Wineke: The danger of using LGBTQ people as political pawns

31 People With Ties To White Nationalist Group Arrested For Conspiracy To Riot Near A Pride Parade In Idaho
From North Country Off Grid
Idaho police officers on Saturday arrested 31 people who are believed to be affiliated with the White nationalist group called Patriot Front, after they were seen gathering near a Pride parade in the city of Coeur d'Alene, police said.

I hope the arrest of 31 White Christian nationalists in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho before they could disrupt a Pride march gives pause to politicians like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis isn’t alone, but he is the most celebrated politician to use gay and transgender people as foils in his quest to be reelected and, one day, become president.

He – and pretty much he alone – convinced the Florida legislature to strip Disney of a special tax status after the corporation objected to a law banning teachers from talking about sexual orientation to third graders and younger, and said older kids could be subject only to “suitable” instruction.

Disney, DeSantis said, “took on the wrong man,” when it criticized his law (which passed anyway). Then he asked the legislature to consider, for a whole two or three days, a tax district Disney has used for decades to provide services to its theme parks (which also pay Florida taxes).

But it’s not just DeSantis and it’s not just Disney. Republicans have decided declaring war on gay and transgender people is a good way of angering straight White voters and reaping power as their reward.

Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels said while running for Senate in 2004 that he thinks there should be a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Wednesday, he repeated that he thinks marriage should be only between a man and a woman though to be fair – maybe – to Michels, he hasn’t made that a key point in his campaign.

In numerous states, Republican legislatures have introduced and passed bills prohibiting trans people from competing in sports or from using women’s bathrooms. To the extent that either of these activities is a real problem, schools surely can find ways to deal with it. To the extent it is a wonderful way to rile up adults, it can’t be beaten.

Here’s a simple fact: Gay, lesbian and trans people pose no danger to our children.

Here’s another simple fact: No one in our public schools is stirring up hatred of White people. Or of anyone else, for that matter. The so-called “Critical Race Theory” debate is just another way of shielding children from the accurate history of our land. The fact that we’re ashamed of that history does not mean teaching it exacerbates hatred.

Here’s a third simple fact, stirring up hatred for gay, lesbian and transgender people poses an absolute danger to them and to society at large.

Witness Coeur d’Alene. Thirty-one “Patriot Front” members from 13 states descended on the city (about the size of Janesville) with masks, shin guards and shields piled into a U-Haul truck and headed for the Pride celebration. They were arrested before they could disrupt the activity.

Republicans have a lot going for them right now, inflation, gas prices, formula shortages, and an off-year election. They really don’t need to stir up hatred of minority populations to do well.