By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Barney Frank caught some grief a while back when he told a protester at a town hall meeting that trying to talk with her was like trying to argue with his dining room table. Give Frank credit—he is equal opportunity with his acid wit. The openly gay House member from Massachusetts told the Associated Press that Sunday's National Equality gay rights march would be "a waste of time at best." His best line:
"The only thing they're going to be putting pressure on is the grass."
He is of course right. There have been a handful of national protests that have galvanized movements, catalyzed moments and made a difference. And then there are countless protests whose main function seems to be an exercise in fulmination, self-congratulation and grass-pressuring, but which ultimately produce little. Frank goes on in his AP interview to say that the gay rights movement should eschew protests and model itself after one of the two most powerful lobbies in Congress—the NRA and the AARP.
Ask yourself: When was the last time one of those groups held a rally on the national mall? And how many members of Congress dare cross them?