Republicans and the “Grooming” Lie

The word “grooming” has exploded into our culture wars, a cudgel for the right to bash Democrats. The word has been used to describe a sexual predator (usually a gay male) cultivating someone (usually underage) for potential molestation. We heard the word in the Jerry Sandusky case. Also, with Catholic priests and altar boys, et cetera.

Now there’s much rhetoric from Republicans suggesting Democrats are engaged in one giant grooming project. It’s part of Republicans’ focus on school curricula, which they have found politically lucrative, exploiting parental concern with what kids are taught. Republican Glenn Youngkin won Virginia’s governorship last year by hammering on parental control.

“Critical race theory” is a big element, with efforts to scare parents that children are taught to hate themselves with white guilt. Even some math books have been banned for supposedly containing coded CRT messages. Now, another focus is sex education, with paranoia about anything concerning gender or sexual orientation. Thus Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, barring classroom discussion of such matters.

It’s all dishonest nonsense. No white kids are being taught to hate themselves. What they should be taught (hopefully) is the reality of our slavery history, still looming large in shaping today’s America. Students need to understand this. Likewise regarding sexuality, they need to understand the human landscape in which they’re going to live.

But any idea of children being propagandized into gayness is idiotic. As if a straight male can somehow be indoctrinated into feeling sexual attraction to boys, not girls! Worse yet is the “grooming” trope. Some like Fox’s Laura Ingraham (to name just one) make it sound like schools have a program of “grooming” youngsters for sexual molestation. Telling us more about those Republicans (and their dirty minds) than about public education.

For the record: it’s a baseless misconception that gays are more prone, than the average person, to be pedophiles or sexual predators. And the notion of a gay agenda taking over our schools is preposterous. Surely they have not made a point of filling teacher ranks with gays (if anything they’re still discriminated against). Gays are a small minority of the population. The vast majority of school personnel are not gay ā€” why on earth would they engage in some kind of pro-gay “grooming” project?

The whole “grooming” nonsense is rooted in QAnon pathology, which has swallowed the brains of too many Republicans. They believe the Democratic party is one big conspiracy of Satan-worshipping cannibalistic pedophiles. Seriously. It’s been promoted by Alex Jones; was behind the “pizzagate” whopper of Hillary Clinton running a human trafficking and child sex operation out of the basement of a certain named pizza parlor (which one true believer went and shot up).

Today’s American political polarization is not symmetrical. Democrats are mostly policy-oriented, concerned with issues like climate change, racial equity, economic fairness, etc. On the other side it’s hard to detect much of an actual philosophy. Tellingly, in 2020 Republicans published no political platform (a first in a presidential election). And look at the people who are the party’s face now: the Gosars, Gaetzes, Boeberts, Marjorie Taylor Greenes. Nothing but bomb-throwing provocateurs, with no interest in governance.

This differs from the half century during which I was a Republican. The party used to have policy goals, and to advance them exploited culture war issues; but today it’s all culture war.

Moreover, the specific culture war battles are not, ultimately, what it’s really all about either. It’s tribalism, with the culture war stuff serving mainly as tribal signifiers. An us-against-them thing. The “them” encompasses everyone not their cultural clones ā€” gender and religious nonconformists; non-whites, especially migrants; and now too, seen as fronting for those groups, all Democrats. All to be reviled as outsiders, indeed enemies, who threaten the purity and virtue of the society they imagine themselves defending. Producing a really hateful exclusionary mentality.

As if they’re under siege. Even imagining their religion is threatened, when in reality it’s separation of church and state (actually good for religion) that’s being undermined.

Admittedly their indictment of Democrats is not completely baseless. A few have cuckoo tendencies (“defund the police”), Bernie-ites foolishly romanticize “socialism,” and there’s woke ideology’s intolerance toward free expression. But all of that is far from taking over the broader Democratic mindset, like Trumpist lunacies have hijacked the whole GOP.

So mainly, Republicans hate Democrats for reasons that are grass processed through a horse’s digestive system. Exemplified by “Grooming,” “critical race theory,” all the “Satanic pedophile” QAnon craziness. And a very big one, the 2020 election “steal,” simply a lie, enflaming Republican hatred for Democrats. With more at stake than simple truth versus falsity. This produced January 6 (and all the dishonest Republican behavior surrounding it). The “election steal” lie is corroding trust in the voting process, the heart of our democracy; while also setting the stage for Republicans to really destroy it by stealing the next election themselves.

This is why Democrats’ hatred for the Republican party is not the mirror-image of Republican hatred for Democrats. Democrats (like me, now) see Republicans as not only deranged but a threat to a small-d democratic America. This is not tribalistic antagonism, it is rationally grounded in reality.

One Response to “Republicans and the “Grooming” Lie”

  1. didiusjulianus Says:

    Interesting video considering your article

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