A couple of hours into breaking news coverage of the latest mass shooting, white cop acquittal, or climate disaster, some poor schlub of a local cable correspondent who just happened to be at the nearby Kroger becomes the on-the-scene, go-to expert in the field.
The deer-in-the-headlights looking reporter is often in an actual field. Just outside the gay club, elementary school, or movie theater where the shooting took place. Outside the church where members of a prayer circle were killed. Knee-deep in rising floodwaters. At first he can only report that at this point details are still sketchy.
After one news-cycle he is sleep-deprived and jacked up on Red Bull. He has talked for hours to his national network and has run through every single word in his vocabulary three times. He knows he’s probably on a career track to his own hour-long cable show. He’s feeling more expert.
By the second news-cycle, the network has finally located a real newsman. While their branded disaster footage loops endlessly behind him the anchor, as sincerely as he can, thanks the cub reporter for doing such a great job.
He cocks an eyebrow, leans in and practically coos, “Bob, what’s it like there in Orlando now, thirty-six hours after the incident?”
Bob begins, “Well, Brian, it’s a real wake-up call. . . “
Watch, wince, spin. Repeat.
We LGBTs were already awake. We had celebrated our Supreme Court Federal Marriage decision. But after our victory parties, as we slept it off, we kept one eye open. We knew there would be backlash. Sure enough. Whining civil servants refused to do their jobs and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Southern legislatures passed transphobic public accommodations laws in the dead of the night. And now the mass shooting in Orlando: the embodiment of a public health crisis fueled by Christo/ISIS extremists, and funded by the gun industry.
To really stay woke we need a howling, furious Larry Kramer wake up call. We need to act up.
Let’s shut down Wall Street again to draw attention not to big pharma but this time to the gun profiteers that subsidize the NRA. Occupy the Freedom Group, the company that makes the Bushmaster rifle.
Let’s turn our sad vigils into constant, full-throated protests at NRA headquarters in Fairfax, VA. Let’s call for another Day of Desperation and wrap the whole ugly building in a bulletproof rainbow flag. Let’s get some homos home on their rifle range.
Let’s go to St. Patrick’s Cathedral again and have a high mass protest, a die-in against the violence that comes from religion’s twisted love-the-sinner-hate-the-sin logic.
Let this be our Gay Agenda. Act up. Fight back.