07/26/10-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
There is a growing feeling across the net that Senator Harry Reid turned the tables on Dan Choi with the recent decision by Choi to hand his West Point graduation ring to the Senate Majority Leader. In fact, there is some growing feeling across the net that Choi and his actions on behalf of Get Equal, or with Get Equal may be counter productive.
“I happened to be standing right next to Robin McGehee on March 18 in D.C. when she (on behalf of GetEQUAL) threatened to disrupt HRC’s Kathy Griffin/DADT repeal rally unless they let Dan Choi speak. Since boorishness, attacks on our friends, and hijacking other groups’ events are not my idea of effective activism, and since it would be insanely harmful to our cause to help Reid’s nutbag opponent get elected, and since the lovely Mr. Choi has shown more drama than judgment, I’d say the attempted zap worked out surprisingly well — at least for the candidate I want to see elected. GetEQUAL may find the prospect of a Senator Sharron Angle and a Majority Leader Mitch McConnell somehow liberating, but I do not.”
Rick Rosendall includes some interesting comments from Steve Friess about the attempt by Choi to embarrass Reid.
So how did an effort to embarrass Reid turn into something of an emotional triumph for him? . . .Choi’s protest at Netroots on Saturday? Not so much. It was nuanced and complex, it was so easily misinterpreted that even the person Choi wanted to embarrass didn’t get it. And in the end, the media got this warm moment of Reid and Choi embracing, and the idea of boiling into a soundbite everything I’ve written here was absolutely impossible. Mission failed.
“But McCarter got choked up and didn’t make a point of the fact that the letters she was handing him included not just the discharge papers but also those from Reid to Choi that contained broken promises. And Reid also misunderstood the point of his receiving the ring — he became emotional about it because he thought it was a gift, a symbolic gesture to embolden Reid to get the DADT job done. It was actually supposed to be the equivalent of a divorcee giving her wedding ring back to her husband, see. . .But in a way, Saturday was a useful lesson in the art of protest. These didn’t work. At first I blamed the media, but when I realized I was about the only one in the MSM who got it right, it dawned on me that it wasn’t my colleagues’ faults. Had I not been forewarned by sources of what was about to take place and why, I probably would have interpreted it very similarly.”
Rosendall includes some more comments from Michael Petrelis:
Was GE even thinking that reid’s people might have planned for a zap or action of some sort during his NN (Netroots Nation) speech? um, after GE [GetEQUAL] zapped the traffic on the strip and cited reid’s name, just maybe his staff was prepared and GE wasn’t, again? . . Mission failed are the words i have associated with kip and robin, when they were in one struggle, one fight and meed in the middle, and didn’t keep promises made about CA organizing, and the same words i associate with them and dan choi and the other GE members who put on the DC march in october and failed to deliver a national network in 435 congressional districts, and the same words i associate with their inability to stage a single public meeting of their own to explain whatever their agenda is, get a decent and interactive web site operating, present a plan to the community. lurching from zap to zap and spending jonathan lewis’ money generating small news quick to fade, ain’t a plan.
GE has sucked all the activist oxygen out of the movement and they have little support, or community engagement, or measureable successes to tout.
What happend in vegas by the gays for NN will stay in vegas and have little impact on moving the gay agenda forward. harry reid ain’t gonna do a damn thing for us because he was gifted a ring from a drama queen.”
I have, upon numerous occasions, called what Choi did a beau geste. It is a grand, but ultimately hollow gesture which does not have any solid meaning or strong message to pass along. It is entirely symbolic and worthless. Unfortunately, Choi has a habit of doing these kinds of gestures which, ultimately, are self defeating. Whether or not Senate Majority Leader Reid actually promised to get Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repealed is immaterial. This particular gesture makes it so that it appears that Reid has made that pledge. Getting it through Congress is pretty much a done deal anyway. The real problem will be getting the seal of approval from Admiral Mike Mullen, Secretary Gates and President Obama.
There are thousands of soldiers who have, very quietly and off the record, expressed their contempt and hatred for Dan Choi. Not for his coming out, but for his grandstanding while in uniform. They have expressed their disgust at him for wearing his uniform to protests. Many veterans feel that being seen getting arrested in uniform was disgraceful and a dishonor to his uniform.
Dan Choi is, apparently, going to be on the Daily Show on Monday night, but the hype out of his camp has made it sound as if he was going to be Jon Stewart’s guest and not a man being brought in to be interviewed by one of the correspondents. Choi is, undoubtably, going to be mocked and made fun of by the correspondent.
There are more voices wondering just how effective Choi and Get Equal are going to be or are being. Many are starting to question the effectiveness of their tactics coupled with a lack of strategy and their assaults on allies to the cause.