Human Rights & Democracy

May 12, 2022: The Silent Democrats

Posted on May 12, 2022 at 12:00 AM

By Zina Greene, Member, Democracy & Human Rights Task Force

Few will forget the Senate committee confirmation hearings for Justice Katanji Brown Jackson and the vile treatment she received from Senators Cruz, Blackman, Graham, and others who read their questions, or mostly made statements from a script—the same script. The script paid for by the Koch family and prepared by a group of writers hired to destroy our democracy and destroy the most qualified applicant, ever, for justice of the Supreme Court. It didn’t work, but was devastating to watch and not hear a single Democrat stop their lies.

That night the TV commentators referred to it as a “clown show.” It was far from a clown show; it was the radical right in action. Every question was couched in people’s fear: fear of pedophiles; fear of CRT scaring their children with the truth about slavery; fear of teachers talking about sexual identification.

Putin isn’t the only authoritarian we see nightly on TV. The new state laws to criminalize parents and doctors for aiding their transgender children, for aiding medically required abortions to save women’s lives, or for pulling books out of classrooms and libraries. And what will they do with the books that they pull out? When asked, one state legislator said, “Burn them.” That’s what the Nazi’s did. They put big piles of books on the street and torched them. Can you imagine that in our country? But who is speaking out?

Never before in our lives have we been able to watch on TV a life-or-death fight for democracy that we see in Ukraine as people show their willingness to fight and die to save their country from Putin’s fascism. Where is the fight against the authoritarian right in this country? Why aren’t Democrats speaking up?

It’s rare to hear a state legislator punch back like Mallory McMorrow did on the floor of the Michigan State Capitol, ripping into a fellow legislator for accusing her of wanting “to groom and sexualize” children because she spoke out against the Republicans’ “hollow, hateful scheme” against LGBTQ rights. 

“So, who am I?” McMorrow said. “I am a straight, white, Christian, married, suburban mom who knows that the very notion that learning about slavery, or redlining or systemic racism somehow means that children are being taught to feel bad or hate themselves because they are white is absolute nonsense.” She went on, “I want every child in this state to feel seen, heard and supported, not marginalized and targeted because they are not straight, white, and Christian.” She raised a quarter of a million dollars in less than 24 hours—an astronomical sum for a state lawmaker. She is clearly representing more people than she can even imagine. 

As I wrote this, I heard that a draft decision had been leaked from the Supreme Court ending Roe and even the case on which it was based—the concept of personal freedom. That will be a discussion for the days to come. But, we will need thousands of Mallory McMorrows out there making the case that Rob Reiner recently stated on Twitter: “A vote for Republicans is a vote to destroy democracy.”

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