Doth Protest a Bit Too Much?
“The ‘gentlemen’ doth protest too much, methinks”
It was hard to suppress such a thought as Lindsey Graham and his moralizing brethren fulminated themselves to a froth during this week’s confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson. Child pornography is abhorrent, of course, but Graham et al seemed unusually familiar with and animated about the topic.
I suppose we should all be grateful for any Republican interest in the wellbeing of children. This does seem the only instance, but we’ll take what we can get. I’m only surprised that Ted Cruz didn’t have a few images to put on his easel, since graphic images seem his metier.
The other main topic of the GOP froth was Critical Race Theory (CRT), a subject that they apparently find hidden in the pages of all pre-school curricula. That such things don’t exist is irrelevant, although Ibram Kendi’s books got a good boost as a result. We can only hope that child porn didn’t get a similar assist from the hearings.
There is a certain hypocritical Victorian flavor to the GOP these days, as they are turgid with moral rectitude when considering - gasp - transgender folks, same sex marriage or pre-marital sex, while embracing the multifaceted lecher who remains their president-in-exile. But back to children . . .
The GOP assault on CRT or any education related to race, gender or sex is partnered with the campaign for parental rights in education. “Parental rights” in education is further paired with the systematic and relentless attacks on public education. The logic is unassailable; if your schools insist on teaching CRT or mentioning sex despite your parental rights, then you should be empowered to send your child to a good Christian school, where they can learn about these things:
"If two men, a man and his countryman, are struggling together, and the wife of one comes near to deliver her husband from the hand of the one who is striking him, and puts out her hand and seizes his genitals, then you shall cut off her hand; you shall not show pity." (Deuteronomy 25:11-12)
“When she carried on her whoring so openly and flaunted her nakedness, I turned in disgust from her, as I had turned in disgust from her sister. Yet she increased her whoring, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the whore in the land of Egypt and lusted after her lovers there, whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose issue was like that of horses. Thus you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when the Egyptians handled your bosom and pressed your young breasts.” (Ezekiel 23:18-21)
Or from Solomon:
“Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit.” (7.7)
“My lover is to me a sachet of myrrh resting between my breasts.” (1:13)
Or one of Sodom’s daughters to the other:
“Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children — as is the custom all over the earth. Let’s get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.” (Genesis 19:30)
As a heathen, I confess that the preceding “research” piqued, for the first time, my interest in further Bible study.
Back to children once more . . .
It is easy fun to elucidate Republican hypocrisy and dishonesty, but there are great implicit concerns. The “parental rights” movement is more than a mechanism to dismantle public education. The greater harm is that the parents who are most eager to express their “rights” are truly, remarkably, unremittingly, exhaustively, irredeemably - ignorant. If parental rightists were demanding more Socrates, Rita Dove or Billy Collins, that would be one thing.
But these education warriors seek to create a generation of Biblical literalists, flat Earthers, closeted and miserable gay kids, Creationists, and citizens who believe slavery was not so bad and that science is radical socialist propaganda.
I watch and listen to this unrelenting posturing and feel pangs of empathy for the children in the minority; the children of same-sex parents, who cringe when their existence is removed from library shelves; or the children of color who are told that their Blackness is invisible, at the same time that their Blackness is the subject of daily slights; or the children who are made to feel “less than” because they don’t know the Lord’s Prayer (full disclosure: I was such a child).
These things are political child pornography and the GOP doesn’t give a tinker’s damn.
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