From Pam's House Blend.
1) The don't-know-enoughs: They only get information in drips and drabs, so they have no idea of the details of the votes or the compromise. They believe it's repealed, the discharges stop ASAP; some are open to receiving more info to clarify their view. Others find a boatload of information just too taxing to deal with right now…Glee is on the DVR. Next topic…
2) The “it's all a lie” crowd: The compromise is a complete sham and betrayal of those serving in silence. Anything coming out of the press releases lauding the vote is skimming over the ugly truth. The MSM is making it all worse, and there's anger about how easily the progressives are fooled and don't dig deep to see the injustice that will continue. You can't trust the orgs, the admin, the Pentagon or Congress. A vein might explode. 3) The “rose-colored glasses” peeps: This is the start of something good, DADT repeal was rescued from a certain death; the Obama admin and the Pentagon will do right by those in the closet in the military in short order (as in before 2010 ends). They don't like to hear criticism about the process, the LGBT groups, the Admin, or Congress. Criticism is not useful; it's all about calling your representatives on the Hill alone as the best course of action. There is no back-channel political activity or political infighting to consider that affects the process.
4) The cross-fingered pragmatists: The people who thought this was going to be totally FUBAR, but realized that in the late stages of the game, this was the best option we had and it's really not a good one at all for those directly affected by DADT. They believe that the system worked, albeit imperfectly, and that all parties — the LGBT groups, the activists, Congress and the WH did what they thought was right to get it done.
5) The “system is broken” people: These folks are convinced that this whole process was screwed, and if ENDA is to have any chance of success, the whole LGBT establishment needs to take a hard look at what did and didn't work in this process. The messy end result didn't have to be that way, and it's clear that the Beltway process of achieving results is too laden in personal politics that supplant the larger goal of civil equality. These folks, however, don't exactly have a plan on how to fix it.
6) The everyone else-is-a-black-and-white-thinker crowd: These folks are the shoot-first, think-later people who believe they alone are capable of nuanced thinking and are filled with political sophistication. Other people are incapable of this of course, and are stuck in one mode of thinking without consideration of shades of gray in an issue. The everyone else-is-a-black-and-white-thinker person already knows what you might have to say about an issue, even to the point of ignoring actual statements that don't fit their perceived mode. So this results in endless threads/tweets of irrelevant discussion.
Where do you fit in? You may straddle a couple, or change from moment to moment.
Hmmm. I've seen many local Pgh folks celebrating the *repeal* of DADT with no indication that they grasp exactly what the amendment language means. Others celebrate the small step of progress. No real local backlash thus far, at least not online.
Some of these dynamics play out with regard to the LGBT advocacy in Western PA. I think people are pretty comfortable acknowledging there are backroom politics at play; they just want to cultivate a sense of loyalty among those who don't have access and take some personal offense when they aren't believed about what happens behind those closed doors. I also think we have a lot of folks who “opt out” and that doesn't help.
This indicates that part of the system that is broken is the LGBT advocacy system itself. There's a lot of power concentrated in a few hands with little opportunity for participation or dissent. Long gone are the days when someone took the (open) mike at Pridefest to challenge the status quo or the powers that be.
Still, there is something to be said for engaging people in terms of outreach to their elected officials, so I'm sort of straddling the idea that people need to engage within the system AND create more transparency to connect with people who are disengaged. How that gels given an emerging LGBT political power base that mimics the old-school SW Pennsylvania Jurassic political system … anybody's guess.
Getting back to DADT, this is progress, but progress that we need to keep in perspective. John Aravois from AMERICAblog has this to say.
If I thought this compromise were the end of the world, I'd say so. I'm not happy with the compromise, to be sure, and I'm not happy that the President chose half a loaf instead of just lifting the ban now and being done with it. But I do see a path forward under this compromise. And I see no chance whatsoever if we reject it.
That is why I say that, on balance, this compromise does more good than bad, and is certainly better than the alternative – doing nothing.