Journalist warns Republicans are using children as 'effective political pawns for a right-wing movement'

Journalist warns Republicans are using children as 'effective political pawns for a right-wing movement'
Glenn Youngkin in January 2021, Wikimedia Commons

In the 2022 midterms, many Republicans are campaigning on an anti-abortion message — and “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance, who is seeking the GOP nomination in Ohio’s 2022 U.S. Senate race, has been making the idiotic argument that “childless Democrats” and “the childless left” shouldn’t hold public office because they haven’t had the experience of being a parent. But liberal journalist Wajahat Ali, in a scathing op-ed published by the Daily Beast on February 16, argues that it is Republicans, in fact, who pose a major threat to the safety and wellbeing of children.

Far-right Republicans, Ali stresses, are seriously flawed in their thinking when they believe that “critical race theory” and books they don’t like pose a greater danger in schools than COVID-19.

“Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who has already banned ‘divisive concepts’ from being taught in schools as part of the right’s disingenuous ‘critical race theory’ panic, is now just one vote away from the Virginia Senate adding an amendment to ban mask mandates in Virginia schools,” Ali observes. “North Carolina Republicans are set to file a bill in the House to ban schools from mask mandates…. Schools, and our children in particular, have become the unfortunate but effective political pawns for a right-wing movement seeking to convert parents’ pandemic frustrations, fears and anxiety into 2022 midterm votes.”

All over the United States, Republicans have been pushing bills that forbid public school teachers to discuss “critical race theory” in classrooms — which is a solution in search of a problem because CRT classes aren’t even being offered in K-12 schools. The basic premise of CRT, a field of academic study taught on some college campuses, is that the racism of the past continues to affect U.S. institutions in the present. And far-right Republicans will accuse a book of promoting CRT even though it has nothing to do with CRT.

“It was probably inevitable, but we have officially reached the ‘fuck them kids’ stage of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ali writes. “The latest confrontation over mask mandates in schools reveals the utter hypocrisy and selfishness of the ‘pro-life’ GOP, who are fine sacrificing our kids’ health if it means their dead bodies will pave the way to Republican control of Congress and fuel their unending, counter-majoritarian culture war. During Black History Month, Republican leaders are more comfortable with our kids getting COVID than reading a book written by a Black author talking about White supremacy and diversity.”

Ali wraps up the op-ed by saying that Democrats aren’t doing children any favors if they allow themselves to be influenced by Republican COVID-19 policies and prematurely abandon pandemic precautions.

“Because (Republicans) live by their ‘Screw you, kids,’ policy doesn’t mean Democrats have to follow suit,” Ali writes. “Now is not the time to drop basic precautions against a pandemic that still isn’t done with us or our vulnerable kids.”

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