March 13, 2022

Democrats are paralyzed by their fear of losing votes whenever anyone anywhere uses the word "LatinX" or talks about police reform. Meanwhile, here's how Republicans govern:

Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Esther Byrd to the state’s Board of Education....

Byrd is the wife of [state] Rep. Cord Byrd of Neptune Beach....

However, Mrs. Byrd is perhaps best known not for her biographical details, but for her staunch advocacy during the Donald Trump administration on behalf of far-right elements.

After the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riots, Mrs. Byrd offered a defense of those “peacefully protesting” the certification of the 2020 Presidential Election while alluding to “coming civil wars.”

“ANTIFA and BLM can burn and loot buildings and violently attack police and citizens,” Byrd wrote on her personal Facebook page. “But when Trump supporters peacefully protest, suddenly ‘Law and Order’ is all they can talk about! I can’t even listen to these idiots bellyaching about solving our differences without violence.” ...

In October, Mrs. Byrd offered an unsolicited defense of the Proud Boys....

“Why do you think Facebook is throwing people in FB Jail who share information about Proud Boys? (Side note: I must really have great friends cause a whole bunch have been locked up! 😂) I think it’s because they’ve seen a drastic spike in searches and they are worried that people are educating themselves rather than blindly believing what MSM narrative. Anyone have a better theory?”

Those statements came months after Byrd made comments supportive of QAnon after the couple was photographed on a boat flying a QAnon flag.

Byrd's supportive comments have been taken down, but here's Byrd on a boat rocking a Q flag:

Blogger Peter Greene adds:

She will join an investment banker, Rick Scott's old lawyer, a Walmart PR flack, a VP for telecom giant Charter Communications, a serial entrepreneur and pro-gun Parkland parent, and the AT&T Pres who also serves on the board for the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the James Madison Institute. So she should be right at home in the sense that it's a right-leaning group of people with no actual experience or knowledge of education. Good luck, Florida.

But QAnon Byrd isn't the worst Republican school board appointee I've read about this week. This sounds so crazy you might think it's a conspiracy theory:

It isn't a conspiracy theory. It's true.

Senate Democrats voiced strong opposition to Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee's latest appointment to the State Education board, criticizing the nominee's ownership of an online gun ammunition dealer.

Knoxville's Jordan Mollenhour, who's been serving as a State Board of Education member since his appointment in November 2021, is the founder and owner of Lucky Gunner. The company, founded in 2009, sells firearm ammunition online.

Lucky Gunner has faced multiple lawsuits over the years. The company has been linked to the selling of ammunition involved in two mass shootings.

The most recent lawsuit involves whether the company can be held civilly responsible for selling ammunition to a 17-year-old who fatally shot 10 people at his Santa Fe, Texas high school in 2018....

It's against the law for someone under 18 years old to purchase gun ammunition.

The company was also sued for selling over 4,000 rounds of ammo to the man who fatally shot 12 people at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, in 2012. A federal judge dismissed the Colorado lawsuit in 2015.

Maybe this guy is staying -- barely -- on the right side of the law. But he should be a societal pariah. It should be an outrage that he's on a school board.

You'll say, "Well, it's Tennessee." But a survey last year showed that 59% of Tennesseeans opposed a law allowing handguns to be carried without a permit, while only 39% approved. (The law went into effect last July.) And here were some of the results of a 2019 state poll:

* 86% supported laws preventing people with mental illness from buying guns.
* 86% supported making private gun sales subject to background checks.
* 68% supported creating a database to track all gun sales.
* 51% supported a ban on assault-style weapons.

Yet Governor Lee will suffer no political consequences for appointing Mollenhour. We know that. That's how it always works for Republicans.

Axios today is touting statistics that suggest we're not the angry, polarized country we appear to be:

Most people you meet in everyday life — at work, in the neighborhood — are decent and normal. Even nice. But hit Twitter or watch the news, and you'd think we were all nuts and nasty....

Three stats we find reassuring:

1. 75% of people in the U.S. never tweet.

2. On an average weeknight in January, just 1% of U.S. adults watched primetime Fox News (2.2 million). 0.5% tuned into MSNBC (1.15 million).

3. Nearly three times more Americans (56%) donated to charities during the pandemic than typically give money to politicians and parties (21%).

But it doesn't matter, because millions of these nice, charitable people will vote for Republicans like DeSantis and Lee anytime they're on the ballot. They're not put off by the extremist, smashmouth politics. These voters may not be spittle-flecked partisans, but they're numb to the spittle-flecked partisanship of Republican officeholders. Somehow they've persuaded themselves that appointing a QAnoner or the ammo equivalent of the Sackler family to a school board is nice, normal politics, and the real extremists are the people who object to these appointments. And I have no idea how we change this.

Published with permission of No More Mister Nice Blog.

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