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LANSING – In an exclusive interview with Between The Lines, former Al Gore presidential campaign manager and current political consultant Donna Brazile talked about the progressive movement and the Southern Poverty Law Center-identified hate group Young Americans for Freedom at Michigan State University.
Brazile, 48, wowed a crowd of more than 400 progressive activists at the first-ever Michigan Progressive Policy Summit, held on Sept. 8 in Lansing. She expounded upon themes of valuing diversity, bringing people to the table and ironing out differences in her talk with BTL.
“I think as a movement, its issues have to be more broadly defined. Many candidates are now speaking about equality in issues like gay marriage and domestic partnerships,” said Brazile when asked about the status of the LBGT community in the progressive movement.
“More attention has been paid to the gay community in the presidential primary than ever before,” she said. “I think the debate (on LOGO TV) had a lot to do with that. But you have progressives articulating a vision that is inclusive.”
Brazile said now is not the time to hold one’s breath, either. People need to get involved in the progressive movement, she said, “Because this is going to be a very different political season. Candidates up until now felt comfortable in filling out surveys from the LBGT groups, but now they are out front talking about it. But they can only take it so far.
“The community must seek to enlarge its voice to take effective action on issues like ENDA, DOMA, and ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’,” she continued, referencing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and Defense of Marriage Act. “How do we create an America where we don’t have a black community, or a Latino community, or a gay community, or an Asian community? We do it by weaving each of the threads these communities represent into a broader fabric of our society.”
Brazile had not heard of the MSU chapter of Young Americans for Freedom before the interview. But when she learned the Southern Poverty Law Center had listed the group as the first university-supported and -recognized hate group in the country, she began to tell tales of her time at Louisiana State University. During her undergrad days, she said she spent Friday evenings at free speech-events near campus “doing battle with Young Americans for Freedom.”
She encouraged MSU students, alumni and the community to challenge the group.
“Take ’em on!” she charged.
“I hope the students are taking on YAF and countering their hate-filled agenda and its impact on campus,” she said. “I hope they are countering them, because campus is supposed to be free of hate and intimidation.”
With that, Brazile was off to catch a plane.