Michigan Sen. Lana Theis, apparently feeling the heat in a primary race against Republican real estate manager Mike Detmer, took multiple shots against Democratic State Sen. Mallory McMorrow in a fundraising email campaign. According to screenshots of the emails shared on Twitter, Theis called Democrats like McMorrow “trolls” and “groomers” and accused them of sexualizing children for supporting education on systemic racism and LGBTQ+ rights. Theis introduced legislation to block transgender athletes from competing with the high school sports teams that correspond with their gender, according to the news nonprofit Michigan Advance.
"These are the people we are up against," Theis stated in her email. "Progressive social media trolls like Senator Mallory McMorrow [D-Snowflake] who are outraged they can't teach can't groom and sexualize kindergarteners or that 8-year olds are responsible for slavery.”
Many a Democrat, McMorrow included, has called out this kind of cheap politicization of American history education. And after seeing McMorrow’s response to Theis’ attempt at it, it’s safe to say the Republican senator picked the wrong Democrat to try to make an example out of.
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Republicans have misrepresented Black history education as an outgrowth of critical race theory, a framework for interpreting law that maintains racism's reach has had particularly harmful effects on the legal system and laws that govern our society. The theory would be almost exclusively confined to law school courses and the like if not for Republican fearmongers randomly asserting that it is being used to indoctrinate K-12 students.
Markos Moulitsas and Kerry Eleveld spoke with Jennifer Fernandez Ancona from Way to Win about Democratic messaging and Sen. McMorrow’s speech on Daily Kos’ The Brief
McMorrow’s speech, initially made before her state Senate colleagues and shared on Twitter Tuesday, reinforced progressive Democrats’ message that attempting to eliminate the histories of people of color and other marginalized citizens of this country will not be tolerated.
Because it’s worth it, read every word:
Thank you, Mr. President,
I didn't expect to wake up yesterday to the news that the senator from the 22nd district had overnight accused me by name of grooming and sexualizing children in an email fundraising for herself. So I sat on it for a while, wondering why me, and then I realized, because I am the biggest threat to your hollow hateful scheme, because you can't claim that you are targeting marginalized kids in the name of quote, parental rights if another parent is standing up to say ‘no.’ So then what?
Then you dehumanize and marginalize me. You say that I'm one of them. You say, ‘she's a groomer. She supports pedophilia. She wants children to believe that they were responsible for slavery and to feel bad about themselves because they're white.’
Well, here's a little bit of background about who I really am. Growing up, my family was very active in our church. I sang in the 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 and that she was disappointing. My mom asked why. Among other reasons, she was told it was because she was divorced and because the priest didn't see her at mass every Sunday.
So where was my mom on Sundays? She was at the soup kitchen with me. My mom taught me at a very young age that Christianity and faith was about being part of a community; about recognizing our privilege and blessings; and doing what we can to be of service to others, especially people who are marginalized, targeted, and 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 that 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 to lock arms with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he was alive, when it was unpopular and risky, and marching, alongside them to say, ‘we've got you.’ To offer protection and service and allyship to try to write the wrongs and fix 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 slave slavery or redlining or systemic racism somehow 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 in this room is responsible for slavery, but each and every single one of us bears responsibility for writing the next chapter of history. Each and every single one of us decides what happens next and how we respond to history and the world around us.
We are not responsible for the past. We all also cannot change the past. We can't pretend that it didn't happen or deny people their very right to exist. I am a straight, white, Christian, married, suburban mom. 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.
People who are different are not the reason that our roads are in bad shape after decades of disinvestment or that healthcare costs are too high or that teachers are leaving the profession. I want every child in this state to feel seen, heard, and supported, not marginalized and targeted because they are not straight white and Christian. We cannot let hateful people tell you otherwise to scapegoat and deflect from the fact that they are not doing anything to fix the real issues that impact people's lives. And I know that hate will only win, if people like me stand by, let it happen.
So I want to be very clear right now. Call me whatever you want. I hope you brought in a few dollars. I hope it made you sleep good last night. I know who I am. I know what faith and service means and what it calls for in this moment. We will not let hate win.