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Tipsheet

As Usual, Our Political 'Discourse' Is Trash

The public 'debate' over Florida's new parental rights/LGBT law has been characteristically dysfunctional.  My views on the law were expressed in this Twitter thread last month, based on a close reading of the legislation.  In short: I support major elements of it -- and believe several of the prominent talking points against it were flawed or false -- while harboring significant concerns about how some components of its verbiage might be applied or interpreted.  I posed these concerns to Governor Ron DeSantis in a recent interview, and in that respectful exchange, he shared his interpretation on some of the vague language I cited.

I warned critics of the law that leaning into "don't say gay" sloganeering, and arguing that it might be appropriate for K-3 students to receive some form of sexual or gender identity instruction in schools, would be an unwise and losing approach.  In response, I was criticized by some for being too nuanced (this was an actual critique) and insufficiently supportive of the LBGTQ community.  Meanwhile, beyond the bubble of Twitter activism, the law's central provision is quite popular:

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Journalists and activists, often indistinguishable groups, are demoralized over this culture war setback.  Many on the Left believe they are entitled to initiate aggressive culture war battles on any front they see fit, then accuse people who notice and push back of being the true culture warriors.  As progressive writer Kevin Drum admitted in a 2021 analysis, "it is not conservatives who have turned American politics into a culture war battle. It is liberals."  Having failed to galvanize the public against the Florida law with emotive theatrics and inaccurate catchphrases, leftists have turned their attention to rhetorically policing proponents of the law who've employed the term "groomer" to smear opponents.  Sexual grooming of children is a real and disgusting phenomenon.  It is rightly condemned and its practitioners shunned and prosecuted for related crimes.  It should go without saying, however, that most Americans who oppose the new law in Florida do not favor 'grooming' in any way.  It's grossly unfair to suggest or assert otherwise.  It's pure demagoguery.

It's also interesting to note the sudden Left/media stampede to police that term, which does at least appear to be borne out of frustration at the failure of their own misleading rhetoric and demagoguery.  Most Americans don't support the Florida legislation because they've fallen victim to Very Online misinformation about grooming.  They support it because it's been reduced to the question of whether young children should be taught about sexual and gender identity in school.  Most people are understandably against that.  Yet 'The Discourse' has abruptly become dominated by disgust over 'grooming' accusations.  Again, they're worthy of disgust and umbrage.  Nevertheless, it's also hard to respect the civility and rhetoric enforcers who routinely demonize their opponents with an endless parade of bad-faith vitriol.  Isn't that right, COVID granny killers, child sacrificers, and domestic terrorist parents?

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This is right: "The [grooming] accusation is wrong because it isn’t really true. Most opponents of the bill, I’m sure, aren’t “grooming” kids for sexual acts. They simply don’t believe that parents should have a say in their kids’ education. They want to normalize half-baked identitarianism and gender ideology against the will of parents. That’s bad enough."  At least just make that case.  Meanwhile, the current Supreme Court confirmation skirmish has featured more than its fair share of ridiculous nonsense.  No, the KBJ hearings were not even close to as bad as the appalling Kavanaugh circus.  Yes, it's fair to question the nominee's record as a judge and lawyer.  No, not all of the indictments of that record are fair.  No, given John Adams' commitment to a bedrock principle in our legal system, Holocaust/Nuremberg references aren't reasonable. And no, Senators favoring Judge Jackson's confirmation are not 'pro-pedophile,' for crying out loud.  Relatedly, here's an unhinged rant from the Chairman of the national Democrats:

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Might the Rhetoric Police spare a moment to respond to this stuff, or are they preoccupied?  Kudos to Harrison, however, for actually leaving his house for that interview.  I'll leave you with this:


I expanded on all of these thoughts, at some length, during my radio show. If you're interested, the monologue spans the first three segments here:

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