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04/22/2010

Shocker: Rep. Frank has contrarian opinions which he's not afraid to share

by Jeremy Hooper

Congressman Frank (D-MA) on yesterday's GetEQUAL ENDA action:

''What a stupid thing to do.''
...
Frank called the action ''immature, tacky'' behavior on Wednesday afternoon and said that ''George Miller and others are working hard'' to see the bill passed in the House.
...
''no help whatsoever''
...
Frank said, ''I understand people are frustrated and angry,'' but he ''genuinely'' didn't understand the purpose of the Get Equal protest.

''How does this help us get the bill passed?'' he asked. ''Who's mind are they going to change?''
*FULL PIECE: One Story, Two Sides [Metro Weekly]

Honestly, we see grey in this gay. And no, we're not talking about Congressman Frank's age: We're talking about the fact that actions like this GetEQUAL stunt are rarely black and white, right or wrong, yes or no, tacky or classy kinds of things. There are deeper, more nuanced considerations at play.

Yes, Congressman Frank has insight that the rest of us could only hope to obtain. But at the same time, LGBT people are sick of the "we'll get to it eventually" mindset that is destroying trust in the current administration/Congress.

Yes, Robin McGehee and company's action was disruptive. But so is the fact that certain people can be fired/denied employment based on a reason no larger than their sexual orientation/gender identity. Much more disruptive, in fact.

Yes, Congressman Frank said ENDA mark up will come "this week or next." But this week's almost over, and there's been no further commitment given. Who can be blamed for feeling impatient?

Yes, there is so much, much, much more to the political process than direct action, and GetEQUAL must be responsible about acknowledging this, rather than fostering an oversimplified version of a "grassroots vs. Gay Inc. vs. the Administration" meme. But that goes both ways. Those sympathetic allies in the high ranking parts of the political process much throw some bones, not just cold shoulders.

So as we said: Grey. Rather than call it "stupid," perhaps Barney would be better served calling yesterday's action "limited." But at the same time: We cannot afford to call Congressman Frank wrong or out-of-touch, regardless of how much we might support/feel the community frustration with this Congress/President. There is a balance to be had. Quite frankly we ALL have to find it, or we're going to lose it all. That would be stupid.

***For those who didn't see it all go down:

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