When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
`The question is,’ said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
`The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master — that’s all.
Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
As many of us suspected, CARE continues to support AB 372. In CARE NuSpeak, gutting rights “language” now means restoring rights later.
Earlier today CARE’s “volunteer” Executive Director, professional lobbyist Stephanie Williams wrote to BB Church about the current status of AB 372 and its anti-adoptee language. Williams was responding to an email from BB asking if CARE would continue to support the bill now that their sponsor, Asmb. Fiona Ma, has issued a memo with a list of amendments to gut it. (see 2 previous entries here). Since Williams sent a copy of her reply to Jean Strauss and Strauss forwarded the post to CUB president Margy McMorrow with the message to feel free to pass it along, (which Margy did on the CUB list) this email is no longer a private email between BB and Williams, so I am posting it and Strauss’ permission:
Stephanie just co-copied me an email she sent to Ron Morgan, explaining the current situation and illuminating some of the issues at hand. Please feel free to pass this on to anyone who does not understand that this is beginning of the legislation process, not the end. This may well be the only shot we have at incremental change in the foreseeable future. To that end, educating people about the process has become as important as educating people about the need for adoption reform…
Letter to BB Church from Stephanie Williams:
Subject: AB 372 – Process Response
From: [email protected]
Date: Thu, April 16, 2009 9:53 am
To: [email protected]
cc: “Bonnie Burnell”
CA Bar association is opposed, CA Adoption Agency Association is opposed, ACLU is opposed. Department of Public Health is opposed as is their sister agency CA Department of Social Services (which means the Governor will veto). The hearing is set for April 28th, the very last policy committee hearing for this year – which means all or nothing to move forward. The effort in 2001 punted and nothing has happened since. Why don’t you wait and let things progress before you jump to conclusions? Everyone is looking for the same outcome…lets see what we can get. Grandstanding does not open records.
CARE & Co must think the rest of us are really stupid. Why do they keep issuing statements and drafts and whatnot and then say, “oh, that’s not what we really mean.” For Pete’s sake, just say what you really mean and shut up! Honestly, I’ve never seen a legislative campaign about anything as muddled and confused and disingenuous as this. Read what I’ve written about CARE and its sideshow over the last few months if you don’t believe me.
Here is the latest CARE snake oil. Williams wrote of Ma’s proposed amendments:
This is not language going into law, it is the first of likely 8 hearings/floor votes. This is the beginning of the dialogue that will take us through August 2010.
At no point did BB or I say that this language was going to be in the “law.” There hasn’t even been a hearing with testimony yet. But unlike the grand poobahs of CARE with their magic decoder rings, we have only Asmb. Ma’s own words to go by, and they don’t look good. Asmb. Ma stated clearly in the opening of her memo that she would offer restrictive amendments and then listed a summary of each:
In order to keep the bill moving and do as much as possible to provide greater openness, I have decided to draft the following amendments
At the close of the memo, she states:
The Assembly Judiciary Committee has noted that this bill will be heard on April 28, 2009. These amendment do not guarantee approval in committee, but provide AB 372 with a better chance to succeed.
What else could that possibly mean other than what Asmb. Ma says? Do the rest of us have so hire the Amazing Dunninger to figure it out?
But, wait.! CARE has an answer. This “strategy” is a way to get the bill out of the Judiciary Committee.
Williams goes on about the need to pass the bill out now, and then hints that it can be amended back later in a plethora of other committee hearings, or as CARE has claimed elsewhere, on the Floor. Yeah, right! Especially when (so far) the California Bar, California Adoption Agency Association, California ACLU (note: I thought they were in the bag!), California Dept. of Public Health, and the California Dept. of Social Services oppose, which translated means even if AB 372 were passed, the governator would veto it. For some reason Williams fails to include as opposition adoptee rights organizations, unorganized groups (such as AAAFC ), and unaffiliated bastards and their families that oppose anything less than unrestricted access and are on record as opposing AB 372 if it goes bad. These are the same people CARE threw under its high speed train when it opened its campaign. Oh, that’s right. We’re the meaningless dried-up, leave-no-one-behind grassroots who have actually gotten successful bills passed, while the “professional” CARE astroturf insurgency, that can’t put an honest sentence together, admits up front that it will compromise rights for all for favors for some.
Finally, Williams lists legal concerns CARE has about California privacy codes and liability. These are very legitimate and dangerous problems that absolutely need to be neutralized. But why weren’t they addressed before this campaign started? When the tough questions come, CARE should be able to pull the answers out of its back pocket now and say “here’s the answer” –not a year from now when they might be better organized and actually know what they’re talking about. But that takes time and patience, something CARE is short on. The old slapdash “adoptees are dyin’ “excuse. In its rush to get something introduced now, they left a lot of work behind, along with the bodies of adopted folks and their families who were eager to jump into the fray and ended up kicked in the head by their “friends” before the fight even began. Bastards aren’t lab rats. As socially engineered adoptees, we know a bad experiment when we see it. AB 372 is junk science and CARE its Dr. Frankenstein. Go home and read the Periodic Table of Elements. Learn to make a Bonko or static electricity or something, and then come back to talk.
Smart activists and lobbyists don’t just mosey into the statehouse and get a bill introduced, much less passed without first building, building, building. They develop strategies and tactics They network. They schmooze. They go over scenarios. They raise funds. They build infrastructure, support, and trust amongst constituents. They don’t make a move until they’ve got traction. Stephanie Williams is certainly smart and savvy, so why is CARE behaving badly? Any trustworthy group no matter its genesis, with a clear mission and a guarantee of a rights-based, no compromise, leave-no-one-behind fight will get overwhelming support and assistance from bastards and their families. We already know that no-compromise fights can be won. Today there is no reason to work for anything less.
History shows us that “baby steps” are giant steps backwards. Incremental legislation has never been revisited successfully and won’t be. Deformers have created their own barriers to genuine rights, with their legitimization of the enemy’s arguments and language, just as CARE is doing today. Even their “slogan” admits it: “California’s effort to open ‘original records of birth’ for adult adoptees while acknowledging state privacy laws.” (laws which they have yet to actually research and understand.) Why would any self-respecting bastard/adoptee activist roll over for the enemy and accept less than full rights today?
I have no idea why CARE has a whiffle-waffled since it’s inception other than a lack of guts. This week’s Kabuki performance put them in the Bastard Hall of Shame. CARE willingly sat on the fence, and then fell off. There is no way it can be put back together again.