We deserve better than Barney Frank

I have used this blog previously to both criticize and defend Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA). On the one hand, Congressman Frank is a gay hero; he was the first to serve openly in Congress and he is a pioneer in so many other ways for our community. On the other hand, at times he can be a bitter old queen, content with the status quo and hell bent on having things go only his way.

Rep. Frank is not supporting this weekend’s National Equality March. Yesterday he went so far as to call the march “useless.” To add injury to that insult, Frank said he will spend this weekend in California fundraising while we are marching for equality on the National Mall.

To be fair, there has been a considerable amount of back and forth as to whether this march will have any effect on policy. From the very beginning some activists have said that we should lobby our local officials as opposed to marching in Washington while the Congress will be out of town. A reasonable person could argue that the march, in and of itself, is not enough to bring about change. But to call the march “useless,” is short-sighted and it’s beneath someone with the stature of Barney Frank. If you can’t be supportive of the march, then just shut up! There is no need to publicly speak ill of it.

The Obama administration and this Congress is moving too slowly on our priorities. As of this blog entry, there is still no ENDA. No repeal of DOMA. No repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” No hate crimes protection. No marriage equality.

And it was Barney Frank himself, with the help of HRC, who tried to exclude transgender people from the 2007 effort to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Fortunately, that effort failed.

It is never useless for Americans to petition their government for a redress of grievances. In fact, there is nothing more American than that. It is not useless for human beings to demand to be treated with dignity and equal rights!

Barney Frank should be ashamed of himself.

While it’s never useless for people to fight to be free, it’s entirely useless to have leaders who lack vision. It’s entirely useless to have an openly gay Congressman stomping on the spirit of activists who don’t have the privilege or luxury to spend a weekend leisurely fundraising in California! And most of all, it’s absolutely useless to have a Democratic president and Democratic Congress pay us nothing but lip-service instead of delivering change.

Though Barney Frank isn’t useless, he is a deep disappointment. Our community deserves better from its leaders. Barney Frank may not be ashamed of himself, but I’m sure as hell ashamed of him.

4 Comments

  1. I can understand his point… it is the old saying "if a tree falls in the woods and no one can hear it does it still make a noise?" the efforts attain our rights need to be more concentrated on the battle grounds were we stand to loose rather than a general statement.

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  2. That makes no sense! If the president, who is straight, can find time to speak to us on the eve of the march, then certainly the first openly gay man to serve in Congress can! Barney Frank is entitled to his opinion, however ridiculous it is, but to call the efforts of activists "useless" is a slap in the face to people who are working VERY HARD to turn Obama's promises into reality.

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  3. Perhaps I'm in the dark and need some clarification… You promoted and supported "Bruno", a straight comedian you has made a career out of perpetuating the negative gay stereotype, yet when a gay man who has dedicated himself to making huge strides for our rights makes one critique on the effectiveness the march's strategy you immediately scorn him?and Obama… he is simply making a pat on the head/"good dog" speech to put out political fires and placate HRC… we have yet to see any action on his part.so I guess where I'm confused is that i know you are upset with Barny Frank, but i cannot understand how or why or what the fundamentals are that make you are mad?!?!——————–BTW… i have been on record before and will so again.. i think HRC is the least effective use of money and manpower to attain our rights. They throw great parties and have a beautiful, building in DC but in the mean time people are dying and other are loosing rights…

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  4. At least we both agree about HRC.And not to rehash "Bruno," but it is a film. A parody. A part of what makes it funny is that it deals with stereotypes in a funny way. It is ridiculous to demand that only gay people be allowed to make fun of gay people. "Bruno" was a chance to laugh at ourselves. And I don't see what's wrong with that.Unlike Sacha Baron Cohen, who is a comedian, Barney Frank is an openly gay Congressman, who should not discourage Americans from protesting for equal rights. After attending the march myself, I can tell you that it was far from "useless" to see young queers from all over the country demand equal rights. In fact, it was very inspiring. Just like HRC, Barney Frank's incremental approach to equality is unacceptable. We demand our rights NOW! Not when it is politically advantageous for Barack Obama. As a pioneer in this movement, Barney Frank was wrong to tell people not to fight for equality. And when you couple that with his failure to deliver substantive change, it's clear that we deserve better.

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