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I'm at a very fascinating place right now: New Organizing Institute's new media boot camp. Sitting in this room are the best new media people in the country, the thought leaders of tomorrow. The people whose names show up in your inbox every day, and who are watching this experiment.

"This campaign is part of the New Organizing Institute's New Media BootCamp. BootCamp participants learn the skills needed to run powerful online programs, and put those skills to practice in simulated campaigns. BootCamp is recognized as the premier training for online campaigners."


So it's important that we advance LGBT issues and advocacy in this room. Hence this diary, and allow me to explain in some more detail.

The core aspect of this week's training has been the running, by randomly selected teams, of a simulated Congressional race. Election day is today. Voting happens via this link, and runs till 1:30 PM. And yes, you can vote; in fact, I would encourage you to do so.

So why does this matter to the LGBT community on Daily Kos? Read on.

As part of the simulation, my team decided that our candidate, George Feeny, has a gay son, A Marine corporal who served in Iraq. We called him Mark, and pulled him into the campaign, because equality is a one of the foundational values our campaign is premised on. I'm posting this here for one very simple reason: I want Democrats in the real world -- Barack Obama, hint hint -- to run, and win, on LGBT equality. The best way to do that is to demonstrate how it's done, and that it works.

So take a look at one of our emails, part of our strategic outreach to the LGBT community.

From: Corporal Mark Feeny, USMC (ret.)

I fought for you in Iraq. Now, my dad wants to fight for you in Washington.

Dear [FRIEND},

when I was a kid, my dad taught me that there is a difference between right and wrong, and that honesty, honor and integrity are the most important things he expects from his kids. That all of us need to serve our country in our own way. The same values he instills in his students at Verona High. The values he wants to take to Congress.

Those are the reasons why I decided to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. To serve our flag and put my life on the line for the values our country is supposed to stand for. Those are the reasons why dad is running for Congress, and why I want you to support him in the Democratic primary this Friday, May 4th, 2012*

As a gay man, for a long time, I had to serve in silence. I couldn’t be honest about who I love. With the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, that all changed, and me and my fellow Marines could live that most important value, integrity, in the open.

My dad, George Feeny, supported me every step of the way. Even with his busy schedule as a principal of District 22’s largest high school, he still made the time to work with P-FLAG, ‘Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays’, to help other kids and their families.

Today, dad is running for Congress in Columbia’s 22nd District, to bring those same values of honesty, honor and integrity to our nation’s capital. I’m asking you for your vote for dad in Friday’s primary. Republicans (and Blue Dog Democrats like dad’s opponents) in Congress, like incumbent Congressman Ferguson Darling, want to overturn the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. They want to take away everything I fought for.

This marine thinks that’s un-American and wrong. If you agree with me that integrity and honesty are fundamental to who we are as Americans, please go like dad’s Facebook page and pass this email on to your friends and family.

See you at the polls on Friday. Vote for my dad, George Feeny.

Semper Fi,


* Polls are open from 7 AM to 1:30 PM. Vote online here.

There are a lot of things I like about this approach; the intrinsic brand value of a gay Marine for the LGBT community as a whole, the framing of equality as a core American value, and the blunt assertion that we are the swing voters that decide elections. All politics are transactional; we need to show not only that our cause is just, but that we -- and our allies -- have the means to get politicians to embrace them.

Now, this is all virtual; but really, it's not. Like I said, the people in this room will be new media directors all over the country; I will be. If they see a pro-LGBT candidate pull out a win in this simulation, they'll apply the same strategies -- everywhere. Think of it as elite persuasion.

And if the Daily Kos community, LGBT or otherwise, supports my candidate, that's the win right there. Convinced? Great. Go here, before 1:30 PM Eastern.

Campaign site
George Feeny on Facebook
George Feeny on Twitter

Originally posted to Live Your Life In Neon. on Fri May 04, 2012 at 08:40 AM PDT.

Also republished by LGBT Kos Community, Milk Men And Women, and Angry Gays.

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