Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Blogswarming ENDA

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | March 16, 2010 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics
Tags: blogswarm, employment non-discrimination, ENDA

Thumbnail image for bees.jpgToday is ENDA lobby day in DC, where hundreds are converging on their legislators' offices. It's a beautiful Spring day in Washington DC, and the flowers are blooming and the bees are buzzing. (I wouldn't know, though, because I'm laid low with another kind of bug and decided against going to DC and waging germ warfare against Congress.) Bees and bloggers have a lot in common. As there are gaggles of geese and flocks of birds and swarms of bees, so too are there swarms of bloggers. And a swarm of bloggers is gathering on Thursday.

A blogswarm is a swarm of buzzing bloggers, all coverging on a single target with a single message. We did it before, letting HRC know that the community wanted action from HRC on Don't Ask Don't Tell repeal. HRC listened, to its credit.

This time, we will be converging on Speaker Nancy Pelosi to demand that ENDA move to a vote in March as promised. The action is planned for this Thursday.

Here's who's on board so far:

We have Americablog, Towleroad, Pam's House Blend, Joe My God, DavidMixner.com, Daily Gotham, CultureKitchen, TaylorMarsh.com, Adam Bink of Open Left, and Andrew McClure of Kos.

Several major journalists and media outlets will be covering it as well. I am hoping for others too, so if you're a blogger, journalist or media person and want inside access, drop me a line ([email protected]).

Why a blogswarm addressed to Nancy Pelosi? Bzzzt!

The word from DC is that House Education and Labor Committee Chair George Miller is on board with moving ENDA to a markup, and that Reps. Frank, Baldwin and Polis are eager to move it. However, the word also is that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is not quite on board.

As I explained in my post earlier this week, Pelosi's office told me that they were fully committed to ENDA -- but only after they know the votes are there. When I noted that we have a majority in both Houses of Congress, I was told they can't really know if the votes are there until the bill is marked up, but also Pelosi won't tell House Committee Chair Miller to move to a markup. Miller's office, meanwhile, is telling me that they can't move until Pelosi gives the high sign because health reform is taking up all the air in the room. Silly me, thinking Congress can walk and chew gum at the same time.

Speaker Pelosi is probably holding up ENDA because she doesn't want to force the House to vote on something unless it's a sure thing. The House has enough votes, but the Senate is a question mark. We have 55 likely yes votes there, but whether we can eke out another 5 to get to 60 is an open question, and maybe the Senate leadership will attach ENDA to another bill, as they did with the passage of the Hate Crimes bill (which didn't have 60 either.) That's a lot of ifs. Hey, I wouldn't want to roll the dice if I were her either. But as she noted regarding health care reform, it could never have happened without the leadership's full support, including the President. ENDA can happen, but we need a fully committed, engaged leadership to pull it through. Not lukewarm advocates, wringing their hands, wondering if we have enough votes. We need fierce advocates going in there and pulling the votes out.

That's why we're taking this action on Thursday. We were promised fierce advocacy. We were promised a House vote in March. We were promised hope and change.

But we were promised lots of things, including DADT repeal this year, and what we get instead is talk of year-long studies and votes down the road.

ENDA is ready for a vote. Let's do it now.

We're not forgetting your point, Mr. President, that people must fight to change, that change is not given willingly, but taken by forceful demands.

We are going there, Speaker Pelosi. We forcefully demand the right to full participation in the life of our country, including economic rights. We have the right to get and keep a job regardless of our sexual orientation or gender identity.

Put this bill to a vote. Move it through the House. Keep your promises.

Speaker Pelosi can be reached at 202-225-4965. Call now.

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The Aravosis-HRC "Blogswarm" didn't produce any results. It may have made a few people feel effective, but it didn't accomplish anything.

Harassing Nancy Pelosi won't change any Senators' minds/votes and this action might actually infuriate her. Mid-terms are approaching quickly and she promised no "controversial votes" unless the Senate acted first. They will not.

If you do insist on harassing her, perhaps you can tell her about your strategy or plan to get enough votes in the US Senate. It's 50/50 right now, wishful thinking aside.

What is up with calling lobbying efforts 'harassment'. Did Nancy call you and tell you that is what we were doing?

Nancy isn't the problem. The US Senate is. Please help make the connection to harassing Nancy Pelosi and changing votes in the US Senate. If harassing Pelosi doesn't deliver more US Senators, what's the point?

One thing I'm not exactly clear on here: By "blogswarm" are we talking about contributors posting about ENDA to their respective blogs, writing directly to Nancy Pelosi, a combination, something else? What exactly does one have to do to participate?

My understanding is that you call Speaker Pelosi. That's what I did anyway.

Great question. The blogswarm operates in two ways: 1) anyone who has a blog posting to their blog about it, and pointing to the Bilerico post, and 2) readers of Bilerico and the other blogs calling Nancy Pelosi on Thursday and Friday.

150 people from NCTE and Garden State Eqality are walking the halls of congress meeting with reps on ENDA.

Keep swarming!

SarasNavel | March 17, 2010 4:05 AM

Everyone is pushing for some iconic, unspecified "inclusive" version of ENDA created by the same Rep.Frank as last time in the same way that we trusted Obama would be everything we'd dreamed of and bring us cookies and warm milk at bedtime.

Not to be a naysayer, but do we even know yet what is *in* this latest proposed inclusive ENDA that everyone is pushing so hard for? From the bits and pieces released in the wild so far by HRC and B.F., I'm very concerned that it's inclusive in such a way as to box some of us in just enough to not be a political threat in the future. And if it does, it will do so without granting us full equality or protection, guaranteeing an impractically long uphill battle to realize any further gains.

"and Andrew McClure of Kos"

Note, I'm just a random user over there and I've yet to get anything on the rec list, but I do have some subscribers and I'll do my best.