Friday, October 12, 2007

Donald v 2.5

I got a chance to talk to my friend Donald Hitchcock yesterday. You may remember that he is suing his former employer, the Democratic National Committee, the DNC. There is an article in today's Washington Blade about the legal case and the current status of said case.

Again, since I have had an insider's perspective and I believe that telling the truth is a critical component of politics (Yes, I am old school that way) the case is a clash of the truth versus political expediency, power and privilege against one gay guy in the DNC trying to make sure all the homos get something from the adult table. I know this is a simplistic argument but it is also based on my experience at the DNC, the lies, the underhanded tactics, the punishment that occurs for speaking your mind and representing your constituency.

The LGBT part of the Democratic party has always been the red headed step child. The big dogs had no issues taking those checks but , lordy, we should not ask to be on the stage with us or be seen in public. In 2000 at the Presidential convention in Los Angeles, there were eight openly gay and lesbian speakers, including myself. In 2004 that number was three. There were more lesbian and gay delegates and way more transgender delegates but you would never know that from the number of speakers on the stage. The same thing could be said about the Latino delegation, hundreds of delegates and only two speakers on stage.

So when Howard Dean was elected chair of the DNC, there was great hope for inclusion. During the run up to the chair election, Dean promised the lesbian and gay caucus that there would continue to be a gay and lesbian desk (the insider term for a staff person who is focused on a certain constituency). What happens when Dean gets elected? No more desk. Everyone is to be blended into a new American Majority program.

Donald Hitchcock was the staff for the Democratic Leadership Council, the big bucks boob at the DNC. His job was squeeze every dime out of the homos with dough. Donald also saw his role as an advocate for the LGBT community, making sure that there were actions taken to support our issues.

When Paul Yandura, Donald's partner wrote a letter blasting the DNC for its lack of action on anti-gay election referendums in state's all over the country, guess what? Donald was fired.

So now a little farther down the path, this case is going to court. There is an error in the Blade's reporting on the case. The mediation they are headed for is part of a normal process in this type of procedure. The judge did not order Donald and the DNC into mediation. They now have four months to ask 36 questions of the litigants at the DNC. I can hardly wait for the answers.

This all could have been avoided too if the DNC, specifically the chair of the DNC, Howard Dean, had not been such a horse's butt. Donald asked for three things, a letter of recommendation, severance pay and a letter clarifying the harmful statements that had been said about Donald in the building. They tried a number of things to get the situation cleared up, asking people to approach Dean to get some resolution, getting their lawyer to apply some legal pressure, none of it worked.

So now here we are, the law suit to be heard at the beginning of the next year, a presidential election year. Nice to see the DNC has its priorities in order, especially toward the LGBT community. And ask yourself, when was the last time you heard from the DNC? Was it to ask for money? Heard any affirmations about our needs in the upcoming elections? I bet not.

I am sure once the questions are answered, we will have a lot more questions. And it will not be how much can I give you.

3 comments:

Clark said...

These are ugly times in Democratic politics. The LGBT community has been sold out by one of their own, our Democratic leaders aren't returning our calls, our advocacy organizations are at war.

What is a hopeful, reasonable, committed Democratic leader to do?
Keep my head down, I guess, and wait for the smoke to clear.

I did help get the LGBT Caucus of the CA Dem Party to endorse and sign the trans-inclusive ENDA. And, I'm pleased that all of the LGBT advocacy organizations that I have joined are part of the effort to defeat the LGB-only version.

Sometimes it just sucks to be part of a marginalized community.

miss wild thing said...

I think it always sucks to be part of a marginalized community.

Clark said...

congrats on making it onto Pam's House Blend!

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