Republicans often ignore predators when they are part of their team
GOP rockstar Rep. Matt Gaetz presumably in a grooming session
The Republican Party’s latest obsession with smearing LGBTQ people with vile accusations of child recruitment must be forcefully countered. This is the underlying lie in Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, with Gov. Ron DeSantis’s press secretary, Christina Pushaw, tweeting, “If you’re against the Anti-Grooming Bill, you are probably a groomer or at least you don’t denounce the grooming of 4-8 year old children.”
For one thing, the law is not simply targeting 4–8-year-old children, as the DeSantis administration dishonestly claims. New York Times columnist Frank Bruni points out that the ambiguous wording of the Republican law is likely to have significantly broader implications. According to Bruni:
Here’s what DeSantis doesn’t cop to: a vagueness in the legislation’s language that suggests its potential application to children well beyond the third grade. Look at the words I’ve boldfaced in this clause of the law: “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade three or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” What additional prohibitions — what future muzzling — are those phrases opening the door to?
The right wing’s latest gambit is part of a sick Q-anon fantasy, where conspiratorial conservative cranks are on a crusade to stop a non-existent cabal of liberal child molesters. However, their crackpot campaign is not about protection of children, but projection of their own troubling history of indifference to sex with minors.
Who can forget how conservatives shrugged upon learning that infamous 10-Commandments judge, Roy Moore, was credibly accused of cruising the Gadson Mall in Alabama for dates with underage girls? The scandal broke while he was running for U.S. Senate in 2017. Despite the alarming allegations, the judge still received 43.8% of the state’s vote, mostly from his evangelical base. So much for their deep concern about saving teens when the alleged perpetrator was part of their political team.
The right wing also loves conversion therapist Christopher Doyle. The quack is best known for admitting in his online bio, “I tried to have sex with the little girls that my mother watched in her daycare, and eventually, one of the girls told her parents what I was doing.” Truth Wins Out broke this story in 2013, yet the nation’s leading conservative organization, the Family Research Council, invited Doyle to lecture on “praying away the gay” on October 30, 2019. Again, where is the right-wing’s moral outrage when it comes to their own perpetrators? One can only marvel at their selective indignation.
Conservative worship for Donald Trump remains unabated, even though his relationship with underage sex peddler Jeffrey Epstein remains well-documented.
“I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy,” Trump told New York Magazine in 2002 for a story headlined “Jeffrey Epstein: International Moneyman of Mystery.” “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
Did the creepy tie to Epstein – who actually did “groom” underage girls for sex in mansions, as well as in a private airplane and on an island, stop conservatives from embracing Trump? No more than the revelation that Trump gleefully exploited his fame to seduce women and, “grab em’ by the pussy.” The former President was also accused, by four women who competed in the 1997 Miss Teen USA beauty pageant, of walking into the dressing room unannounced to get a pervy peek while contestants — some as young as 15 — were changing. Instead of expressing revulsion, Republicans gave Trump their votes.
Meanwhile, Rep. Matt Gaetz is accused of sex trafficking and sex with a minor. Nonetheless, he proudly announced he is running for reelection, retaining much of his support from Florida Republicans. He, told FOX News that the charges against him are “an operation to destroy me.” No doubt, the same concerned citizens cheering the “Don’t Say Gay” bill will bury their heads in the Florida beach sand and take his word for it. FOX News host Tucker Carlson soft peddled the criminal allegations against Gaetz and tried to portray the predatory congressman as a victim, saying, “Whatever you think of Matt Gaetz…they [law enforcement] don’t just get to shut you up by smearing you.”
In another testament to Republican “family values”, North Carolina Congressman Madison Cawthorn alleged in a podcast that he had been invited to orgies and witnessed Washington powerbrokers using cocaine.
The combustible, hyper-partisan Cawthorn isn’t known to frequent democratic social circles, so we can only assume he’s ratting out the behavior of fellow Republicans. Though not exactly admired for his honesty or sexual ethics, Cawthorn is likely, on this one occasion, telling the truth. Anyone who has lived in DC for an extended period has witnessed “good Christian” right wing Republicans who don’t practice what they preach.
In terms of the despicable campaign essentially accusing LGBTQ people of recruiting, the facts say otherwise. A 2000 study by Dr. Michael R. Stevenson concluded, “A gay man is no more likely than a straight man to perpetrate sexual activity on children.” A 1994 study by Dr. Carole Jenny found that less than one percent of the children in her study were abused by a gay man or lesbian. In 1978, Drs. Nicholas Groth and Jean Birnbaum found that none of the 175 molesters in their study had an exclusively homosexual adult orientation.
What we are really dealing with are right wing evangelicals illegally injecting their backward church teachings in public schools. Their medieval mindset is best articulated by MAGA-minister Greg Locke and his wife, who bellowed on-stage, “Every spirit of homosexuality, lesbianism, come out, come out. Transgenderism, gender dysphoria, come out.” Given such nasty, barbaric views, is it any surprise a study found that “for every 10 percent additional evangelicals in a county, the number of hate groups in that county increases by 17 percent”?
The homophobic Florida law does not protect kids and it will not stop a single child from growing up LGBTQ. What it really does is groom LGBTQ youth for shame and potential suicide. The anti-free speech aspect of the law also furthers a particular form of fascism that is favored by Gov. DeSantis. The authoritarian governor, who wants his own private army, is now abusing his power to punish Disney for opposing the Don’t Say Gay law.
Disney should call DeSantis’ bluff and threaten to leave Florida to set up operations in a more enlightened place. Could you imagine the political apocalypse for Florida Republicans if such a massive, bread-and-butter employer, abandoned the Sunshine State because of its retreat to the Dark Ages? Disney should remember that the company has enormous leverage. Hopefully, they won’t kowtow to the conservative clown show.
Right wing Republicans couldn’t care less about protecting children. They frequently elevate perverts and creeps when it suits their political agenda. It’s fascinating to watch them try to claim the moral high ground when they never miss an opportunity to take the low road.