When I first became aware of the National Equality March (Washington DC, Sunday October 11) back in July, the event was being advertised not only as a march on Washington, DC but also as an effort for getting people organized locally in their own states and congressional districts. The sign-up page to RSVP as someone coming to Washington, DC for the march explicitly asked people to indicate whether they’d like to become part of an effort to organize locally, in congressional districts, to bring about change from the bottom up.
I live in one of the two congressional districts in the state of Maine, where there will be a vote on whether or not to cancel the new law legalizing same-sex marriage. If there were to be any local activist organizing by the folks behind the National Equality March, it would be happening here. But I’ve not received one phone call from the National Equality March, not one letter, not one e-mail telling me how I can get involved in the NO on 1 effort or in any congressional-district-level activist effort. I’ve not even gotten any communication from the National Equality March asking if I’d help to organize such an effort.
Beyond my experience, there’s no indication of any effort by the National Equality March to follow up on its early promise to organize in congressional districts. To the contrary, NEM organizer Cleve Jones has gone on the record declaring that he is “tired of fighting state by state, county by county, city by city”.
What is the National Equality March doing instead of organizing people in its congressional districts like it said it would? It’s sending out e-mails asking me to participate like this:
We need your help choosing a speaker and a song for our rally on October 11! After reviewing a lot of incredible submissions for our Equality Idol speaker contest and our Equality Song performer contest, our judges have narrowed it down to four songs and five speakers.
Voting is easy. Just check these links on YouTube, and rate the song and the speaker you like the most. You can also send a text message with the name of your favorite speaker or singer to 37686. When the contest ends, the song and speaker with the most text votes and positive feedback on Facebook and YouTube will be invited to take the stage in DC. The deadline for voting is October 1 by 5 p.m. PST/8 p.m. EST.
A cheap American Idol knockoff? My favorite song? What a lame replacement for the actual congressional district-level organizing that was promised.
I’ll still be there in Washington, DC for the march, but I feel rather underwhelmed.