Saturday, February 27, 2010

What's the best Method to fight for our Rights?


The recent Harold Ford Jr. debacle has heated up some discussions on how we should address politicians, as well as, how we should fight for our rights.

If your not familiar with the issue, Ford spoke at a Stonewall Democrats event in NYC. However, he was attacked by several gays, screaming and shouting during his speech. The aftermath of that event, caused several LGBT leaders, activists and bloggers to condemn the protesters' actions.

Then on the flipslide, several LGBT peeps felt this is the best way to deal with lying politicians and the slow process on our issues.

But what is the best method? Is there a 'best method'?

I struggle with this because I'm all for protesting. I think it's a great way to convey our frustrations. However, when it's destructive, the point is muddled.

For example, there's already a backlash from the Ford drama. The mainstream media folks are labeling the protesters as "rude", "vile", "tacky". And this issue has trickled down to other minority groups who are seeing this as an unnecessary attack on Ford.

Still, this method could sent a message that 'we don't take no jive'. This could be the wake up call to any politician who wants our support.

For me, I think the Ford drama hurt more than helped. But on the other hand, folks now know you can't play with our emotions.

I would love to hear from y'all about this.

10 comments:

Damien Oz said...

Personally I just believe we need Charles Xavier to make all the nutcases brain dead.

That'd work for me too.

Bob said...

I like the idea of "civil" discussion, but sometimes that simply doesn't work.
I think we need another Stonewall; we need more protests; more marches. We need in your face every once in a while.
Sometimes civility just seems so nice and safe, when, really, you're angry.
I remember a story of a man in Alabama in the 1950s, who stood on a street corner protesting the governemnt. People just walked by and ignored him. The next day he came out with an American flag, began the same protest, and burned the flag. People listened.
We need a movement not simply polite discussion and the "Please may I have some eqaul rights if it isn't too much trouble for y'all" attitude.

Larry Ohio said...

Yes, the protesters were rude, vile, and tacky, but so is Harold Ford.

I have no doubt that in 2 years he'll be in some other state running for Senator and telling people he was 'confused' when he said in 2010 that he supported gay marriage. He's a snake.

Stan in NH said...

I think we should take a lesson from Dr. Martin Luther King in how he viewed and lead the Civil Rights movement. When what is at stake is simple equality and rights, being too dramatic, or violent, or in anyway, looking or acting like we are different, will not make us be seen as equal. We have to peacefully demand equality in all areas. But we can't do it with rudeness and violence, or we look like a lunatic fringe element, and will be treated as such. We should be forceful, powerful, and diligent, without resorting to anything disrespectful. Civil disobedience without civil unrest or disorder, I believe, is the way for us to be taken seriously and win allies.

Eduardo Guize said...

I'm all for protesting but physical attacks are counterproductive. And I don't think LGBT issues should be a priority on any nation's agenda, unless there are safety, life-threatening issues. Now, between "not the priority" and "gay who?", there's a big difference...

Mechadude2001 said...

I think asking questions, and being persistant. And marches and rallies. Those are good.

But the screaming @ candidates, it just becomes sound bites for conservative- to sway the mainstream about our "negative" agenda to attack marriage and religion, etc...

As we know from history, in civil rights, yelling nad raucous behavior is not what helped Black people.
Slow and steady wins the race, but nobody wants to hear that.

David Dust said...

I agree 100% with Bob. They don't call it "fighting" for our civil rights for nothing...

XOXOXOXO

SteveA said...

I also agree with Bob - whatever gets their attention - it may be harsh and raucous but it gets attention!

jonwinkleman said...

I can only speak for my individual actions and goals of one of many participants in the Ford protest. I think lobbying and public service announcement type education are powerful and effective tools for creating change amongst those receptive to us. However it doesn't work against those who aren't.

A simplified formula for Direct Action and Civil Disobedience is
1) something in the status quo is unjust or wrong and is resisting change.

2) what needs to change and those who have the power to create that change are identified along with the specific demands for change.

3) non-violent but strong and unyielding tactics are used to apply strategic pressure to where those being targeted are vulnerable so that the cost of resisting change is perceived as greater than the cost of giving in.

Direct Action and CD do not seek to win the hearts and minds of those ignoring friendly arguments employed through lobbying. It is the very goal of direct action to be loud, unpleasant and impossible to ignore. Non-violent direct action does not seek to create an actual or perceived threat of personal violence however it does intend for its target to fear the political consequence of ignoring you.

In my own experience direct action is not the best first step to take. When other more peaceful tactics fail it can be a powerful and useful tool.

I was personally neither surprised nor upset by some of the negative reactions to direct action. Every past leader or movement that has employed direct action was initially met by responses of discomfort and questions as to whether they were hurting the cause. Again the goal is not to make someone like me as an individual or the tactics I choose. The goal is to force those ignoring us to take the action we desire.

Jon said...

I can only speak for my individual actions and goals of one of many participants in the Ford protest. I think lobbying and public service announcement type education are powerful and effective tools for creating change amongst those receptive to us. However it doesn't work against those who aren't.

A simplified formula for Direct Action and Civil Disobedience is
1) something in the status quo is unjust or wrong and is resisting change.

2) what needs to change and those who have the power to create that change are identified along with the specific demands for change.

3) non-violent but strong and unyielding tactics are used to apply strategic pressure to where those being targeted are vulnerable so that the cost of resisting change is perceived as greater than the cost of giving in.

Direct Action and CD do not seek to win the hearts and minds of those ignoring friendly arguments employed through lobbying. It is the very goal of direct action to be loud, unpleasant and impossible to ignore. Non-violent direct action does not seek to create an actual or perceived threat of personal violence however it does intend for its target to fear the political consequence of ignoring you.

In my own experience direct action is not the best first step to take. When other more peaceful tactics fail it can be a powerful and useful tool.

I was personally neither surprised nor upset by some of the negative reactions to direct action. Every past leader or movement that has employed direct action was initially met by responses of discomfort and questions as to whether they were hurting the cause. Again the goal is not to make someone like me as an individual or the tactics I choose. The goal is to force those ignoring us to take the action we desire.