April 19, 2022 | Reading Time: 4 minutes
Michigan state Senator Mallory McMorrow calls out GOP bullshit, demonstrating for her party what true liberal fury looks like
A model for the Democrats.
Michigan state Senator Mallory McMorrow dressed down a GOP colleague who accused her of “grooming and sexualizing children in an attempt to marginalize me for standing up against her marginalizing the LGBTQ community in a fundraising email for herself.”
Her speech on the Michigan Senate floor is important, because it provides a model for other Democrats who are now being accused or will be accused of [insert taboo thing involving kids and sex].
“I am a straight, white, Christian, married, suburban mom, who knows that the very notion that learning about 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.”
First, the GOP came for Black and brown people. Then they came for LGBT-plus people. Now they are coming for white Democrats.
This one is fighting back.
She’s demonstrating true liberal fury.
The Republicans, at state and federal levels, want us to see the Democrats not only as evil but that evil itself is Democratic.
That image gets muddied up, however, when a Democrat like Senator McMorrow makes plain that she’s as “straight, white, Christian, married [and] suburban” as any Republican trying to smear her.
How can evil itself be Democratic when this Democrat (at least) is so very similar to Republicans who are claiming to be oh–so-concerned for the innocent innocence of innocent kids? Is evil Republican, too?
McMorrow has no name recognition that I know of, but she might garner some if her speech becomes a model for Democrats in Washington who are searching for ways to respond to the GOP.
As a “straight, white, Christian, married, suburban mom,” McMorrow stands at the center of power in this country. That she’s using her status – that she’s declaring that she’s using her status – in the service of everyone standing on the outside of the center of power in this country is another thing Democrats at the federal level can copy.
Here’s the text followed by audio of her.
Thank you, Mr. President.
I didn’t expect to wake up yesterday to the news that the senator from the 22nd district [state Senator Lana Theis] 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.
Then I realized [it’s] because I am the biggest threat to your [Theis’s] 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 this 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 [Hesburgh] reached out to lock arms with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he was alive when he was unpopular. And marching alongside them to say, “We’ve got you,” to offer protection and service and allyship to try to right 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 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 also cannot change the past.
We can’t pretend that it didn’t happen or deny people their very right to exist.
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.
I am a straight, white, Christian, married, suburban mom. I want my daughters to know that she is loved, supported and seen for whoever she comes. 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 health care costs are too high or the 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 and 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.
John Stoehr is the editor of the Editorial Board. He writes the daily edition. Find him @johnastoehr.