NYT columnist slams ‘crazies’ in fight over ‘when to teach sexuality to schoolkids’ as ‘barbarically lunatic’
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Friday’s PBS Newshour linked parents and lawmakers concerned about young children being taught about gender and sexuality in public schools to Qanon “crazies,” warning they are “barbarically lunatic” and “dehumanizing” their political opponents, which “can lead to more violence.”
Host Amna Nawaz asked New York Times columnist David Brooks and MSNBC host and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart about a PBS interview with a Michigan Democrat state senator who went viral for a recent speech pushing back at Republicans who had accused her of “grooming” and “sexualizing” children. In the interview, the state senator said, “[Republicans are] pulling this language from QAnon conspiracies.”
Nawaz agreed with the state senator and turned to Brooks, saying, “But, David, specifically, she’s not wrong. A lot of those ideas are very QAnon, dangerous conspiracy theory-related that used to be fringe. We still call it fringe. Is it fringe still?”
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Brooks responded, claiming QAnon is becoming mainstream, “I wouldn’t say QAnon is fringe anymore. There’s a lot — there’s tens of millions of people who are somewhat affiliated with QAnon, so I wouldn’t say it’s fringe.”
He then started connecting parents concerned about indoctrination in schools to conspiracy theorists: “I’d say there’s two things happening here. One is the crazies, Pizzagate, grooming, all that stuff. That — we can’t say it’s fringe, but I can at least say it’s crazy. It’s lunatic. And it’s not only lunatic. It’s cruelly lunatic, and it’s barbarically lunatic.”
He explained that the second thing that’s happening is a cultural divide. “We’re just seeing widening chasms on values on a whole range of issues – when to teach sexuality to schoolkids. And, somehow, we have to have that fight without it being dominated by the crazies. And, frankly, without it being dominated by the gotcha, screaming moments we have seen in school boards and all that,” he stated.
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“And we don’t need to have that fight. We need to have a discussion about this stuff. And, right now, it’s being submerged, because it’s been hyperpoliticized. And when you turn a discussion about difficult issues into partisan politics, you have destroyed it,” Brooks said.
“[W]e’re in this doom spiral of values fought as political soap opera,” he added.
Later in the discussion, Nawaz claimed that Republican talking points are dangerous. “There’s also this ongoing sort of dehumanizing of the political opponent, right, which we have seen in studies, experts say, can lead to more violence,” she said.
The statement echoed MSNBC host Nicole Wallace who claimed this week that Govs. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., and Glenn Youngkin, R-Va., were using “dehumanization tactics” in their respective fights against public school indoctrination, leading Wallace to compare them to Russian soldiers raping children.
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Capehart agreed with Nawaz’s assessment, warning, “People’s lives are at stake. And people’s lives are being played with by people who don’t have those worries, don’t have to worry about — aren’t marginalized, don’t have to worry about their safety simply because of the way they look or the way they identify.”