My “Happy Birthday” Wishes to HRC’s Marty Rouse

I cannot tell you all how much I have missed being here on the Blend. The past political season has been a very long one indeed and it’s good to be “home”, even if it is just for a quick visit! ~ Louise

Good ole Facebook; it never fails to remind me of when a friend has a birthday.

Today is HRC’s Marty Rouse’s birthday and the notice reminded me that I owed him a note. Back in August, he posted a photo album of the glitzy Las Vegas HRC gala that at the time had me sputtering mad.

So, being the shy and reserved Louise that I am, I sent him a message on his wall. Hit “send”- and immediately had some misgivings, as I believe he is a decent man. So I deleted my snark.

Well, it still appeared on his email notifications- and Marty nicely wrote a message back saying that he would like to discuss the matter with him. I wrote back that I would be contacting him soon and thanked him.

Then got busy with local politics. Which can best be summarized:

“So, other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?”

(More on THAT another day…)

Below the fold, my letter this morning to Marty Rouse.


Hi Marty,

My apologies in the delay of getting back to you; was extremely busy with Maine politics all season. But the FB notice of your birthday reminded me- hope you are having a great day!

It’s probably just as well that I didn’t write at the time; was in an especially annoyed place and while anger used correctly is an important tool, it can also be quickly and correctly classified as unproductive. I remember it was in regards to seeing the very lovely photos of the glitzy HRC gala in Vegas that “got” me- and I can address why that was a hot button better now than I could have then.

The thing is, the majority of the LGBT community can’t relate to the fancy dressing up and meeting political figures in that sort of setting  and see it as in any means relevant or productive to their daily lives. And yet, that is how many see HRC and their efforts- connecting to the DC folks and ignoring everyone in rural communities.

They can’t see how they and Joe/HRC executives have anything in common, frankly.

THIS IS WHERE HRC, IMO, HAS AN OPPORTUNITY. To not only change this perception, but to grow and expand into smaller communities.

Think of this way: McDonald’s did not become a huge franchaise for selling filet mignons and champagne; they sold hamburgers and soda on practically every roadside in America.

Frankly, the DNC is also guilty of not going after the rural populations as well and I think this is, in large part, exactly why the extraordinarily disorganized Tea Party “movement” was so successful 2 weeks ago. People in high places with lots of money and the ability to hide it (thanks, SCOTUS and Citizens United!) were very, very good at quickly organizing and taking advantage of discontent with the selection of a black President. They put money into the pockets of smaller community political races across the nation and hid their tracks very well.

NOM (whose financing will never be publicly known!) is just one group taking advantage of the fear and misinformation out there, connecting with these same GOP-oriented groups, and working on electing into ALL offices people who will make sure that the LGBTQ communities will never have full equality.

And where some equalities have been established, removing them- look at the push to remove marriage equality in NH. The removal of judges in Iowa. Talk of Maine’s 2005 anti-discrimination law being removed with the next legislative session. The implications of THAT, in my home state, are terrifying- and infuriating.

Terrifying for my friends; infuriating for me, as it will not affect my household directly one whit. Other than re-establish my position as a person of unfair privilege.

So, what do we do? Well, we need to have all of the local state communities (EQCA, EQME, etc etc) be connected together nationally, hopefully via HRC (who is already in place to be the leader we all need), and work on the same page to do some real grassroots connecting and HUGE growth of visibility in the rural communities.

Show REAL PEOPLE. Not cliches and not fancy party attendees- real every day people. Real teachers, farmers, police, firemen, town clerks, CSRs, factory workers- you name it.

We need to encourage people to join or establish GSAs. To be openly gay church members. Leaders in our communities. To be NORMAL, REGULAR, EVERY DAY FOLKS THAT LIVE AND ARE PRODUCTIVE IN OUR COMMUNITIES EVERY DAY.

I have long thought that Equality Maine did many things right and a few things absolutely wrong last year. The tones were correct, the visibility and openness were spot-on, the messages clear and certainly they had an extraordinary team of connected communities throughout the country helping them. The field ops was imo beyond reproach- they did an amazing job.

BUT- where they (EQME) failed was in fully engaging the rural community. And that was a fatal flaw- now that Maine has a Tea Party governor as well as lost both sides of the Statehouse (the first time this has occurred in my lifetime!), it may well take almost another decade before Maine gets a marriage equality law on the books.

EQME went with what I think of as a “Portland mindset”, ie, they banked on stronger support in Maine’s urban populations than rural. They tracked their support with a brilliant and tangible postcard campaign, but it showed them right along that they had a huge rural problem.

I can’t say as I blame them (playing to their strength), but it was a gamble that lost.

The ONLY way we are ever going to have full equality in the state levels and indeed, in the national level, is if we play not just to our strength- but engage where we are weak.

Will this be easy? Hell NO; if that were the case I wouldn’t be writing this today, would I? BUT WE HAVE NO OTHER OPTION. We have to win over the minds and the support of those in the rural sections of the country.

Anyways, there’s my long winded thoughts and I thank you for reading. Have a wonderful birthday! 🙂


Pam’s House Blend

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