If all the voices of the parents, family, and friends grieving 27 schoolchildren and teachers couldn't significantly affect the gun laws in America, what can? In the aftermath of the tragedy in Orlando, I think the voice of the LGBT community might be our best chance to drive the conversation forward to get the job done, and here's why. This community has a vast network of supporters who know how to create positive change. They know how to march down every city street. They know how to work the halls of Congress. They know how to unite and work for a common goal. They know how to transform communities.
In the aftermath of the shooting in Orlando, for the first time ever, I watched the Tony Awards. Not because of what happened in Orlando, but because I'm a huge Hamilton fan. The intense popularity of Hamilton (a "cultural phenomenon," they kept calling it) stood in stark contrast to many of the other shows, and it exposed (to me) the deep longing for intelligent discourse, for personalizing and humanizing history ("Hamilton makes me love history," my 9-year-old said), and for the power of music and the arts to illuminate, inspire, and teach the world to be better. The show clearly proved that Broadway is one of America's finest examples of supporting diversity.
Now, many people on Broadway are not LGBT--including Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of Hamilton. But the inclusiveness and celebration of diversity in theater is a lesson for all of America, as was reflected in the last stanza of Miranda's acceptance sonnet:
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.
I sing Vanessa's symphony, Eliza tells her story
Now fill the world with music, love, and pride.
It's time, America. It's time to put away the rhetoric of fear and hatred. It's time to stop blaming Muslims, gays, or Mexicans. It's time to look in the mirror and realize that it is us. It is us. It is all of us. It is all of the U.S. Black, white, gay, straight, men, women, transgender, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Latino...stop obsessing about bathrooms (everybody poops) and get off your ass, and let's get the job done in Washington.
My favorite tweet from the weekend was from Josh Butler, @JoshButler:
Come on, America, let's show true courage, true patriotism, and do what is right for the citizens of our country. LGBT community, we need your help! I believe in you. You can be our superheroes!
For more from Maria Rodale, visit www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com