With the midterms just a little over six months away, Democrats have desperately sought a coherent response to the GOP’s political messaging regarding the ongoing ‘Culture War’ in the United States. Now, some are turning to a single speech by a Michigan lawmaker as an example of the kind of rebuttal they’ll need in order to avoid losses in November.
According to Axios, some Democratic figures had already begun to push back on the constant hammering that they had been taking in recent months, often by doubling down on the very accusations that they are facing. At the heart of the current social debate is education, and the extent to which teachers, teachers’ unions, and schools are allowed to determine what curriculum should be taught to students, and whether or not the contents of such teachings should be kept secret from parents.
Driving the current debate is the push by the Left to teach sexuality, “gender identity,” and sexual preferences to children as young as kindergarten, which Republicans have declared inappropriate. With the broad support of most parents, some Republican governors have signed laws to ban such teachings from the classroom. Part of the successful messaging employed by the Right has involved referring to those who support such explicit curriculum as “groomers.”
Back in April, a one-term Michigan state senator named Mallory McMorrow (D-Mich.) gave a speech on the floor of the state senate denouncing such labels, and also voicing her support for Critical Race Theory (CRT). While claiming that “no child alive today is responsible for slavery,” and that “no one in this room is responsible for slavery,” she nevertheless argued that “we can’t pretend that it didn’t happen, or deny people their very right to exist.” She identified herself in the speech as “a straight, White, Christian, married, suburban mom.”
She also claimed that it’s “absolute nonsense” to suggest that CRT involves teaching White children that they are “responsible for slavery, and to feel bad about themselves because they’re White.” This is incorrect, however, as a core tenet of CRT dictates that all White people are inherently racist, and that America is a fundamentally racist nation at its inception.
Nevertheless, some Democrats are pointing to the fact that the speech, which took place three weeks ago, has since garnered over a million views online, as proof that Democrats can respond to “Culture War” critiques from the Republicans. But McMorrow’s rhetoric, as well as the rhetoric of other Democrats over the last few weeks, have only proven that there are still deep divides within the Left in terms of which stance to take on the curriculum and beliefs that are being promoted to children.
In the broader debate of parents vs. teachers, Joe Biden doubled down in support of teachers. Last Wednesday, while handing out annual “Teacher of the Year” awards, Biden accused Republicans of “trying to score political points trying to ban books…all because it doesn’t fit somebody’s political agenda.” But at the same event in the White House, Biden made a widely-reported gaffe when he declared that students are “not someone else’s children, they’re our children.”
“They’re all our children,” Biden continued. “And the reason you are the teachers of the year is because you recognize that. They’re not somebody else’s children. They’re like yours when they’re in the classroom.”
The Culture War has proven extremely effective for Republicans not just in polling, but in the handful of elections that have already taken place since Biden came to power. In the off-year elections last November, Republicans swept all three statewide offices in Virginia, and also retook control of the Virginia House of Delegates, while also coming surprisingly close to winning the governorship of New Jersey. The success was largely attributed to Virginia gubernatorial nominee (now Governor) Glenn Youngkin’s focus on social and cultural issues, vowing to ban the teaching of CRT in classrooms and give greater authority to parents in determining what their children would learn in schools.