Yesterday, October 11th, besides being National Coming Out Day, was the National Equality March in Washington DC. You can see the full purpose of the march here. Ultimately the three main issues on the table were:
An official repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (something the Obama administration promised in the campaign)
Hate Crimes Bill
To be dead honest, I am quite surprised today. I’m surprised because the march has barely hit a blip in the mainstream national media. It got a 10 second mention on the Today Show. It got a one minute overview on CNN. For as media savvy as many of the GLBT political organizations have been over the recent years, I am floored at the lack of coverage.
Of course, it’s been a huge thing in the circles that deeply care about these issues—both the proponents and the opposition. However at the end of the day when it comes to national policy, mainstream has to have a strong opinion one way or the other. I don’t believe that Obama or the government will officially (because I think everyone knows how much they like to talk about ‘support’ but are yet to put any of that very public support into tangible action) do anything about any of these issues unless the nation’s conscious is totally involved. And ‘nation’s conscious’ does not include GLAAD, HRC and other powerful GLBT organizations saying it’s a big deal. Just because it’s a big deal to them doesn’t mean it’s a big deal to mainstream—no matter how much they say it’s a big deal to mainstream. I am not saying this as a right or a wrong, I am just trying to communicate the scope of what I’m seeing in the wake of what was meant to be the most influential (and largest) GLBT march in recent history. So then, what is this telling us? I think this raises 3 huge questions:
1. With the shocking lack of mainstream coverage amidst the extreme build-up, is this starting a trend that the mainstream media might be tiring a little of giving top billing to this topic?
2. How much does the secular mainstream actually care about these issues? I have been under the impression for sometime now (especially in the wake of Prop Eight and the election) that this topic was on the forefront of mainstream—hence the reason so many conservatives fought so diligently against everything. Maybe our (GLBT and conservative) scope was off?
3. Are the traditionally effective mediums of large national gatherings in DC by means of marches, etc, worthwhile or effective in the least bit anymore?
And for good measure, here is my 100% totally unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that can’t be proven; ever:
The Obama administration doesn’t want to be held accountable for their lack of fulfillment on promises to the GLBT community at a time where the broader questions of more troops to Afghanistan and spinning the media to believe the economy is actually getting better (e.g. we’re in a time of post-recession now), are a lot more pressing in their minds. Therefore, somehow, the administration was able to gag-order many high profile media outlets to give the absolute minimal coverage as possible.
And I have just entered into the land of crazies!!!
But I do find it interesting that with such a pronounced history between the media and the most influential GLBT organizations that there was such little coverage.
Tomorrow I will be posting about my strong belief that there needs to be a New Way of Activism (in general – from all communities). Post-modernity, emergent cultures, 21st Century living, are all leading culture to rethink ways of meaningful activism that actually produce results. We’re stuck, and I might have a few new ideas.
Anyway, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the three mains questions I raised.