For people who love name-calling and mudslinging, progressives sure have their collective panties in a bunch over the word “groomer.” As the debate over Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill continues to rage, folks on the hard left are all kinds of upset because conservatives are giving them a small dose of their own medicine.
In case you’ve been living in a cave over the past few months, the issue started when far-leftists became angry at people for supporting the notion that teachers should not be instructing seven-year-olds on matters pertaining to gender identity and sexuality and cutting their parents out of the equation. Conservatives responded by referring to those pushing this type of ideology on schoolchildren as “groomers.”
Of course, these folks don’t mean “groomers” in the traditional sense – in which a pedophile grooms a child in order to victimize them. Nobody is saying teachers and people opposing Florida’s law are trying to have sex with minors. But the fact that they want state employees to speak to children without their parents knowing is a form of grooming.
But now, high-profile leftists are whining about what they believe to be an unfair label after spending five years calling anyone to the right of Bernie Sanders “Nazis” and “literally Hitler.”
In Politico’s newsletter, author Matt Friedman deceptively claimed the “groomer” term was being used to promote the false stereotype that gay people regularly prey on children to convert them into homosexuals. He wrote:
Lately, commentators on the right are characterizing these standards and laws as “indoctrination” or, arguably worse still, “grooming.” That’s playing on an age-old anti-gay trope that there’s a compulsion among non-heterosexual people to convert vulnerable children to their sexual orientation. Nevermind that some of the organizations that have had the worst sexual abuse scandals have historically been anti-gay. Do you really need me to name them?
The New York Times published a piece featuring four progressive podcasters and columnists. These folks also chimed in on the cultural battle over school curriculum. Podcaster Jane Coaston took issue with the use of the term, referring to a right-leaning writer who has used it:
Rod Dreher, the conservative writer said that, oh, no, no, when we’re talking about grooming, we’re not talking about pedophiles — which is ridiculous. But he essentially said that, oh, it means that an adult who wants to separate children from a normative sexual and gender identity to inspire confusion in them, which just reminds me of Anita Bryant in 1978, essentially arguing that homosexuals must recruit, and that all children are cisgender and heterosexual until something happens.
Former Vox editor Ezra Klein also complained about people being called groomers and even made a pathetic attempt to link it to conspiracy theory cult QAnon. He said:
And on the other side you have this groomer thing, which is an attempt to take QAnon’s view — which is one reason it’s resonating on the far right — that all of politics is an effort by Democrats to protect pedophiles and then find some way to sort of wink, wink that you’re on board with that view of politics while saying it’s actually a little bit about something else.
Last, but not least, we have New York Times commentator Jamelle Bouie, who also pretended the term was being used specifically for members of the LGBTQ community. He said:
To go back to what we’ve been talking about, I think that something similar may happen with these bills. Screaming that your kids’ gay third-grade teacher is a pedophile or a groomer when you know that this person has been absolutely lovely to you, your child and your family — it’s not going to fly, I think, for most people or for people outside of this narrow bubble.
Of course, these folks don’t actually believe for a second that when conservatives use the term “groomer,” they are referring to the stereotype about members of the LGBTQ community. They know better.
The problem is that they know they – or people in their camp – have been engaging in this type of behavior for decades. Are conservatives inaccurately labeling some folks as groomers? Of course, they are in many – not all – cases. Does the term get its point across? Depends on who you ask, but for those who aren’t taking the progressive line on this, it is more likely to make sense.
But the left has no leg to stand on when it comes to the use of this particular political tactic.
Where were the folks on the left criticizing their comrades when they tried to convince the public that anyone who disagreed with them was a racist/sexist/homophobe/other slur? When Democrats were calling Republicans racist for disagreeing with Obamacare, we didn’t see these folks call out anyone on their own side.
Democrats and the activist media have been comparing Trump supporters to people who gassed millions of Jews and killed millions more during World War II. There was nary a peep coming from the left.
Their president tried to lump in people who disagreed with the Democrats’ Voting Rights Act with the likes of Bull Connor and other purveyors of Jim Crow. Where was the pushback coming from his party?
Case in point.
Sure, there are a few on the left who will criticize their fellow leftists for engaging in this behavior. Jane Coaston is one of them. Conversely, there are folks on the right who will rightly point out that not everyone who questions Florida’s law is supporting the sexual grooming of little kids. But this is the world the far-left has created. These are the rules they wanted to play by. Like I’ve said before, don’t dish it out if you can’t take it.
Now, would American political discourse be much healthier if neither side engaged in this behavior? Of course it would. It would also be nice if someone gave me a million dollars, but that ain’t happening today, is it?
What we are seeing is progressives losing a battle they thought they could win. Although, for the life of me, I can’t figure out why they thought arguing against parental rights and promoting teaching sexuality and gender identity to small children was ever going to be a winning issue. But they are now dealing with backlash coming from Democratic and Republican voters alike. They don’t like being hit with that label. But if they didn’t want this to happen, they shouldn’t have started it in the first place.