By Laurel Duggan
Democratic strategists are planning to counter conservative attacks on critical race theory and gender ideology with a culture war of their own, inspired by a viral Tuesday speech by Democratic Michigan state Sen. Mallory McMorrow.
Several Democratic strategists, inspired by the speech, called for a messaging shift that portrays socially conservative policies as an attack on LGBT children and American values generally, according to Politico. McMorrow had drawn on her identity as a mother and a Christian to argue that she and her Democratic colleagues want to protect children, not indoctrinate them, through their education policies.
Ben LaBolt, a Democratic communications strategist, said Democrats should mimic McMorrow’s emphasis on family and American values because it would appeal to voters, most of whom support abortion and LGBT rights, Politico reported.
Democratic strategist James Carville said Democrats should view the speech as an instructional video, according to Politico.
— Andrew Roth (@RothTheReporter) April 18, 2022
McMorrow’s speech condemned a fundraising email sent out by Republican Michigan state Sen. Lana Theis which accused McMorrow of wanting to “groom and sexualize kindergarteners” and teach that “8-year-olds are responsible for slavery.”
Her email came after McMorrow walked out of the chamber April 13 when Theis prayed aloud that God protect children from “forces that desire things for them other than what their parents would have them see and hear and know.”
I want my daughter to know she is loved, supported, and seen for whoever she becomes. I want her to be curious, empathetic and kind.
I want every kid in this state to feel seen, heard, and supported, not marginalized and targeted if they're not straight, white, and Christian. https://t.co/mOPgbjSyL7
— Mallory McMorrow (@MalloryMcMorrow) April 15, 2022
“I want my daughter to know she is loved, supported, and seen for whoever she becomes,” McMorrow tweeted after the incident. “I want her to be curious, empathetic and kind. I want every kid in this state to feel seen, heard, and supported, not marginalized and targeted if they’re not straight, white, and Christian.”
Even Democrats who once favored steering clear of social issues and focusing on economics are changing their minds after McMorrow’s speech went viral, according to Politico, and there is a sense on the left that conservatives overplayed their hand with the recent wave of legislation limiting abortions and classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation.
“It’s been sort of written off for years that Republicans fight and win culture wars, and I don’t think we should accept that,” LaBolt told Politico. “Republicans are passing this legislation at a state level and viewing it as a messaging opportunity that they think rallies their constituencies, and I think we can fight back.”
Senator Lana Theis accused me by name of grooming and sexualizing children in an attempt to marginalize me for standing up against her marginalizing the LGBTQ community…in a fundraising email, for herself.
Hate wins when people like me stand by and let it happen. I won't. pic.twitter.com/jL5GU42bTv
— Mallory McMorrow (@MalloryMcMorrow) April 19, 2022
McMorrow argued that conservatives’ focus on culture, including critical race theory and LGBT issues, was distracting people from more important issues like roads, education and healthcare costs.
“People who are different are not the reason that our roads are in bad shape after decades of disinvestment or that health care costs are too high or that teachers are leaving the profession,” McMorrow said. “We cannot let hateful people tell you otherwise to scapegoat and deflect from the fact that they are not doing anything to fix the real issues that impact people’s lives.”
She emphasized that, as a mother herself, she loves her child and wants the best for her, as well as for “marginalized” children who are not “straight, white and Christian.”
“I am a straight, white, Christian, married suburban mom … I am the biggest threat to your hollow, hateful scheme,” she said. “Because you can’t claim that you are targeting marginalized kids in the name of ‘parental rights’ if another parent is standing up to say no.”
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