Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How LGBT America can defeat ourselves, or "nasty" doesn't win elections

Under the category of how LGBT America can defeat ourselves, comes today's comment from John Aravosis at AmericaBlog. (The emphasis is mine.) Speaking about the aftermath of the recent demonstrations protesting Proposition 8, he writes:
What comes after the protests? Postcard campaigns won't cut it. Nor will having a day without gays. We need a real campaign, a real war, real strategies - mean, nasty, vicious and, above all else, effective strategies targeted at achieving a concrete goal that moves our movement, moves our rights, forward.
Aravois' entire post is worth reading because he is right that we won't win equality by doing nothing more than protesting. But "mean, nasty, vicious" is neither effective politics nor right. Attempting to out-nasty our political opponents will only make us look like the villains.

To win equality, we have to learn how to better exercise political power, but we also have to win hearts and minds. The good news is that we are already doing the latter. The bad news is that we'll lose that battle in a heartbeat if we decide that the only way to win is to be vicious.

Personally, I also refuse to be part of a movement that is based on hurting others. Isn't that what we're fighting against?

1 comment:

Nancy Jane Moore said...

The demonization of Bill Ayers during the presidential election reminds me of the old fight during the Vietnam War between those -- like the Weather Underground -- who advocated violence and those who argued for nonviolent action. Violent action did more harm than good -- in fact, Walter Shapiro on Salon even said he thought it gave Nixon the ammunition to continue the war, though I think that goes too far.

The issue between nasty and constructive tactics is the same, even if the nasty ones don't involve blowing up buildings. Nasty techniques will make more enemies than friends, and turn off friends.

I think the presidential election shows the more effective path for any kind of social change effort: on the ground community organizing. These days that includes the web as well as walking neighborhoods, of course.