How Youngkin Divides and Conquers
My analysis of the rising tide of prejudice in Virginia, the core of my campaign for the House of Delegates seat in Loudoun County, needs refinement. My key premise remains that transphobia in the setting of local public schools is the gateway drug for the full spectrum of prejudices prevalent in the U.S. With respect to our Republican governor and his attorney-general and lieutenant governor, it is not quite that simple.
Governor Youngkin has been explicit in his opposition to antisemitism and Islamophobia, which is to his credit. What is not to his credit is his targeting of the LGBTQI and immigrant communities, and less overtly, any sort of honest instruction in history and social studies in the public schools.
One of the governor’s first acts in office was to establish a commission on antisemitism. The doctrine underlying this body is a stew of legitimate comments on right-wing antisemitism and problematic discussion of anti-Zionism. The latter has generated endless debate, so it’s beyond the scope of this note. I would also like to note that the head of the commission is one Jeffrey Rosen, former Trump Attorney-General of the U.S. I would concede that the basic signal of condemnation of antisemitism is worthwhile.
At the same time, Youngkin has been having the best of two worlds, regarding Trump’s MAGA followers and the 45th president’s flirtations with neo-Nazis and Qanon. Youngkin benefits from their support but thus far has largely avoided close association with them. In turn Trump has become somewhat qualified in his support of Youngkin, tweeting that his name “sounds Chinese.” Needless to say, there is no base prejudice that Trump and company have not indulged.
The core of the Youngkin message remains the spurious accusations of reverse racism (prejudice of white people in the name of anti-racism or equity), under the rubric of a “war on merit” presently leveled against Fairfax County Public Schools.
One of the new heroes on the right in this crusade is one Harry Jackson, who was running for Fairfax School Board until he was observed, on video, laughing at an autistic student who was singing the national anthem at a school board meeting. (He later apologized and withdrew from the race.)
Looking into Jackson reveals a clutch of MAGA propaganda outlets, including the USANOW.TV website, Moms for Liberty, and the Independent Women’s Forum.
The underlying, racist message of Youngkin’s “patriotic history” blather should be recognizable by POC. Muslims and Jews might feel we are in the clear, so to speak, but it should be obvious that there is a substantial overlap between homophobes, those nostalgic for the Confederacy, antisemites, Islamophobes, and xenophobes. Teachers’ unions also come in for abuse, since the local public schools are the setting for the Right’s bogus scandals.
Since, contrary to some fools, Virginia is not a border state, the imminent danger would appear to be threats to every category of LGBTQI people, especially public school students. It’s not far-fetched. Just next door in West Virginia, we can observe the germination of wildly bigoted proposals.
It is the Trump MAGA movement that provides the big tent for every sort of political perversity afoot in the U.S. The Republican Party of Virginia, especially its leaders, have yet to clarify their association with the mobs that ransacked the U.S. Capitol just two years ago. This year, that is the question that should be put to every Republican candidate for state and local office in Virginia.
This is the essence of my campaign for the Virginia House of Delegates in Loudoun County. (Donations welcome.)