President Barack Obama was AWOL when it came to the marriage vote in Maine and the partnership vote in Washington.
The DNC was worse, actively working against us by sending out an email to Maine Democrats asking them to campaign for New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine -- instead of asking them to staff phones in their home state, working for marriage equality.
Despite a supposed commitment to gay civil rights expressed in the DNC platform and by the Obama campaign and administration, there has been relative silence on our issues.
That needs to change.
And thanks to John Aravosis and Joe Sudbay, it’s about to.
Aravosis and Sudbay run the political website Americablog and this week, angry about the administration’s inaction around Maine, they declared they had enough.
So they are launching a financial boycott of Democratics called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Give.”
The idea is this:
Gays and lesbians should stop giving money to the DNC and President Obama until ENDA passes and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and DOMA are overturned.
“It's really more of a ‘pause,’" than a boycott,” Aravosis and Sudbay say on Americablog.com.
Boycotts sounds so final, and angry. Whereas this campaign is temporary, and is only meant to help some friends -- President Obama and the Democratic party -- who have lost their way. We are hopeful that via this campaign, our friends will keep their promises.
This is exactly the right thing to do.
Americablog lists almost 40 grievances, large and small, against the president, the leader of the Democratic Party. Together, the grievances paint a portrait of a man who is not just refusing to show leadership on LGBT issues -- he seems unaware of why these issues are important.
And the DNC, despite including gay civil rights in their platform, seems to be hardly aware that, post-campaign, we exist.
The most powerful tools gays and lesbians have to fight this sort of blindness are money and media attention, and this boycott highlights both, because they get less money but more (negative) media attention.
It’s a brilliant strategy.
As Americablog says:
Democratic leaders see the LGBT community as a guaranteed source of cash, regardless of their broken promises. They think we, and those who support us, have nowhere else to go, that there's nothing we can do. It's time to draw our own line in the sand, and use the one thing that matters to the Democratic party: our money.
For this strategy to work, gays, lesbians and our allies all need to join in on the boycott. So get over to Americablog and sign the pledge form -- and stick to it.
But even that’s not far enough. The DNC needs to know that this is not laziness. It’s not just that the economy is lousy or that we want to spend more money on Christmas presents.
So give as much as you can to a gay activist group, national or local, of your choice, instead. Send in the receipt for the donation to the DNC with a note explaining that your money went elsewhere and why.
Will this hurt Democrats? Will it make it more likely that much more repressive Republicans get back in power? Americablog addresses these types of questions. Their answer is no -- I fear that actually, the answer is yes.
But that’s the point.
The DNC and President Obama need to start taking the LGBT community seriously. They will only do that if we start affecting their pocketbook.
Gays and lesbians raise a large amount of funds for the DNC. Until our major issues are addressed, it is time we close the gayTM.
Don’t give until the DNC and Obama have met their obligations to us. We have supported empty promises long enough.
Follow Jennifer Vanasco on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JenniferVanasco