I’ve been practicing the fine art of bitchitude offline…
Yesterday, an activist interrupted a speech by Michelle Obama to demand an executive order from President Obama granting civil rights and protections to LGBT people. I support those who stand up and speak truth to power, even when folk take that stand in locations the powerful feel are activist free.
Let’s back up and review what happened.
Michelle Obama was giving a speech. An activist stood up and shouted out the demand for an executive order. According to witnesses, Michelle Obama stopped her speech, said, "One of the things that I don't do well is this," and approached the activist. Michelle Obama then inviting the activist to "listen to me, or you can take the mic, but I'm leaving. You all decide. You have one choice." The crowd said they wanted FLOTUS to continue her speech…the activist was escorted from the event.
As I said, I support folk who speak truth to power.
The problem here is that FLOTUS doesn’t have the power to issue an executive anything.
Now the donors in the room certainly have power…but I’ll get back to that in a bit.
So, the activist that was escorted from the event responded with…
"Basically, I was asked by the first lady to be quiet, and I can't be quiet any longer. ... I was surprised by how negative the crowd seemed to be. It was actually a little unsettling and disturbing."
"She obviously thought she was going to make an example of me or something. I wasn't scared at all."
I have the feeling that if Michelle Obama wants to tell someone to be quiet…she tells that person to be quiet.
In this case, she didn’t tell the activist to be quiet. She made it clear she wasn’t going to try to talk over someone…acknowledged the activist by approaching her…and even offered to mic to said activist. If anyone told the activist to be quiet it was the crowd in attendance to hear Michelle Obama speak.
That same crowd that was full of donors…yeah, I’ll get to that soon.
As for the activist’s “surprise” over how the crowd reacted, I call bullshit.
What exactly did she expect? And I’m being serious here. I’ve interrupted my fair share of events…to speak to folk who are hard to get access to and who actually have the power to do the shit I was demanding…and I can tell you that my ass expected all kinds of reactions and wasn’t surprised by any of them when I did that shit. This was a DNC fundraiser of some sort and you’d have to be one hell of a naïve activist to expect that crew to stand up and cheer you on when you interrupt Michelle Obama.
For the record, I too want to see an inclusive ENDA passed. Hell, I even like the idea of an executive order…Lawd knows the House isn’t going to pass ENDA unless we can make the case that LGBT people are actually a firearm.
Okay, tis time to get to that shit about the donors in the room!
Given the Democratic Party’s lack of energy for ENDA, both in grooming candidates and educating the electorate, methinks the activist should have stood up and turned toward the audience and told those folk to pressure the administration to grant an executive order…or at least said something to them about ensuring that their donations go toward supporting folk who will get ENDA passed.
Because money still talks…and if the money in that room qualified for a speech by Michelle Obama then the money in that room probably has the power to make shit happen.
The last time I checked, political activism is about moving toward the prize.
Otherwise tis just poorly staged and badly acted theatre.
That brings me back to what the action was supposed to accomplish and we can evaluate that through how it is being covered.
If the activist was trying to talk to Michelle Obama, that shit didn't work out well.
If the activist was talking to motivate the crowd to support an executive order, that shit didn't work either.
Are people talking about ENDA and why we need it?
Or are folk talking about how Michelle Obama reacted to a public display of a lack of home training?