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Jennifer Bendery's original research and activism should be much appreciated by the GLBT communities which she ponders with Fired, Harassed LGBT Workers Wonder Why Obama Won't 'Stick His Neck Out' On ENDA.

Bendery opens her article noting President Obama "big splash" with "two executive orders relating to equal pay for woman," then asking why he is not using his equivalent power to ban "workplace discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people?"

The White House argument has been the same for months. Congress needs to take the lead on the issue, not the president, because legislation would go much further, officials say. If Congress passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, it would make it illegal nationwide to fire or harass someone at work for being LGBT. In contrast, if Obama were to sign an executive order, it would only apply to federal contractors.

But that rationale doesn't hold much weight considering Obama keeps taking action on matters he insists Congress needs to deal with on a broader level. In addition to Tuesday's executive orders on fair pay, an issue he's urging Congress to act on, Obama unilaterally raised the minimum wage for federal contractors in February, even as he continued pressing Congress to pass more comprehensive legislation. In June 2012, he used his executive authority to prevent Dream Act-eligible students from being deported, despite his ongoing push for immigration reform legislation.

ENDA legislation has come to a complete standstill in Congress. Jennifer Bendery tells us that John Boehner say there "no way" he'll bring up ENDA this year. So the only way it will happen is if President Obama uses his executive power to order it for federal employees and federal contractors.

Bendery regales readers with numerous poignant personal anecdotes of GLBT workers who have suffered from employment discrimination. Trying to summarize them here would not be as effective as encouraging you to read this worthwhile article. If you have any doubt about whether you support ENDA this article will end it.

The quotes of a few GLBT activists lamenting President Obama's lack of action so far might provide us with some food for thought and discussion.


"Not even Obama cares enough to stick his neck out there. That sends a message to the rest of the country that, 'This is not important,'" Rowell said. "I think an ENDA executive order from the president can help change attitudes over time."

"This type of discrimination is real," Trigger said. "The president has a chance to bypass the stalling and game playing with the stroke of a pen. Millions of Americans can immediately be protected from workplace discrimination."

Jennifer Bendery informs us that if President Obama were to sign an executive order on  ENDA he could not only protect 16 million federal contractors but also send a symbolic message to the rest of the country that this issue is important and help change attitudes.  

President Obama has the White House for three more years. We can be certain we have the Senate for eight more months. We ought to be pulling all the stops and accomplishing every possible progressive change we are capable of.

Just perhaps, we can get our base and other American fired up enough about what Democrats can do in Washington that we can get them to come out and vote in November. Now is not the time to play, "let's try to appease the Republican to see if we can win them over." We are not going to do it.

If we try to make a lot of speeches about what we could do in 2014 and 2016 if voters just give another chance, but we've left "big money on the table," why should the believe us?

How much commitment to equality would we like to make? Let's go for 100%

Actions speak louder than words.

Mr. President please sign this ENDA legislation and demand the Congress pass it for the whole nation. Then we can go into the November election with our base once again "fired up and ready to go! Women, the LGBT, Minorities, Unions, working people, people who have health issues, children, parents, people on Medicare, Medicaid, .... well the President gives this speech much better than I do.

Let's do it. Go Mir. President! Sign this ENDA Executive Powers Act for federal contractors.

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Comment Preferences

  •  this president (5+ / 0-)

    seems to think that sticking his neck out is the wrong thing to do, even when he wants us to push him in the correct direction.
    How do you push a wet noodle?

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:44:53 PM PDT

    •  Well he has done a lot. I suspect he will act on (4+ / 0-)

      this fairly soon. The political logic seem compelling.

      I hesitated to post this thinking some might be upset after making so much progress in other areas. Jennifer Bendery writes a persuasive case, and the timing with the "equal pay for equal work" executive powers signing, as well as highly favorable poll all seem to auger well for another major step forward.

      Really, what does President Obama have to lose?

      I suppose there is a risk/benefit trade-off in Congressional districts, and Senate seats in purple states the Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi would be in a better position to make that call. But, that is their job.

      Our job here as activists and progressives is to call for progress and full equality for everyone. And for the Democratic Party and America to do the right thing.

      So, I figured lets make the call and our Party leaders can ignore us if they like.

      But, at least we do the right thing.

      "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

      by HoundDog on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:57:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Looks to me like (8+ / 0-)

    HoundDog and tmservo433 are in a competitive Daily Kos productivity contest trying to out-do each other with highly informative and exemplary workproduct posted at DK in abundance.

    •  I keep wondering whether HoundDog (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog, LakeSuperior

      has found a way to do without sleep altogether!

    •  Thanks you LakeSuperior, for you kind words. Don't (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LakeSuperior, kfunk937

      forget ericlewis0. He was third on the list of this last weeks Total Weekly Author Impact. Kos was number 1, I think MB was 2, and I was 4.

      My sleep cycle did get off the last four days. Night before last I only go 2 hours which is a terrible thing for me to do. It wasn't on purpose.

      I have to watch as my longer-term productivity goes way down, and I become excessively emotional, more self-centered than usual, sometimes depressed, and my short-term memory sometimes blanks out important things without me even realizing it.

      I need a minimum of six hours and prefer 8 a night. My doctors want it to be exactly in cycle as hey think I've "fractured my circadian rhythms.

      I've been on a rigorous diet for 6 weeks and lost 10 pounds. The new trick I've learned is by staying completely engaged in reading and writing posts, and comments, I can block out thoughts of food.

      why didn't I think of his before?  

      "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

      by HoundDog on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 09:44:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You said: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        I have to watch as my longer-term productivity goes way down, and I become excessively emotional, more self-centered than usual, sometimes depressed, and my short-term memory sometimes blanks out important things without me even realizing it.
        I think you're handling this admirably as the solution to all of the problems you mention is an outer-directed approach focused on explaining thing you understand and care about...something you are meticulously practicing.
  •  I'm pretty sure I've made this comment before (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ontheleftcoast, jgilhousen, HoundDog

    The caution is about the 2014 election, and the President doesn't want to give the Republicans ANYTHING he and his staff think is controversial to run on. He wants the election to be about the ACA and this is a distraction.

    If that's the reason I'll cut him a teeny bit of slack on this with the caveat that if he doesn't sign the order the day after the election I'll be outside the White House with some chains and a padlock shortly after.

    Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall

    by Dave in Northridge on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:59:11 PM PDT

  •  Come on Mr. President (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I've had employers tell me they hired me to teach them how to perform cunninlingus. Why don't I have protection from that?

  •   (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I do support the LGBT cause.  But, I would like to make a point. Any President, Republican or Democrat, has a great many things on his plate.  Consider the situation in the Ukraine for example.  

    We seem to be in a time that factions. left and right are never content with the progress being made.  I would suggest stepping back and looking at the big picture.  You know like Climate Change, fracking, civil rights, women's issues, health care, etc, etc.  

    We sometimes seem to be a nation of ingrates, no mater what is done, it is never enough.   I would suggest a bit more patience. less carping and more appreciation of a job well done.    

  •  Get Biden to speak first to clear a path for Obama (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PJEvans, HoundDog

    That is how Pres Obama switched from anti same sex marriage to pro two years ago.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 08:36:19 PM PDT

    •  Really, you mean like China? (0+ / 0-)

      "The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child."  

      How did that work out for China?

      •  I find China's forced one child policy abhorrent. (0+ / 0-)

        I think this should entirely be a personal choice without incentives or penalties by government for any particular number of children.  At the same time, there should be secure retirement for adults, so people are not dependent upon having children for economic security in old age.

        People can be informed about the issue, just as they are on most other environmental issues.

        It will be very hard to have a reasonable environment a century from now without human population going to zero.

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 09:06:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Missing important word in my last sentence (0+ / 0-)

          which should be

          It will be very hard to have a reasonable environment a century from now without human population growth going to zero.

          The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

          by nextstep on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 09:09:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The insult to the natural environment isn't the (0+ / 0-)

            result of use by however many humans are on the planet, it is and always has been the result of abuse (destruction, poisoning and waste) by the vandals. We can also identify them as the ex-men because they:


            The ex-men are a throw-back population. Instead of caring and sharing and taking turns in a reciprocating society, they behave like predators, counting on the scavengers to clean up after them. The predatory mode is OK, even when practiced by humans, except when it is combined with industrial innovation which generates more and more deadly waste than the environment is prepared to handle. One man's waste is another man's treasure, as long as its biological. Chemical wastes are for the most part deadly all around unless they are disaggregated into their constituent parts.
            What man hath put together, he needs must take apart.


            by hannah on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 10:07:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  In the immediate term, which is more important: (0+ / 0-)

    getting the country focused on the perfidious Congress and determined to make a change in November or relieving a minor segment of the population of inequities sooner rather than later?

    Also, it's quite possible that we all still need to get clear on the philosophical basis for the federation to regulate/mandate how and by whom and under what circumstances our currency is used. You see, there is much confusion about where dollars come from. Indeed, the myth about where dollars come from seems to have replaced the one about the storch. Fact is that, just as babies come from intercourse, dollars come from Congress. The Treasury issues dollars at the behest of Congress, which is tasked with managing the currency right along with other weights and measures in Article Two of the Constitution. Thus, while it is true that all dollars are belong to us, U.S. citizens and we guarantee their credibility as instruments of debt, the tangible manifestation of the currency -- i.e. dollars and cents -- are distributed by Congress.
    Ergo, since our representatives in congress issue the currency, they have a duty and obligation to establish standards for their use. Conversely, anyone who doesn't want to comply with those standards, can simply avoid those standards by not using the currency -- as happens in any household that's not a democracy.
    One of the necessary elements of a currency is that it circulate freely throughout the economy. Hoarding and rationing and sequestration are inimical to that requirement. Which is why our system of taxation should be such as to insure the rapid return of dollars to the Treasury for accounting and redistribution. And which is why a Congress which has been rationing for its own greedy purposes can be and should be exposed for their dereliction and sent packing in November.
    The question is will a band aid for the LGBT community facilitate that? If the President manages to over-ride the obstructive Congress what incentive will there be to reform Congress? How can we best rein in a group of people that have got into the habit of biting the hand that feeds them?

    by hannah on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 10:28:10 PM PDT

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