Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Advocate Raises Questions About HRC

The Advocate's Kerry Eleveld (pictured) has just put out an online video that directly questions the relevance and effectiveness of HRC, and President Joe Solmonese, in particular.

The article is titled, "What Happened to 'Yes We Can?'" and makes clear that gay activists want to know of Solmonese "what gives?"

While I have not written extensively about HRC in this blog, I have been on record, at blog sites such as AmericaBlog and firedoglake, as being highly critical of Solmonese. After becoming friendly with a woman in my bowling league, who is both extremely passionate about glbt advocacy and very involved with HRC on a local level, I am now very careful to not smear the entire organization because of my dissatisfaction with some.

As a glbt activist in my own rite I know how easy it is for us to cannibalize our own over policy differences. I also know that there are many advocates and pundits in the community, on both sides of this debate, that are enamored with their own sense of importance and relevance. It seems to go with the territory. And it is why I prefer to take things case-by-case.

The HRC's 2 prime detractors in this piece are a man I greatly admire, Act-Up founder Larry Kramer, along with AmericaBlog's John Aravosis. Kramer is especially harsh and blunt. When you get to the article (which I will link to below) you can see from what Kramer says about Solmonese, in the comments section, that there is no love-fest going on.

I initially got motivated to going back to my glbt activism, and away from my progressive blogging (where I foolhardishly blogged very successfully on Barack Obama's behalf during the campaign, under the pseudonym 'scootmandubious'), by reading some of Aravosis's posts about the glbt community's total disconnect with Obama.

I thought I was going a little crazy in my fairly rapid disillusionment with the man that I worked, in my own small way, to help elect. I was glad to read that others shared my views. I had a brief correspondence with Mr. Aravosis a decade ago, from the days of my glbt newfeeds, which I used to send to subscribers via e-mail, so I was pleased to see how far he had come with his AmericaBlog. He has always been good at positioning and defining himself and his politics. I tend to agree with John on many issues, though not all. 

Meanwhile, I had always been very suspicious of glbt advocacy groups. Actually, outside of Rev. Mel White's Soulforce, the SLDN and NGLTF, I am not particularly impressed with any of the others, for various reasons.

It was understandable, when the GOP ran things, that we would have a hard time scoring legislative victories. So, even though I had been critical of the HRC's efforts, I understood the reality of the result.

The inaction under Obama is inexcusable to me. Just as it was inexcusable under Bill Clinton...the man who gave us DADT and DOMA.

I will leave it at that for now, but watch the video. Where is the anger on Joe Solmonese's face? Where is the outrage? This is a point Mr. Kramer makes and he makes it elffectively. Solmonese actually looks bored. Aravosis is a bit more diplomatic, but raises valid points.

It is not a hatchet job, since Eleveld gives Solmonese more than enough time to defend himself.

Reading the Advocate's comments section, it is clear that the HRC has work cut out for itself. The commenters are extremely critical of Solmonese.

Is it fair criticism? Watch the video and decide for yourself? Personally, I think it is.

You can access the piece here.

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