When the Orlando massacre went down, rightbloggers did what you’d expect: Blamed Muslims, defended assault weapons, and tried to pull the old Routine 9-11 — frightening Americans into adopting their paranoid policies.
But that hasn’t really been working the way it did in 2001: Not only are the Democrats resisting them (I know, right? Who would have thought?), but polls suggest the nation remains divided on whether Orlando means a Muslim problem or a gun problem.
This has led to another expected rightblogger reaction: self-pity. Since not enough people are being stampeded in their direction, the brethren feel sure they’re being oppressed by liberals.
So what’s keeping Orlando from having a 9-11 effect? In part, conservatives may be suffering from their identification with Donald Trump. “If This Poll About #Orlando Is Accurate, The Election Is Over And Hillary Will Win Big,” wept Leon H. Wolf at RedState, referring to a CBS News survey that showed voters turned off by Trump’s self-aggrandizing “Appreciate the congrats” response to the mass shooting.
“POLL SHOWS HOW INSANELY DIVIDED AMERICANS ARE ABOUT THE ORLANDO TERRORIST ATTACK” hollered the Right Scoop. “Witness the power of the presidency and media in full collusion,” said some guy on Twitter they quoted. “Nationwide delusion.”
Some of the reaction may have to do with the victims being mowed down in a gay club during Pride Week. Conservatives have been viciously attacking gays for decades, and have never stopped — recall how last year, after the Obergefell decision, many of them were yelling that gay marriage would destroy America — so now when ordinary Americans think of anti-gay persecution, they think of conservatives rather than Muslim-Americans. (Don’t cry, fellas — it helped you suck in insecure straights for years! There just aren’t as many of them as there used to be.)
As for gay folks themselves, after Orlando many of them demonstrated for an end to bigotry rather than for the expulsion of Muslim-Americans, which seemed to piss rightbloggers off.
“Most Western Gays Remain in Denial about Islam,” cried Douglas “Get Me a Gay Guy to Do This, I Know We Have One Somewhere” Murray at National Review. Murray told NR readers that the “patchwork-quilt paradise of societal atomization we call ‘diversity’ is a hell of our own creation.” What made diversity hell, Murray explained, was the idea that “gay people were meant to be the natural political and social bedfellows not just of other gays but of people with disabilities, racial and religious minorities, and even, perhaps, women.” Gross! Murray went on: “Gay men don’t have much in common with lesbians. Why — even if they had a unanimous view and voice — would they inevitably share the concerns of ‘all’ people with one leg?” This political correctness stuff has gone too far!
Murray reminded gays that “Pat Robertson just wanted to stop gays from marrying. He didn’t call for people to throw us off high buildings.” Remember, any Muslim taxi driver, orthodontist, or deli owner might, at a signal from his priest, suddenly drag you to a roof and shove you off, so the choice is clear: Embrace Pat Robertson. (Not literally — he won’t touch you people.)
Some of the brethren tried another tack, telling the world that gays were actually turning conservative over Orlando. Red Alert Politics’s Ryan Girdusky quoted some alleged LGBT posters on Reddit to that effect (” ‘How do I help [Donald Trump] lead us into a safer country?’ 4yyyy wrote”). There were other anonymous or pseudonymous gay-and-voting-Trump stories at rightblogger outlets like PJ Media, which seem to have actually been written by Republican operatives (“I also now realize, with brutal clarity, that in the progressive hierarchy of identity groups, Muslims are above gays”).
Most rightbloggers didn’t believe it either, and lashed out. Maggie Gallagher, a prominent old-school anti-gay crusader, at first tried a can’t-we-all-get-along approach — “may we learn to love one another, with all our flaws,” etc. But she couldn’t keep it going even to the end of her column, eventually starting to rant about about “the Left’s hypocrisy in downplaying Islamic terrorism” and “the Left’s increasingly anti-white racism.”
Later, Gallagher returned to complain that liberals and gays weren’t accepting her heartfelt thoughts and prayers, which was the real tragedy. “To refuse to let other Americans mourn with you is to refuse the most basic bond of fellowship across our differences,” she said with a catch in her throat. She warned her fellow conservatives that the gay libs would “declare culture war on you and eject you from the circle of human fellowship,” and raved about “the sexual revolution now being consummated in the rejection of traditional Christianity,” which in her mind had led to the armageddon of Caitlyn Jenner and “the furies that have been unleashed against any who disagree [with transgender rights] à la North Carolina.”
This became a common theme among rightbloggers: The gays and liberals were being Orlando-prejudiced against conservatives.
“To borrow a phrase from the New York Times, hatred for Christians, libertarians, Zionists, and other political minorities doesn’t ‘occur in a vacuum,’ ” moped Jonah Goldberg at National Review. “The Times has been fanning the flames of such demonization for decades…” He insisted his and other conservatives’ good faith be acknowledged. “I’m against polygamy,” he reasoned. “But I’m also against people in polygamous marriages being slaughtered by terrorists.” If Goldberg was good enough to mourn these imaginary murdered polygamists, goddamnit, he was good enough to mourn you people! Goldberg also used Murray’s at-least-we’re-not-killing-them argument (“wanting to ‘save’ gays from perceived sin is just plain different from wanting to kill them”).
When Anderson Cooper gave Florida attorney general Pam Bondi a hard time over Orlando because of her anti-gay record, rightbloggers went after him — “Dishonest Anderson Cooper Lamely Defends His Grilling of Florida AG Pam Bondi,” howled NewsBusters — and the Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway went ballistic: Omar Mateen was em you ess ell eye em, she reminded readers, yet “the media and others on the Left decided to cover this terrorist attack by going after people who support self-government and its Second Amendment; people who pray to God in times of tragedy; people who believe the definition of marriage is the union of one man and one woman…” Why weren’t the media elites yelling at a “Muslim leader” instead, she demanded to know? They really hate the gays!
Hemingway went on: Cooper’s interview was part of the “ritual denunciation of anyone who opposes the declared writ and doctrines of the sexual revolution,” as well as a “petulant lecture about the importance of conformity to media elites” and to “the sexual groupthink of media elites.” These same media elites also fucked up last year’s Charleston mass murder, claimed Hemingway, because though it took place in a church the media elites “spen[t] weeks obsessing on…Confederate flags.” And who cares about that, besides a bunch of black people?
When ACLU attorney Chase Strangio tweeted, “You know what is gross – your thoughts and prayers and Islamophobia after you created this anti-queer climate,” Ben Shapiro roared of Strangio and liberals, “They are the ones who have stifled free speech…by labeling anyone who speaks the truth about Islam a ‘racist’ and ‘Islamophobe’…and it is people like that who will get more innocent Americans killed.” Not only is criticism of Ben Shapiro and his pals an attack on free speech — it’s also murder.
“REGRESSIVE LEFT BLAMES ‘CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIANS’ FOR ORLANDO MASSACRE,” screamed InfoWars. “The Orlando Shooting Launches a War on Christianity,” announced David French at National Review. “CHRISTIANS BLAMED FOR MUSLIM MURDERS,” headlined the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue. Etc.
While these guys were crying about how oppressed they were, Democrats started pushing a no-fly no-buy bill that would deny guns to people on the terrorism no-fly list. Funny thing is, this bill is actually a Constitutional outrage, but the Democrats look to be getting away with it — not by passing the bill (the NRA hates it and the GOP always obeys the NRA), but by pushing the public toward greater acceptance of gun control by making conservatives look cruel and stupid. Now how, I wonder, would they have gotten that idea?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 20, 2016