A random polling of Progressive and Democrat attendees at this years Netroots Nation in Providence, Rhode Island uncovered some shocking statistics as 8 out of 10 of those polled could not answer the simple question “What Is ENDA?”
The (unscientific) poll taken by this site BackStonewall.com randomly asked this question to a random sampling of attendees over the four days of Netroots Nation and a mind boggling 80 percent of them did did not know what ENDA (The Employment Non-Discrimination Act) was. Even more shocking was the fact that many were under the belief that LGBT employment discrimination protections were already in place under the 1964 Civil Rights Act and all were unaware and disgusted when they learned that ENDA has been stalled in Congress for over 20 years and LGBT Americans can still be fired for simply being who they are.
Now this is disheartening news to say the least. Especially since this question was asked to a group of actively involved political progressive and democrats.
So the question needs to be asked: “Why didn’t such a large percentage of Netroots Nation attendees know what ENDA is?
A few people I’ve talked with about the results blame the acronyms and names of the LGBT bills that we put forward for lack of recognition. I could actually agree with that if not for the fact that we’ve had over 20 years to get use to the acronym ENDA.
My answer is much simpler. We have a huge problem informing the “general population” of our issues because we have become very myopic on the issues that we do push.
Our biggest issue is not same sex marriage as some may lead you to believe. Same sex marriage is not the do all, and end all of LGBT equality issues. We lay other, more important issues to the wayside as if we cannot concentrate on more than one issue at one time. What are we Congress?
Same sex marriage while important only benefits those who some day would like to get married where in LGBT employment discrimination effects everyone in our community.
Secondly I can almost a guarantee you that at least 9o percent of the traffic of Back2Stonewall.com is of an LGB make up, as it most probably is any of the popular blogs, LGBT new sites, papers, magazines and even Sirus XM’s Michelangelo Signorile’s radio show. Which is one of our biggest problems. We literally preach to the choir. We know what ENDA is.
And while many of our major LGBT organizations do try to get our issues coverage on the national news outlets. CNN, MSNBC, etc. Lets face it, these news outlets are almost like fast food joints. It comes down to a sound-byte which is not very filling and has little to no detailed information of the issue at hand. And the networks are really only interested if they can counterpoint it with anti-gay hate group leaders who spread hateful lies and propaganda that the networks don’t even bother to fact check.
We must all start spreading the word outside of our community and to news sources that people seek out because they are interested issues. AlterNet, TruthOut, The Political Carnival, and progressive radio shows such as The Stephanie Miller Show and The Progressive to name a few. Outlets that reach out further than LGBT audience to those who seek out and want to learn about political issues and who will truly embrace us and help us if we inform and educate them.
While we preach to ourselves, and pass up these opportunities to inform and educate others in independent venues that are far more accessible to us than the major news outlets our enemies aren’t missing a beat promoting their hate, lies and propaganda in any venue possible.
Case in point the Southern Law Poverty Centers certified hate group the Family Research Council and its latest anti -LGBT propaganda video against ENDA recently posted on YouTube.