Jay Lassiter vs. the NJEA: A behind-the-scenes assessment

(I’m biased.  What’s your take? – promoted by Jay Lassiter)

In his critical post on the NJEA below, Jay Lassiter wrote one of Blue Jersey’s more provocative diaries, to be sure.  Yes, it was burning hot, but that’s our Jay.  We love him for being bold and blunt when we agree with him, don’t we?  Thus I can’t see the consistency in being offended by his same style when we disagree with him.  As a wise public servant once told me, the difference between being inflammatory and courageous isn’t really style at all.  It’s whether you agree with the speaker.

And it just so happens, I agree with Jay.  

Follow me below the fold to find out why.

You have no idea how distressed I am about having less than affirming feelings toward any union. I passionately believe in the labor movement.  I passionately believe in New Jersey’s unions.  I think the world of other teachers’ unions, such as the AFT and UFT, and also of the National Educational Association in Washington.

And I am proud that Garden State Equality puts its time and money where our unshakably pro-labor sentiment lay.  We consistently do phone banks and

turnout operations for labor rallies in Trenton, for instance.  We not only believe in labor’s cause, but we also believe it is vital to give back to those who give to us.

Jay’s diary represented, to me, one of the hallmarks that makes Blue Jersey so compelling.  Since its founding by Juan Melli and currently under Rosi Efthim, Blue Jersey has never been a community that knee-jerk rallies around an institution just for the sake of it.  

When the Democratic Party is wrong, Blue Jersey says it.  When a Democratic politician is intellectually corrupt or truly corrupt, Blue Jersey doesn’t hide behind a party label.  And when organizations in the progressive fold make mistakes, Blue Jersey calls them

out.

That mixture of progressivism and iconoclasty, I gather, is why we all love Blue Jersey so very much.  Look, I can’t kid myself:  Garden State Equality and I have received wonderful ink here over the years, and we are grateful. But when we’ve screwed up, you’ve told us, and you were correct to do so. Of course it hurt – very badly – but so be it.  The Blue Jersey community calls it like it sees it, and the NJEA should not be exempt.  Those in the public arena, which includes all of us advocates and activists, know that public criticism comes with public action.

Allow me, then, to tell you about the denouement to a previous post of mine about the NJEA.  You may remember my post of last year in which I took the NJEA to task for not endorsing marriage equality, unlike its sister teachers’ unions in other marriage-equality battleground states. I described my shock when a high-ranking NJEA leader introduced me at a party to her life partner of the same gender, some days after this same NJEA leader told me she didn’t want the organization to touch marriage equality because it was too hot an issue.  I cannot begin to tell you how much the juxtaposition of those days hurt so deeply.

I’ll give this NJEA leader credit, though.  She told me the truth, unlike the stories of NJEA staff who cited technical internal procedures and asked, oxymoronically, why we didn’t remain grateful that the NJEA had endorsed and worked for domestic partnerships in 2004. A subtext there is tha the NJEA absolutely does get involved in issues outside the scope of traditional teacher issues when it wants to, and it made the decision that essential human equality was not worth it.

If we can be angry at John Girgenti for making that decision, we can be angry at the NJEA, too.

My post on Blue Jersey in which I had told that story had come in a chain I hadn’t even begun, in which a number of us were critical of the NJEA.  Now flash forward months later.  At a meeting with a senior legislative staffer on the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights last fall, an NJEA representative and myself, the NJEA’s rep pulled out a printout of the Blue Jersey thread that took the NJEA to task. I saw it. Names of critics in the thread were highlighted, as if the NJEA was going to go after each. And go after me the NJEA rep did.  At this meeting, the rep said, “If you expect the NJEA to work in coalition with you, you cannot write things like this again.”

The senior legislative staffer – who happens to be a friend of mine – was as stunned as I was.

The NJEA rep then spoke about the organization’s overriding concern:  “We want to make sure this bill doesn’t bully teachers.”  That was the sound bite over and over again.

We all understand the NJEA’s purpose:  It is an advocacy organization for teachers.  And how terrific it is an advocacy organization for teachers, whom we love.  But in private conversations, unlike the public testimony, rarely did I hear anything about students.

To be sure, the NJEA publicly supported the bill and testified on its behalf; apparently it believed its image could not withstand opposing the bill in light of the Tyler Clementi tragedy. But behind the scenes, the NJEA was a de facto opponent, circulating proposals to gut the bill significantly.  The proposals went way beyond tweaks here or there that organizations could credibly suggest and still calls themselves supporters.

Among the NJEA’s bill-gutting proposals:  Instead of requiring a school staff member to report an incident of bullying within a day – which how the bill was proposed and enacted, thank God – the suggestion was that a teacher or other school staffer should have three days to report a bullying incident after learning of it.

Three days to report an incident of bullying?  That’s worse than what most schools have done for years.  That’s going backwards.  Such a policy could have proven deeply dangerous to bullied students.  Similarly, the NJEA wanted to gut the provision that grades schools on how well they’re countering bullying of students.  Frankly, the NJEA’s ire seemed aroused by anything that would increase accountability.

I fully expect to be called on the carpet again by the NJEA, which clearly monitors Blue Jersey and is not beyond making threats to posts it doesn’t like.  But last I saw, the rest of us won our battle to enact an Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights free of the NJEA’s bill-weakening proposals. And you don’t have to spend much time in Trenton to see that many legislators of both parties no longer jump the second the NJEA yells jump.

Five years ago, that wasn’t the case.  It’s a new day.

Comments (35)

  1. princetonblue

    So NJEA doesn’t do exactly what you want and you want to throw them under the bus?  And in this political environment?  

    Years ago, when I first joined Blue Jersey, I had no interest in marriage equality.  One of the benefits I found in reading the posts here was that my awareness and concern for this (and other) issues increased.  I even became a marriage equality activist in my local community. Part of the reason was that I found your posts reasonable and concerned with how to work with others to advance the general progressive agenda.

    But both your post and Jay’s seem to have little substance backing up their attacks.  Did NJEA attack marriage equality?  Did they promote bullying?  Neither happened for it is the case that NJEA is not your enemy here.  

    Nevertheless in a climate in which teachers are under attack, you would join their tormentors because of a difference in opinion on a couple of policy issues.  Jay’s original post is even worse as it seems to be all about money to him (as he bluntly states).  I don’t see the difference between his argument and those of the Tea Party members trying to downsize government because it costs too much.  

    To top it all off, you’ve joined the “kids are dumb because of the teachers” bandwagon, and that is an argument with absolutely no validity.

    Do I like bold and brash?  Yes.  But I also like truth and rational reasoning.  I don’t like unsubstantiated attacks on fellow progressives.  That is not what BJ has ever been about nor should it be.

    Reply
  2. Jersey Jazzman

    Like a dysfunctional family, we don’t do ourselves any favors  by keeping this stuff under wraps. So thanks for bringing this issue out, Steve.

    Full disclosure: I’m an NJEA member. I think the NJEA was wrong in not supporting ME; they are doing a great disservice to their own GLBT members. That said:

    What bothers me most about your post is how easily you have assimilated the Christie spin into your own complaints about the NJEA. For example:

    – You say: “To be sure, the NJEA publicly supported the bill and testified on its behalf; apparently it believed its image could not withstand opposing the bill in light of the Tyler Clementi tragedy.” Christie-approved talking point: “The NJEA doesn’t really care about kids – they only pretend to care about them.”

    You’ve just supported Christie’s spin.

    – You say “Frankly, the NJEA’s ire seemed aroused by anything that would increase accountability.” Christie-approved talking point: “The NJEA is against merit pay because doesn’t want teachers to be held accountable.”

    You’ve just supported Christie’s spin.

    – You say: “We all understand the NJEA’s purpose:  It is an advocacy organization for teachers.  And how terrific it is an advocacy organization for teachers, whom we love.” Christie-approved talking point: “I love teachers; I don’t have a problem with teachers. I have a problem with their union.”

    You’ve just supported Christie’s spin.

    – You say: ” But in private conversations, unlike the public testimony, rarely did I hear anything about students.” Christie-approved talking point: “The NJEA secretly supports policies that put teachers ahead of students.”

    You’ve just supported Christie’s spin.

    – You say: “I fully expect to be called on the carpet again by the NJEA, which clearly monitors Blue Jersey and is not beyond making threats to posts it doesn’t like.” Christie-approved talking point: “They are the bullies of Broad St.”

    You’ve just supported Christie’s spin.

    – You say: “And you don’t have to spend much time in Trenton to see that many legislators of both parties no longer jump the second the NJEA yells jump. Five years ago, that wasn’t the case.  It’s a new day.” Christie-approved talking point: “I, Chris Christie, have changed the way things are done in Trenton for the better by standing up to the NJEA.”

    I can’t think of any message Chris Christie would want echoed more by progressives than this one.

    Steve, I have no problem with you calling out the NJEA on ME – I mean that. But using Chris Christie’s own rhetoric to do so is crossing the line. I do not recall NJEA ever doing the same (please correct me if I’m wrong).

    We should be airing our differences out like this – it makes us a stronger movement. But echoing Christie’s spin only makes HIM stronger. And both GSE and the NJEA can agree that this is the very last thing we can afford right now.

    One last thing: the one day/three day issue is, I believe, a legitimate one for NJEA to bring up. In all of the teacher training I’ve done on bullying, presenters have emphasized that bullying is, by definition, a PATTERN of abuse. One incident does not necessarily indicate bullying, and a teacher may have a legitimate reason to want to wait and gather more information before labeling it as such. And bullying is far more often verbal rather than physical abuse (in my experience), which makes defining it even more problematic.

    I’m no expert in this; I guess that’s the point. A teachers union has a legitimate right to address this.

    Reply
  3. NJEAwollmer

    Well, enough watching this movie from the audience.  It’s time for NJEA to weigh in, and lend some perspective here.  After 14 months of constant verbal assault by our governor, I couldn’t agree more with the Jazzman – this is the last place we need to read Christie spin.

    That said, we have some serious concerns with Mr. Goldstein’s depiction of our role in the anti-bullying legislation.   He suggests that NJEA only supported the legislation last fall because “it believed its image could not withstand opposing the bill in light of the Tyler Clementi tragedy.”  Let’s set the record straight.  NJEA supported anti-bullying legislation for one reason (don’t be shocked by this): it was the right thing to do.  To suggest otherwise is disingenuous, dishonest, and, frankly just another example of the scapegoating of teachers and their union that’s been permeating the public discourse for more than a year.

    Isn’t it possible to agree that anti-bullying laws should be strengthened while disagreeing as to the most effective way to do so?  Mr. Goldstein apparently believes that he and his unidentified “bullying experts” have a monopoly on how to prevent bullying in schools.  How else to explain why he feels comfortable dismissing suggestions about implementation from an organization that represents hundreds of thousands of people that spend their entire professional lives working with children in schools?   Believe it or not, NJEA members have been dealing with the problems related to bullying long before it became fashionable to discuss them.  Maybe our members have something worthwhile to add to this conversation; they certainly ought not to be demonized for attempting to make a well-intentioned bill more effective at addressing what we all agree is a serious situation.

    So let’s talk about NJEA’s so-called “bill-gutting proposals”:

    One of our proposed amendments would have expanded the bill by requiring all higher education institutions that receive state funding to comply with its provisions.  Since the Clementi tragedy occurred on a college campus, was this one of the “bill-gutting proposals” to which Mr. Goldstein refers?  (By the way, NJEA represents county college faculty as well, so this amendment, had it been accepted, would have expanded the bill to cover more of our own members.)

    NJEA also had the audacity to suggest that having certified specialists with appropriate knowledge, background and expertise is essential when dealing with bullying, intimidation and harassment.  Under the new law, if a principal does not have a school guidance counselor, school psychologist, or another similarly trained individual in the building, he or she can appoint any currently employed school personnel to be the “anti-bullying specialist.”  That could be anyone from the math teacher to the custodian. NJEA did not think that was a particularly good idea, so we raised a concern about it.

    Finally, was it really so outrageous for NJEA to have suggested that training be made available to all staff so that they are given the tools they need to effectively deal with this growing crisis?

    Mr. Goldstein also fails to acknowledge that it is not inconsistent for NJEA to want to protect both teachers AND students.   It is important to prevent bullying, but it is also important to ensure that a teacher is not punished just because one student bullies another.  If a teacher is at fault in some way, that is a different story.  For us, this legislation is not about finding a convenient scapegoat; it is about making schools safer and better learning environments for kids.  By the way, to suggest that we don’t care about students is an abominable distortion.  We expect comments like that from the governor, but not from fellow progressives.

    And to offer a post-mortem insisting that NJEA was an obstructionist on a bill that helps kids is, in a word, absurd.

     

    Reply
  4. 12mileseastofTrenton

    But the one in question:

    — only mentioned the dispute in passing.

    — called school children fat and stupid.

    — attacked the NJEA on education and workers’ rights issues.

    — was posted the day after Wisconsin stripped public employee’s of their rights.

    As I understand it, this is supposed to be a progressive site, not a Democratic Party site.  So, while attacks on Democrats are to be expected, attacks on unions, which have been the bullwark of progressivism for some 100 years, are not.

    Reply
  5. Got Kids

    Friends don’t let friends hurt children. The NJEA leadership is hurting our children and it is going to stop. You can posit Steve’s position as a litmus test on ME all you like. As a straight person I honestly did not read his or Jays post that way.

    However, that does nothing to take away from the peek he provided, but many of us already knew or suspected, were the inner workings of the NJEA leadership. Its duplicity, its slight of hand, its power (waning of late) or its proclivity for jingoism.

    I really would like to help the NJEA. I want to be an ally. I want to help lead a Million Mom’s and Dad’s in support of our schools and our teachers and in opposition to the scapegoating of public workers or the pandering to the most self generation. But the NJEA is not going to get that support until it recognizes there has to be structural changes in education and becomes an ally not an impediment. To be fair, some of these changes involve teachers and some do not.

    Until that time, I regret to inform you that the vast majority of parents are going to stand on the sidelines and watch Christie work his magic until we feel it’s appropriate to call time-out.

    Reply
  6. Bertin Lefkovic

    I think that most of us knew that the NJEA had leadership problems well before Jay felt the need to start bitching and moaning about them and Steven chose to air their dirty laundry in public.

    Is there a movement within the NJEA to replace its leaders that we should be supporting?  If not, I don’t see how this serves to do anything but blunt support for the NJEA and the teachers that it represents.

    If there is anything that I have learned about the progressive community is that it contains a limitless supply of highly intelligent people who have little to no understand of strategy and tactics?  Are there no chess geeks amongst us?

    All we do is make powerful arguments, advocating for our issues of concern, assuming that all that one needs to win in politics is a stronger argument.  If ght the failure to win marriage equality has taught us anything, it should have taught us that words will never be enough to win the day.

    Our words must have a purpose and a plan behind them or they are, to quote Hillary Clinton’s all-too-true assessment of Barack Obama, “just words”.  There might be a place and time in the future, when a battle for the heart and soul of the NJEA is being waged within the organization that a conversation like this could serve the purpose of rallying progressives behind one side against the other.

    However, here and now does not appear to be that place and time.  If anything, all this conversation seems to be is bitching and moaning for the sake of bitching and moaning and all that it seems to be doing is dividing progressives and making it harder for us to effectively help teachers and other public employee unions defend themselves against attacks from both our state’s Democratic Senate President and Republican Governor.

    Are we suddenly going to abandon Marie Corfield if she does not share our dissatisfaction with the union of which she is a member?  I hope not.

    Reply
  7. Babs NJSD

    I wish to state from the “get-go” that my late wife was a teacher who started teaching in the late 60’s in an inner city school with a class of over 40 children, one who picketed with the union, one who fought for the right of female teachers to wear trousers in the classroom.

    I am also a parent of 3 children who spent their K-12 years in public schools in NJ, and am now the grandparent of 2 who are already in public schools and have a pipeline for more.

    NJ, for its success, does and has had horrendous problems in education as a whole which I believe are exacerbated by the entire system …600 or so school boards for a population equivalent to NYC, so how many of those school boards are competent? How many of those superintendants with their big bucks and assistant superintendents are competent and necessary?

    I think Jay in his frustration as a tax-payer and as a lgbt and progressive activist was a bit ham-handed in giving the impression that the NJEA deserves all the fault for what ails us, but they do deserve their fair share of objective criticism and blame.

    Power corrupts and a unified entity against a gaggle of towns, districts, legislators seeking to pander breeds more power … they were enabled by the system which is “us”! Hey this a great reason for grassroots real activism!

    But I digress. I wish to keep my comments to the current discussion about the NJEA from the vantage point of a LGBT political activist (with perhaps an emphasis on the L and T) with a history of a straight married parent with a spouse who was a damned good teacher.

    As far as the comment that NJEA should be called NJ “Educators” Association, I think that is a fair comment… their primary function is to represent their members, the educators. Certainly a corollary to that would be as good an education for the students as possible, but dealing with the reality of costs and accountability that might not always be the case. Certainly dealing with incompetent or poor quality teachers can be a conflict of interest if they so choose.

    My first bit of political activism was in getting “gender identity/ expression” added to the original safer schools bill in 2002. School bullying (for one who was bullied and was a bully) was always a subject which had my interest and attention.

    In 2004, I was contacted by a counselor at an inner city pride center regarding a transgender high school student who it was alleged was being openly disrespected and bullied by her teacher and the school was non responsive to her plight. The local advocates seemed unable to do anything. That summer, at a major political event, I happened to be sitting next to the NJEA president. After normal pleasantries, I brought up the matter of the transgender student and her high school teacher and was met with a “shrug” of indifference  and a comment to the effect of “oh, a bad teacher!”

    To say I was furious was an understatement … as a business person if someone mentioned that they had a problem with one of my employees or with a product I sold, I’d at least want to know more, some intellectual curiosity … perhaps under the circumstances at the very LEAST  give my card and or give the name of a subordinate that would look into this person who was giving a blot on good teachers. No interest in showing any sensitivity or desire to educate the “educator” was evident.

    My actual legislative experience with them was in 2006. It came 5 minutes before the Senate Judiciary hearings on our Transequality bill, I found out the NJEA was offering a “friendly amendment” to a bill that was carefully written and had been vetted by an elite of LGBT attorneys and in place over a year (Including the transgender man who was the leading attorney in the successful California marriage equality case).

    I was furious at being completely blindsided by their arrogance, they never contacted anyone involved with the legislation and because of their “strength” the committee chair accepted the amendment.

    The amendment would in the opinion of national legal experts weaken the bill, and it took my own relationship with Senator Adler, numerous letters from national legal experts, and a NJEA lobbyist who had gone on vacation to come back, agree to back down, and we finally got the bill passed easily without any further NJEA interference.

    Fast forward to 2007 when the head of the Division of Civil Rights which was given the responsibility of enforcing the anti-bullying provisions of the Safer Schools law came to me to help close a loop hole to enforce the then current law. Naively, I thought the NJEA or its supporters might take the lead on helping schools be safer for students, but  well … that certainly wasn’t the case.

    Steven Goldstein and I were already collaborating to update, strengthen and add transgender protections in NJ’s bias crimes law and this was a great opportunity to add the necessary fix to the law. I must say that Steven, prophetically in his passion, jumped full ahead with Garden state Equality to address more fully a comprehensive bullying solution and the legislation created the Commission that begat the report that begat the current anti-bullying law that sets a standard for the nation. (I couldn’t help but getting a little biblical.)

    I’m not going to speak about the NJEA and marriage equality in NJ as much has already been stated from a closer perspective than I have about specifics. But as a Board member of a National LGBT organization that deals with and partners with national unions of all kinds, there seems to be a disconnect with the NJEA and the LGBT community as compared with other public employee unions and associations.  

    National Stonewall Democrats has worked together with Pride at Work AFL-CIO on several important pieces of national legislation and advocacy. We work proactively and overtly for full LGBT equality across America.

    It is clear that the NJEA can be very aggressive when they want to be … my experience dealing with members of their lesbian and gay group or committee (yes, they exclude the T even though there are several transgender teachers who are member of NJEA) is that they lack the education and comfort levels with LGBT issues that a reasonable New Jersey person in the 21st century might expect. Hell, even the National Education Association (NEA) has an inclusive LGBT Caucus!

    For all those reasons, and a lot more, when Chris Christie attacked the NJEA, I admit I had no sympathy for them, a bigger, smarter, meaner, and tougher bully came into town.  I hope they clean up their act and straighten themselves out. We need good teachers and good teachers need protections, and most importantly our children (my grandchildren) need a top notch education and tax-payers need value for services rendered.

    Vouchers are not the answer, charter schools have the potential as of now of complete abuse and need to be comprised on an egalitarian secular basis. The whole education system, for many, “sucks”.  NJEA needs to face the reality of 2011 and focus on being part of the solution rather than a myopic and arguably “non inclusive of LGBT equality” part of the problem.

    Reply
  8. Steven Goldstein, Garden State Equality chair (Post author)

    Hi, everyone.  I couldn’t respond yesterday because it was Shabbat.  As I read all the responses this morning, I thank all of you, whether you agree or disagree with my posting, for the discussion.

    My thoughts:

    1.  Essentially, I’m hearing this from some of those who take issue with my diary: “Don’t be critical of the NJEA’s refusal to support equality, of its role on an anti-bullying bill to help all kids, of not its being forthcoming in lobbying tactics – because if you do, you’ll be helping Chris Christie.”

    Sorry, but I cannot abide by that.  That shuts down all discussion.  Blue Jersey is a place for discussion.  Progressives are supposed to be people who discuss.

    2.  Clearly the NJEA has an LGBT problem, among the NJEA’s many other problems.  You’ve now read criticism of the NJEA from three LGBT leaders in three different organizations:  Jay Lassiter at Blue Jersey, Barbra Casbar Siperstein at Stonewall Democrats, and myself at Garden State Equality.  

    3.  Steve Wollmer of the NJEA, the NJEA’s proposals on the anti-bullying law were not quite as you presented them in this thread.  I have the documentation to show it.  Again, among the NJEA’s proposals, the NJEA proposed giving school personnel three days to report an incident of bullying – a step backwards that was one of the most regressive proposals imaginable, a proposal that could have endangered the lives of students.

    And Steve, your posting here, which spent so much time on what the NJEA thought was wrong with the bill, proves my point.  That’s what the NJEA did behind the scenes, overwhelming its nominal endorsement of the bill.  Other organizations, in contrast, sought changes to the bill – and won them – yet also lobbied for the bill itself vigorously.

    4.  To Bert, ie Rachel’s Dad (ps regards to her!), you’re right, I think airing dirty laundry is inadvisable – unless it has a bearing on public policies that affect thousands of people.  

    5.  Here’s more information:  An NJEA representative took me to task for asking the NJEA to support marriage equality when, in her words, “What did the CWA do?  What did the SEIU do?  I don’t think they endorsed marriage equality.”

    That observation shocked me as to how little the NJEA had followed the marriage equality debate a year earlier.  No union in the country has been more supportive of marriage equality than the CWA, particularly in New Jersey and the CWA’s New York-New Jersey region.  The CWA endorsed marriage equality years ago – one of the first organizations of any kind to do so – and testified boldly for marriage equality at the legislative hearings.  And they’ve helped us in so many other ways.  

    As for the SEIU?  It might have been the first union nationally to endorse marriage equality, and has been another true friend here in New Jersey.

    The CWA and SEIU, among several other progressive unions, truly see their work within the bigger rubric of social justice.  It is our joy to fight for them just as hard as they fight for us – a true partnership.

    Best,

    Steven

    Reply
  9. Helios

    As an active NJEA member and out gay man I take exception when people accuse my union of somehow having a problem with LBGT.

    In my experience, within New Jersey and our parent union (the NEA) the NJEA has fought vociferously for the rights of both LGBT teachers and students.

    NJEA led the way with anti-bullying training and curriculum resources LONG BEFORE the Tyler Clementi case made it a “cause celebre” in the NJ LGBT community. When the Anti-Bullying bill was before the legislature, NJEA members received DAILY emails from the NJEA urging us to call our state representatives to support the bill.

    It’s thanks to the NJEA and our delegates (I was one of them) at the 2009 Representative Assembly of the NEA that the national union finally adopted marriage equality as its platform. Our members and leadership worked tirelessly to bring this about.

    It seems to me like the allegations coming from the three so-called experts on LGBT and the NJEA (Goldstein, Lassiter and Babs) are more akin to “sour grapes” than to legitimate criticism. Perhaps the NJEA wasn’t supporting YOUR version of the bill or wasn’t expressing support the way YOU wanted – but that doesn’t mean it’s got a problem with LGBT.

    For the record, let me be clear that I do not think the NJEA (or any organization) should be above criticism. I won’t even say that anyone “owes” us support just because we are under attack from Gov. Christie. On the other hand, I’m always suspect when people talk about “behind the scenes” or claim “a representative of NJEA said X”. Even worse is claiming you have “documentation”, but not producing it (a favorite tactic of Senator Joe McCarthy – yes, guess what subject I teach!) This kind of hearsay criticism smacks of teenage lunch room gossip.

    Here’s what I have: I have years of experience being an activist in a union in which I have always felt welcome and supported and of which I am very proud for their support of LGBT and other social justice issues.

    There’s lots of criticism to go around (and I’m sure the tactics and strategies of Stonewall Democrats and Garden State Equality – both organizations I support – are not always above reproach). In fact if we want we can form up a circular firing squad and blow each other to bits – but what does that solve? Instead of rehashing the battles of the past, assigning motives and casting aspersions, maybe we should focus on moving forward together and united.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *