April 19, 2022

State Senator Mallory McMorrow has had enough of Republicans' name-calling and QAnon cult behavior to raise a few bucks and cultivate hate toward anyone who disagrees with them, which is what her colleague Lana Theis tried to do when she accused McMorrow of "grooming and sexualizing children" after McMorrow pushed back on Theis' effort to diminish the LGBTQ community to raise a few bucks.

I've seen lots of speeches that are great. This one is outstanding, not only because she slam-dunks Senator Theis, but because she clearly points out that the problems lawmakers are supposed to confront are not because of trans children or gay and lesbians.

As Rachel Maddow explained last night, the purpose of Theis' fundraising lies is to stoke fear and hatred toward her opponents using eliminationist speech, taking a page out of a playbook as old as the Russian Federation.

Every elected Democrat needs to take this speech, make it their own, and start fighting as hard as Sen. Mallory McMorrow did here.

Watch the speech, but here is a transcript if you want to follow along:

Senator Lana Theis accused me by name of grooming and sexualizing children in an attempt to marginalize me for standing up against her marginalizing the LGBTQ community...in a fundraising email, for herself.

Hate wins when people like me stand by and let it happen. I won't.

I sat on it for a while wondering why me?

Then I realized...

I’m the biggest threat to your hollow, hateful scheme. Because you can’t claim that you’re targeting marginalized kids in the name of “parental rights” if another parent is standing up and saying no.

So you dehumanize and marginalize ME. You say I’m one of THEM. You say she’s a groomer, she supports pedophilia, she wants children to believe they were responsible for slavery and to feel bad about themselves because they’re white.

Here’s a little background on who I really am.

Growing up my family was active in our church. I sang in choir. My mom taught CCD. One day, our priest called a meeting with my mom and told her that she was not living up to the church’s expectations, because she was divorced, and because he didn’t see her with us at mass every Sunday.

Where was my mom on Sunday?

She was at a soup kitchen. With me.

My mom taught me at a young age that Christianity and faith was about being a part of a community, about recognizing our privilege and blessings and doing what we could to be of service to others - especially people who were marginalized, targeted, who had less…often unfairly.

I learned that SERVICE was far more important than performative nonsense like being seen in the same pew every Sunday or writing “Christian” in your Twitter bio and using it as a shield to target and marginalize already-marginalized people.

I also stand on the shoulders of people like Father Ted Hesburgh, the longtime president of the University of Notre Dame who was active in the civil rights movement, who recognized his power and privilege as a white man, a faith leader, and the head of an influential and well-respected institution - and who saw Black people in this country being targeted and discriminated against and beaten, and reached out and locked arms with Dr. Martin Luther King when he was alive, when it was unpopular and risky, and marching with them to say, “We got you.” To offer protection and service and allyship, to try to right wrongs and fix the injustice in the world.

So who am I? I am a straight, white, Christian, married, suburban mom who knows that the very notion that learning about slavery or redlining or systemic racism means that children are being taught to feel bad or hate themselves because they are white is absolute nonsense.

No child alive today is responsible for slavery. No one is this room is responsible for slavery.

But each and every single one of us bears responsibility for writing the next chapter of history. We decides what happens next, and how WE respond to history and the world around us.
We are not responsible for the past. We also cannot change the past. We can’t pretend that it didn’t happen, or deny people their very right to exist.

I want my daughter to know that she is loved, supported, and seen for whoever she becomes. I want her to be curious, empathetic, and kind.

I want every child to feel seen, heard, and supported, not marginalized and targeted if they are not straight, white, and Christian.

People who are different are not the reason our roads are in bad shape, or healthcare costs are too high, or teachers are leaving the profession.

We cannot let hateful people tell you otherwise to scapegoat and deflect from the fact that they’re not doing anything to fix the real issues that impact peoples lives.

I know that hate will only win if people like me stand by and let it happen.

And I want to be very clear right now: Call me whatever you want. I know who I am. I know what faith and service mean, and what it calls for in this moment.

We will not let hate win.

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