) was lectured on DOMA and how he will continue to support anti gay rights legislation. I think Barney is right in that we have to apply the right kind of pressure.
I think Barney is right about applying pressure to our members of congress but he was very wrong about the success of the march. The march made many things happen such as Obama addressing HRC, hate crimes being pushed through faster, increased media coverage of our issues, and energized our community to push harder. Writing letters that get answered with form letters cannot do it alone, protest seem to get their attention.
I have a good laugh when ever Barney comes around for a sing-a-long.
Isn’t he a member of the most ineffectual congress…ever?
And by the way stale fart breath Barney…Zero literally means (on a scale of 1 to 10)
1. B.F. and his B.S.
10. Choi Chops !!!
@inexile: really? it made me realize we need a new wave of activists. i saw old stale methods and old stale ideas. it only energized me to act out of the embarrassment of looking at it.
Marching raises awareness, that why it was needed in the 1990s when awareness was a lot less than now. Now 3/4ths of people under 30 know someone queer in their lives so that’s kinda a moot point. I don’t think that it affects Congress much either, so for once I agree with Barney even though I dislike intensely.
Marches as part of a mass action campaign are immensely more effective than lobbying, which is a waste of resources.
HRC and others have been lobbying for decades. And selling out for decades. The existence of a massive GLBT radicalization is what’s influencing Congress to pass token measures.
Frank, HRC and that whole crowd are pretty much worthless.
It’s really C) all of the above. We need to write letters, support our leaders so that they have something to fall back on when the well-organized haters get at them.. but he was DEAD wrong to slag the marching… we NEED to get activated. We need to encourage involvement. We need to have a turf were old fags like me and 20-somethings have a reason to work together.
Bill Purdue and InExile, I agree with the both of you that lobbying is a waste of good paper and computer ink cartridges.
I have been writing letters to our politicians for years now, and I have a collection of form letters with rubber-stamped signatures that would be the envy of any collector, including ones signed by people like John Glen, Barney Frank, Bill Nelson, Joe Biden and Barack Hussein Obama, to name but a few.
Hey, I was just thinking. Perhaps I could meet some other letter writers on line who would like to trade letters; you know, just like they do with baseball cards.
That way, I could “fill-in” my collection with the names of famous politicians that I am missing! 😉
One hundred years after my demise, that collection could conceivably be worth a buck four-eighty five, or so.
I agree 100% with tarcash, and will add that marches also let you know you are not fighting alone. The most affective way to impact legislators is through lobbying: writing letters, telephone calls, district meetings, and community organizing. If you don’t believe in the power of lobbying consult AIPAC or the Saudi Arabian Government its the only way to get anything out of Washington.
I disagree with InExile the president speech to HRC was in the works months before Obama even heard of a march happening and the hate crimes bill was well on its way to making it to his desk.
Schlukitz: your comments do not really deserve a response, but I will comment that you should be focused on sending letters to politicians in your own state. Judging by the tone of your comments I am half interested in what kind of letters your sending, you are probably doing nothing but harm.
I will also add that just because you are in a conservative state don’t be discouraged, you should still write all of your legislators. Here in Texas although both U.S. Senators don’t support gay rights, several of our U.S. Representatives do. Changing minds and social norms is not easy, but it can be done through persistence, lobbying, community outreach, education, and “civility.”
Barney Frank makes me want to move to Mass, so I can vote for somebody else.
He makes an excellent point. The best ways to get through to your congressional representatives are to visit them and write them letters (NOT emails). Phone calls are good too, but you’re unlikely to get to them directly.
Schlukitz: your comments do not really deserve a response.
But, you did respond, Blanche. You did!
Judging by the tone of your comments I am half interested in what kind of letters your sending, you are probably doing nothing but harm,
This is an example of civility? And judging by the tone of your comments, you sound like someone who is missing a butt cheek!
Obviously, the intent of my tongue-in-cheek comments went right over your head. If what I am saying eludes you, I will not waste my times explaining it to you.
Ordinarily, I would refrain from bringing grammatical errors to one’s attention, but since you felt the need to be bitchy, insulting and judgmental, it’s “you’re sending”, not “your sending”.
Typo: “times” should be “time”
schlukitz wrote, “Bill Purdue and InExile, I agree with the both of you that lobbying is a waste of good paper and computer ink cartridges. I have been writing letters to our politicians for years now, and I have a collection of form letters with rubber-stamped signatures that would be the envy of any collector, including ones signed by people like John Glen, Barney Frank, Bill Nelson, Joe Biden and Barack Hussein Obama, to name but a few.”
If lobbying didn’t work, large corporations would not be paying so much for it. While you can’t compete with them on the campaign-contribution level (large contributors tend to get individual attention), don’t think those letters don’t do any good. They use a rule of thumb that maps each letter received into so many votes. They can “buy” those votes by advertising or by doing what people want, and the more people who they think want something, the more attractive the latter option is.
Just because you get a form letter doesn’t mean your opinion wasn’t tabulated in a database so your congressman can figure out how to pander to his constituents as effectively as possible. If his constituents want gay rights, he is going to want gay rights – that does not conflict with what his main (corporate) contributors want.
Individual lobbying is a grain of sand on the beach. My congressman is a right-wing thug who doesn’t give a crap *what* I think. I was no great supporter of this march, but I SAW it achieve results, so Barney is–as usual–just talking out of his stupid fat ass.
No. 18 B, thank you for your thoughtful comments. You do make some excellent points and I appreciate the fact that you brought them to my attention in the gentlemanly manner in which you did.
“This is an example of civility? And judging by the tone of your comments, you sound like someone who is missing a butt cheek!”
That doesn’t compute, maybe I am to young to get it. If my tone was a little harsh I will try to do better next time, I took a page out of H.W. Bush’s book. As for the grammar, that will happen, I am a chemist not an English major.
By the way I have done some lobbying, so I was kind of offended: I know the importance of lobbying.
No 18, B
schlukitz is right on the money.
When corporations give money to politicians it’s called bribery and it always pays off. Obama got $994,795.00 from Goldman Sachs. He vetoes attempts by other governments to limit their international looting and he gave them $10 billion out of our pockets in TARP funds to pay bonuses. Goldman Sachs vice-chairman Lord Griffiths, speaking about the huge salaries and bonuses paid to bankers recently said that the public should “tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity for all”. He has that unbelievably arrogant attitude because he knows Obama is covering his ass.
When ‘GLBT activists’ lobby for equality they get smiles, nods and memos. But make no mistake, just as soon as the door closes behind them they’re no longer activists, just a bunch of fags, dykes and tyrannies. Congress smirks and has a good laugh. Then Congress goes to lunch with real lobbyists, the ones from AIG, Haliburton and Human. And, somehow, nobody’s quite figured out how, they get rich in the process.
Lobbying is just pissing into the wind. It’s as clueless as voting for a lesser evil like Obama and then getting it. A consistent, persistent campaign of mass actions with alternating focuses on local, regional and national focuses and issues is the only way we’ll get anywhere. The day we begin that campaign and announce our total independence from the parties of our enemies – the Republicans and Democrats – is the day we’ll enter the battle for equality fit to fight and win.
reason No 21 and 22
By the way I have done some lobbying, so I was kind of offended If only you were half as offended by the outright bigotry and hostility of the current White House and Congress you’d have some common ground with most of us.
As for your rudness towards schlukitz I think it stems more from the fact that you’re a typically oblivious liberal trying to cover the fact that you can’t prove what you say rather than anything else.
Those attitudes certainly don’t help convince any of us that you have a clue about politics.
Get a clue.
Then get a grip.
@ Bill Perdue
If you want to see bigotry look in the mirror, or drudge up some of your old post.
Both B and I clearly articulated our points, if you want to spend the time to actually think about it great if not I could careless.
“typically oblivious liberal” wrong again, generally I trend towards centrist. When it comes to foreign policy I subscribe to George H.W. Bush’s brand of realism. I am not surprised granted that you consistently draw broad conclusions with little reasoning, research, and objective thinking.
For some strange reason you seem to believe that you know better than elected politicians, people that have played the game, and current history. Whatever the case you are entitled to your opinion, have fun marching.
No. 25 “reason”
Ninny. A centrist is a liberal is a moderate. Democrats are right centrists. Republicans are slightly more right centrists. Very slightly.
We don’t need any more submissive inert liberals/centrists/moderates who let politicians do their thinking for them. That was tried in Germany after 1933 and proved to be very dangerous.
We need catalysts.
You know what does influence Congress? Money, votes, and campaign resources.
The answer, friends, is simple.
Tell Democrats that you will not vote, contribute or volunteer to them until they repeal DOMA and DADT. If they refuse, in election 2010 we stay home. Without LGBT votes, they lose their supermajority and their congressional majority.
If LGBT people and their family/friends stay home on election day, the Democrats are swept out of majority entirely.
An episode or two of that will be all they need to get their asses in gear.
I don’t let politicians do my thinking, and that is one of the reasons lobbying is important because truth be told lots of times politicians are not doing there own thinking. They are being swayed by people with money and numbers who actually take the time to show up like Pharma. Brian Miller hit two key things that are important and play off each other; money and votes, the former can be used to purchase the latter. Pharma lobbyist(“money” the corporations tool) went straight to the White House and got what they wanted before the noise even got started. “Votes” (the tool of the people) are the puppet masters of politicians, but when the people are silent the only voice at the table is that of corporate America. If politicians start receiving thousands of letters and contacts from their own district they get nervous, because lets be truthful for most politicians its their seat first not country first. Every individual in the north east could be in the street marching and my Texas senators wouldn’t give a s*** but if they got 1.5 million letters from Texas residents they will start thing about their positions or reconsider the language they use towards LGBT at the very least. Marches may have been effective in the past, but we live in a dynamic world things have changed you either adapt or lose.
I don’t let my Ideology or what I would like to see in the world get in the way of progress. Truthfully no party fits my Ideology. I am a pragmatist that realizes the game is played from where the ball is at not where I want it to be. I want the best solutions available to move that ball forward whatever they are or wherever they come form.
Bill Perdue wrote, “No 18, B schlukitz is right on the money.
When corporations give money to politicians it’s called bribery and it always pays off. Obama got $994,795.00 from Goldman Sachs.”
… which explains http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/04/obama.executive.pay/index.html (“Pledging to take ‘the air out of golden parachutes,’ President Obama announced Wednesday that executives of companies receiving federal bailout money will have their pay capped at $500,000 under a revised financial compensation plan.) Goldman Sachs probably hates that idea. The voters will love it.
Curiously, schlutitz seemed to like my comment, but what you are missing is that the politician simply wants to get elected. If getting that $994,795.00 requires doing something that would result in needing $10,000,000 in campaign advertising to get the voters to forget about it, what do you think a politician is going to do?
BTW, campaign contributions are not “bribery”, which refers to giving politicians money or something else of value for personal use. Also, Goldman Sachs has a “help us get rich” agenda. If gay sex increased Goldman Sachs’ income, Goldman Sachs would be actively in favor of it. Since it has no effect on Goldman Sachs’ income, Goldman Sachs simply doesn’t care.
The pay limits don’t apply to Goldman Sachs, which did not receive any TARP money or government equity. They apply primarily to Goldman’s largest competitors — Citi, B of A, and AIG.
Barney Frank’s from Massachusetts.
If you’re an Idaho gay, comme moi, you can’t lobby Walt Minnick, even though he’s a Democrat, because he beat the Republican by a couple of votes.
And, we even HAD a gay representative in Congress… f-ing LARRY CRAIG. Why the F did not Barney Frank take one for the TEAM and lobby that wrinkly old ass for us!!!??? Well, Craig was not really that hot, and maybe not Frank’s type. And, Craig would have NEVER been pressured to support GLBT issues, because it’s Idaho, c’mon.
OK, Idahoans have to f-ing march. We can’t influence our representatives. But they can certainly influence us. Put pressure on the grass Idaho. You’d meet someone cute in Washington for sure. Oh. The march is over. Where do we go?
By the way, I prefer Harvey Milk’s method of lobbying. I tell everyone I’m gay.
No. 30 Brian Miller Brian sasy “The pay limits don’t apply to Goldman Sachs, which did not receive any TARP money…” but that seems not to be the case. Google has 558,000 stories on the GS TARP funds.
– “NEW YORK, Feb 4 (Reuters) –
Goldman Sachs Group Inc Chief Financial Officer David Viniar said the bank is keen to avoid restrictions it agreed to after receiving funds from the U.S. government late last year and it is looking to pay the money back as soon as possible.
The investment bank, which received a $10 billion capital
injection from the U.S. Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program
in October, is not happy with the strings that came attached to the money.”
Which is where that $994,795.00 bribe in the form of a campaign contribution comes in and why “the pay limits don’t apply to Goldman Sachs.”
No. 29 · B – Of course it’s a bribe; it’s a political bribe.
No. 28 · reason “I don’t let politicians do my thinking…”
Sure you do. You accept the bullshit lies that Bush and Cheney used as an excuse to steal Iraqi oil by launching a genocidal invasion and occupation based the bankrupt idea that they “knew know secret stuff that we don’t”. You admitted as much when you said “For some strange reason you seem to believe that you know better than elected politicians, people that have played the game, and current history.”
“This is an example of civility? And judging by the tone of your comments, you sound like someone who is missing a butt cheek!”
That doesn’t compute, maybe I am to young to get it. It’s not your youth, it’s your cluelessness.
NO. 34 – Bill Perdue. Thank you for cluing Reason in. I was trying to be kind, but my comment clearly went over his head.
Now, Reason will have good reason to be offended by me. 😉
No. 35 · schlukitz – I’m sorry, I should have waited for you but sometimes spitefully flogging a dead jackass is just way too much fun.
And I’m not alone. “To knock a thing down, especially if it is cocked at an arrogant angle, is a deep delight of the soul.” – Santayana
No. 36 · Bill Perdue – Ah yes. Santayana…the man who authored the Law of Repetitive Consequences.
A great tinker and philosopher, among many other talents.
No worries about beating me to the punch, Bill. The comments were just begging to be made sport of. If one is going to attack people for their viewpoints, then they have to expect a rebuttal that is befitting their own arrogance, ignorance and rudeness. 😉
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