On Sunday, Southern Pines North Carolina had its annual holiday parade, and at 7pm, the Downtown Divas drag show was set to begin its fundraiser for Sandhills Pride, a local LGBTQ+ support network. After some 40 protesters spent the day expressing their bigotry while outnumbered by 200 supporters of human rights, the show didn’t begin until 7:40. At the time the show was scheduled to begin, unidentified vandals shot and destroyed two power substations, and 40,000 Moore County residents lost power.
While the information blackout following past outages have been weaponized to attack the reliability of renewable energy, initial circumstances appear to suggest a very different type of threat to grid stability: rightwing terrorism. One local hatemonger spearheading protests against the show, Emily Grace Rainey, who resigned from the Army during an investigation to her involvement in the January 6th insurrection, tweeted that she knew why the power was out in Moore county, but then claimed God was responsible for the outage when confronted by law enforcement, who apparently believed her.
Regardless, Durham-based drag queen Naomi Dix proved the old adage that the show will go on, and the sold-out crowd lit up the stage with their phones while singing “Halo” by Beyonce and “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey together during the 45-minute performance. “This has never been about drag queens and children,” Dix told the audience. “This is about their direct hate of anyone who does not share their beliefs. This is terrorism and nothing less.” (Daily Beast, News& Observer, Fayetteville Observer, WRAL, WCNC, CNN, Axios)