Michael Petrelis highlights the typical antics of the HRC types whose "leadership" did absolutely nothing to help Prop 8.
Another item from Petrelis' posts this weekend was an article from Boston gay rag written by one Jeff Epperly (who Michael is friendly with):
Longtime San Francisco political gadfly and blogger Michael Petrelis, who hates the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) almost as reflexively as Andrew Sullivan hates the Clintons, is up in arms because he got an invitation recently for a night of "pampering and relaxation" at a local spa to benefit HRC. "What’s next?" Petrelis asks. "Get a face-lift and HRC gets 10 percent from the plastic surgeon, to fight the next ballot proposition? Purchase a Mercedes and the dealer gives a percentage of the sale to HRC?"
I like Petrelis, but his anti-HRC crusade veers off into the comical a bit too often these days. I wouldn’t go to a silly spa night to benefit any group, and I certainly don’t enjoy putting on a tux and dining on chicken with the LGBT glitterati at posh events. I point this out because of the tendency of those who’ve decided to pile onto the Human Rights Campaign vis-à-vis the California Proposition 8 loss to paint anyone who chooses not to join the anti-HRC feeding frenzy as being beholden to HRC’s glam aura as "professional" Washington insiders -- as if being professional LGBT lobbyists in a capital full of professional right-wing lobbyists is a bad thing on its face ...
The torch-and-pitchforks mob currently hounding HRC around the Prop. 8 loss either have very short memories or a shallow frame of reference for their anger. HRC gave $3.4 million to the anti-8 campaign, which is exactly the kind of role one would expect them to take in a fight in which local organizations rightfully took the lead and HRC provided support ...
Prop. 8 was a California loss that should be laid at the feet of a local campaign that had too little money too late and a disjointed message that failed to speak to the constituencies -- moderate religious voters and voters of color, in particular -- who put Prop. 8 over the top ...
For those same people to now claim to know what’s best for all of us is worse than revisionist history. It’s a recipe for disaster in a world where Prop. 8 has taught us that, as much as we might disagree, opportunistic political cannibalism only drives apart a community that should know that we need everyone to do his or her part in myriad ways that by themselves cannot possibly capture the complexity needed to move us forward.
The problem with this analogy is that cannabalism implies some sort of desire to consume another for a reason that might be nutritional (i.e. you are on a desert island) or it might be religious in nature (i.e. tribal consumption of their members in the pacific, as one example). I doubt that anyone criticizing HRC wants anything to do with the metaphorical consumption of that organization.
Jeff's point in this article is pretty clear. It is a nice thought too - why should we spend out time fighting within when the enemy is on the outside. We can handle our internal problems ourselves and no need to air our dirty laundry. We really should all get along.
But then there are these nagging problems with this column.
1) Use of the term cannabalism - If Michael's criticims gets a bit over the top then how does one describe the use of the term cannabalism? That word is over the top. And grossly inaccurate.
2)Use of the term shallow ("a shallow frame of reference for their anger") - In the vein of my post yesterday, if you are giving 3.4 million bucks - ought you not control how it is spent? I'm wondering why HRC justifies it efforts in CA with some dollar amount? It is silly for HRC to expect one organization to do all the work. If you are a big political organization (e.g. HRC) - you can give money to local organization AND run a parallel effort that overlaps but does not usurp the CA effort. Has anyone paid any attention to Karl Rove's tactics? Take a page from his book and BE AGGRESSIVE, BE BE AGGRESSIVE. Funny how Jeff's article heaps the blame on the EQCA group and absolves HRC ("Prop. 8 was a California loss that should be laid at the feet of a local campaign that had too little money too late and a disjointed message that failed to speak to the constituencies"). Isn't it HRC's role to educate local organizations for this very reason?
3. I just love that Prop 8 suddenly has become a wedge issue. Really, has it? Did Jeff just conveniently forget that 1 million people went to the streets Nov 15th. No on 8 rallies should have shown the leadership that IN SPITE of losses, the gay community is moving forward. The rallies were not about bitterness and in-fighting - by all accounts, they were mostly about hope and a time to reflect how far we have come and how far we have to go.
I would like to support the HRC -and I think many of the cranky bloggers out there would too - if they just pulled their head out of their ass and knocked off the top-down bullshit.
If one needs yet another example - 6 couples are going before the Iowa Supreme Court on Tuesday in an attempt to legalize gay marriage. Now I just went to the HRC home page and copied the lead page. Mind you that gay marriage is one of HRC's lead issues and this court case is being held in the Midwest. Kind of a big deal as this would offer a case for Minnesota and Wisconsin to do the same.
Can anyone find the Iowa case on the webpage? Oh perhaps I need to look behind the ad for the HRC store.