by Chris Barnett
Wow. I signed in to Change.org this AM to look at how our last petition is doing. 362 signatures! Looking at the campaign over time, while we always set a target of 500 signatures, it has rarely if ever made it that high. In fact we often don't make it to 200. I've been trying my best to promote in the ways I know how, which I've written about: posting it to my Facebook page with some regularity, and also sending out an appeal to people I know personally, via an email group I set up in my address book contacts, to please sign on. Just last week, I was able to engage three different neighbors about this. Once I told them about it they allowed me to add them to my list. And when I went and spoke to students at Stanford University a couple of weeks ago, I sent the group leaders the link—and they’ve passed on to their members. Clearly, trying to engage people we know to participate helps make a difference, as seen with this uptick in signers.
Like so many of us involved with Out4Immigration, I am deeply disappointed about the lack of leadership we've seen on this and so many important issues. We all knew we were in for some disappointment from the get-go, but to see the populist tidal wave of support the President and Congress rode in on 2 years ago wash out into widespread disillusionment has been deeply difficult to watch. I know many people are bitter and disheartened that our chance at CIR, let alone a stand-alone vote on UAFA, relies in the short term on a very narrow window, before the new Congress comes in. But I implore everyone to do what you can to continue to sign on to the campaign, now and as long as we need to. And more importantly, to get people from your own community, your own day to day life, your friends and your families and your colleagues, to help support this by committing to signing on too.
While the results of the last election were difficult to see, one silver lining for me lies in the fact that the Dem wins of '08 rested in a very broad definition for the party, so that we had a fractious mix of conservative people in the same party as very progressive ones. Many of those conservative seats were lost in this recent election, and now the Republican House has a party that is a broadly defined. And as we mention in the petition, very few people who support the UAFA lost. Now, the Republicans have their own mixed set in the House, and I am hopeful that there will be a great deal of dissonance in that party, that between its lack of consensus and ideas to offer the country it will be compromised by intra-party infighting.
I will continue to maintain that it is smart for politicians to support our families, and equality in general. And while it is unfortunate that we have not had enough champions, of the LGBT related bills out there in this passing Congress, I am not certain that this Congress will look anything like what we saw under Bush, where lockstep was the byword, and that UAFA is not dead in the water. So I implore everyone here to do what you can. My intention is that we get to the point where legislators are hearing from a couple thousand of us every week, rather than just 150 or so. I take the current count leaning toward 400 has a positive sign of making good on that intention. Please do what you can to reach out and get people to participate, and help this effort along. This is a community issue and while it is very important to all of us in our personal lives, if you love America and the ideals of liberty and justice for all, we have to promote this bill. If the society continues to allow itself to treat its Queer sons and daughters the way we and our loved ones are treated, than it cannot live up to those ideals.
We have been asking for a long time to be taken seriously, even while we pay steep prices for loving someone, and wanting to be loved. We now need to make a greater effort to bring our wider communities on board with us. If you know students who participate in gay-straight alliance groups or the like, that would be a great place to look for help. But also emailing the link to the petition to a handful of people every week, or promoting via social networking sites, can make a big difference too. Let's recommit to getting the word out there that Americans should not have to apply for asylum to other countries because of who they love, and build the support we need to really put pressure on Congress to get moving on issues of equality--starting with the UAFA.
Just in case you don’t have it handy, here’s the latest petition link.
Please share it along. I’ll be posting week 82 on the weekend and will forward that one as well. Keep the faith, folks! We belong!