The Virginia election for governor began by appearing to offer the promise of honest debate between two adults concerning Democratic and Republican issues and policies. Certainly, noisy and extreme candidates for delegate and their surrogates might use extremist hyperbole but both Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin began by addressing real issues like vaccinations and mask mandates, wages, and taxes. Youngkin’s initial pitch that Virginia’s economy and business environment were terrible probably didn’t resonate well because Virginia was recently rated the best state for business. Republican polling likely showed that Youngkin was behind and unable to catch up without a change of direction.
So Youngkin and the Republican Party entered a downward spiral inciting culture wars beginning with CRT (Critical Race Theory) and building upon existing parental dissatisfaction after a year of pandemic distance learning. Republicans selected Virginia’s most vulnerable county, one experiencing rapid growth and diversification, to ignite their culture war. Loudoun County with a long racist history is again facing challenges concerning race and so-called traditional values. Emotion works to win elections but as the 2020 election for president proved, so does quiet, determined resolve. Are Virginians tired of allowing an extremist minority decide their elections? They were in 2020.
Virginians voted for single-party rule when the other major party failed to cooperate in building a better Virginia. Democratic Party majorities delivered for Virginia and those majorities stand ready to continue. Virginians are heavily involved in building back better from the streets to the national and state capitols. Virginia is in the top 10 states for vaccinations. The state school system is among the best in the country and one of the principal reasons Virginia was selected as best for business. Virginia’s healthcare, as proven by the state’s COVID-19 response, is good with a high rate of residents having healthcare coverage.
The former Republican-controlled legislature denied healthcare expansion to many. Current Republican candidates in Virginia support that decision and, further, do not believe in the mask and vaccine mandates which have been proven to work so well. This historic obstinacy extends further. Republican candidates don’t “believe in” teaching actual history but rather propaganda so as not “to hurt white children’s feelings.” A Washington Post opinion piece sums it up very well:
“But this latest iteration of the controversy surrounding ‘Beloved’ occurs in the context of nationwide debates about race and history, and in the closing days of a close political campaign. This suggests that bringing the book back up now, nine years after the mother featured in Youngkin’s ad first complained about it, is less about the comfort of teenage readers and more about parents trying to elide the harsh truths and realities of our nation’s history.”
CRT was not enough to fully inflame the Republican masses. Youngkin and Virginia Republican candidates launched their own bathroom wars centered around a vulnerable young transgendered population. They transformed a state transgender school policy into a boys invading girls’ bathrooms story where no girl would be safe. Michelle Goldberg, the New York Times columnist, explained reality very well:
This is a story about how the right twisted the sexual assault of a teenager into a culture war fantasy. It’s about how a distorted tale on a conservative website became grist for a nationwide moral panic.”
When a student twice assaulted girls in different schools, the Republican candidates rushed to politicize the event, attacking the transgender community and liberals’ policies as making women and girls unsafe. Now it appears that one young victim invited her attacker into the restroom. And despite the hysterical ranting, many states and communities have had similar bathroom policies for years, proving the Republican hysteria is unfounded and not factually based.
Toni Morrison’s Beloved also served to launch an attack on literature and what schools are teaching. The Associated Press accurately reported that many of the frustrated parents’ groups in the region were headed by officials with ties to the Trump administration, the Republican Party, or both. These groups are seeking any issue to create an emotional response from parents unsure of the issues. If successful in Virginia, the assaults on local school boards and officials will only accelerate. Racism, supposed pornography in literature, and bathrooms will continue to divide and incite.
The 2020 presidential election indicates that while Republicans had the hype and the crowds, the majority of Americans had enough and voted to end the nonsense and perpetual outrage of Trump and Republicans. This time around in Virginia, Republicans put a bland face on the candidate while stoking the same hatred and division.
Virginians, don’t fall for this scam. Keep Virginia moving forward. Get out and vote; reject hate.
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