Sunday, August 28, 2011
I know many gays are glad Joe Solmonese is leaving the HRC in March. But to be honest, I really don't see what the hate is all about.
Some of the comments I've read are not really anything of substance. They blame him for the failure of ENDA and DOMA, or the dragging of DADT. But seriously, what do folks think the HRC is, the Masters of the Universe?
The reality is many people had an unrealistic view of the HRC's power. They were a consultant group to the major political peeps and they raised awareness to many LGBT activities. Yes, they gave pretty parties, but that's what fundraising is. If they were going to lobby, fight for ballot initiatives and keep the organization running, they had to raise money. And those $1000 a plate event paid the bills.
Also when it came to DOMA, DADT and other issues; many gays believed Joe was a Shaman or Wizard. I guess he was going to weave a spell to make all things gay pass every vote. That's not how politics works. It is a game; a hard, tough serious game. I'm sorry, but some of the gay bloggers and activists would fail badly trying to play this game. You can't bring grassroot philosophies on a true political playing field. I believe Joe knew that, but many within the community didn't get it. The sad part is, I don't think they would understand the game until it was too late.
So, please think about what leadership of a powerful org like HRC entails. It's not like running your local letter writing campaign, it's serious wheeling and dealing. This job ain't for the 'Pollyannas', it's for the true strategic players of the game. Joe may not have been the best leader, but for 6 years he took the HRC to a better place. He understood the responsibilities of the job. I'm not so sure that we actually do.