One of the key issues that I continue to see is the total unwillingness to listen to each other. This next campaign is supposed to be about changing hearts and minds among the electorate. Yet in meeting after meeting we do not listen well to each other and from that springs growing animosity towards other LGBT people. So without these skills how in the hell are we supposed to listen to the California electorate who does not agree with us right now?
Does anyone truly think that by just showing up on people’s doorsteps they will welcome us in and want to hear our stories? These conversations require the ability to listen to other people’s beliefs and not just maintain a superior attitude that we know best how people should vote. Do we magically take the place of their clerics or their religious community?
A lot of paens I have read about going in 2010 have not dealt at all with the issue of people of color in California. Just in case you missed the demographics on the Golden State, we are a majority minority state. The majority of people in California are minorities, primarily Latino. So to have these opinions completely skip over the statement made by people of color organizations, the Prepare to Prevail, does not take into full account the true demography here.
Along the same lines, Karen Ocamb’s post at the Bilerico Project:
The real problem, from my perspective, is that right now - and for the past seven months - the acrimony among institutional leaders and grassroots activists is only deepening. It's as if all the 8hate has been turned inward - we are the enemy, anyone who is not immediately, completely, absolutely with us now and forever more......And that means everyone: people of color, well off "high gays" from LA and SF, average couples, our families, friends, and co-workers, people of faith and supporters of justice. EVERYONE. No more circular firing squads, dammit!
It seems to me that the first step to winning back marriage equality is finding a mediator who can help this community find common ground and learn to keep our eye on the prize so we can move forward together. There are now so many LGBT folk who want to be leaders - let this be their first real test of leadership: find a way to bring us together.
Over at Unite the Fight, the San Bernardino summit is viewed as an utter failure and calls all of us to task.
Our community has splintered into factions lead by no one, going in all different directions with various agendas, some with good intentions, but many motivated by egos in attempt to out maneuver the other, causing us to fight each other instead of those who have taken away our rights. And why? Because our leadership once failed us in a disastrous campaign which ended not with rights being denied us, but rights we enjoyed being stripped away from us, leaving us naked and exposed. And now we're so anti-leadership, we have spiraled into a quagmire of anarchy with no visible way out. ("The Tyranny of Structurelessness.")
First, we're not done grieving our loss brought upon us by Prop 8. The full scope of its damage has yet to be seen by us because we're still too close to it. ....
Second, we have become what we've hated. Right after the election, we were right to be angry at our leadership. We were right to demand accountability, something that was missing during the campaign. We were right to demand an apology for such a historical mishap, which has failed to occur. But we have taken it too far and for too long.....
But also in this short amount of time, we have failed to see the new leadership for what it is. Accountable to us. Open. Willing to listen. Vocal. And all this almost to a fault. ....
Rick Jacobs of Courage Campaign, whom I admire and for whom I hold deep respect, needs to stop dissing EQCA in the press. Rick needs to sit down with Marc Solomon, EQCA Marriage Director, and work it out..... Marc has, since his arrival, done great work for the community, including marriage efforts, and for me, has restored EQCA's respect, but he has also done his share of pulling the rug out from Courage Campaign in an effort to stay relevant.
I call out Love Honor Cherish for steamrolling their position and strong-arming many in the community to follow them or take the highway. I call out the Prepare to Prevail Coalition for its tendency in the past to be isolationists and not truly engaging in discussion (at one point, yes, they were stonewalled out, but that is not the case anymore and they need to engage, especially if invited to discuss their views). I call out the grassroots activists and community organizers - YOU ARE NOT EXPERTS. Stop throwing the baby out with the bathwater and LISTEN.
Trust the leadership again. Trust that they'll make the best decisions they can with the community in mind. Then shut up, get in line and get to work. We have our rights to win back.
We'll know this week whether there is enough OOMPH in the movement to make it happen in 2010. The Courage Campaign put up a challenge grant to see if people would donate $$$$. My bet? No, there isn't the heart for it. People are trying to save their money for the community needs, in a time of extreme hardship. It needn't have been this way. I'm extremely disappointed in the failure of the anti-H8 people to coalesce in the sharp, disciplined organization that is essential for victory. As they all run around competing for credit, there is no sign of coordination, or focus. At the local Pride, there were at least 3 if not 4 different groups advocating repeal of H8, with no consistent graphic or message.
Hard as it is to take, WE lost the election, and frankly I don't see us anything like grown-up enough to win the next one. And that makes me sad and angry and incredibly frustrated.
Update: From Queerty, saying it'll be 2012:
You see, there are two warring camps in this strategy decision: The old guard, made up of wealthy donors and political strategists who don't want to have to pay for two repeal efforts if 2010 fails, and the new breed of younger grassroots-y activists, who are all like, "Why wait for our rights?," which is a pretty basic question, but the folks asking have terrible FICO scores and will only be contributing $10 to the cause, not $100,000.