In total work avoidance mode, I fell into watching Anderson Cooper's exchange with Arizona State Senator Al Melvin. And a minute or two in, I had a breakdown. This then made me watch more. Which triggered more of a breakdown. Rinse and repeat until I was just a mess.
Let's back up a step: I'm a gay who is in the know. I'm up on the news. I'm all about creating change. For gosh sake, I host a nationally syndicated radio show where I have to weekly prove that I'm in the know, up on the news and know how to create change. But for some reason, hearing Al Melvin speak gibberish, listening to Anderson Cooper not even make a dent in Melvin's presentation and envisioning the law that could soon be passed codifying a type of discrimination around which I can barely wrap my brain? It was overwhelming. And thus the breakdown.
What lies at the root of my anxiety is what I now understand to be a deadly combination of extreme information sharing and ambiguous calls to action. On the one hand, you have a social-media and 24-hour news driven culture where we can access these tales of discrimination with ease. You can easily find out what's going on in Arizona. You can immediately hear from a State Senator who truly believes he is defending religious freedom. You can be there without actually being there.
On the other side, you have palpable sentiments that we should be doing something without ever really articulating what it is we're actually supposed to do. We cannot let this stand! We cannot be relegated to a subordinate citizen status! We must fight! To which I would respond, "Go team!... er... now what?!?"
I'm all riled up. And I have no satisfying outlet. And this is not working for me. So here's what I want:
I want to receive 1 email written jointly by the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Lambda Legal, GLAAD, GLSEN and anyone else who wants to get in on the communication. Arizona has to unify us. It's discrimination on the most basic terms. And I need our national LGBT leaders to tell us what they're doing together and what they need from me. Somehow, I have received less fundraising appeals this week from these groups than I normally do, when I honestly expected to be inundated. Where is the national gay voice?
I want the White House to have a response. Now. Having no position is just inconceivable to me and only contributes to the groundless feeling.
But most of all, I want The Bilerico Project, Advocate.com, Queerty, and all the other LGBT news-sharing groups (including HuffPost Gay Voices!) to not only share news, but have a call to action with every single post. Part of this digital age is recognizing that you have a role when you know you're getting your readers riled up and that role is to help channel your readers' energy to an outlet. Don't just agitate and move on to the next piece! What if every time one of these sites published a piece, they created a sidebar with the contact info for the individuals described therein. Could I take the extra step to look up Senator Melvin's e-mail address and craft a response? Yes. And I did. But I would argue these sites have a responsibility to streamline their readers' responses even more. It really would make a difference.
Ultimately, yes, the responsibility to act is mine. I get that. But I need help. Heck, I think we all do. We're all riled up and we need to somehow come together to create action. But what action? And how?
Someone please help?
Follow Ken Schneck, PhD on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ThisShowIsSoGay