Conservatives Come Out Against Freedom of Speech
From time to time, I feel the necessity to express an opinion on a topic of public interest. The topic I’ve chosen for this article is the current political war waging between drag queens + their supporters and a group on the Right of the ideological spectrum.
Can you find the hypocrite?
To begin, I’d like to be transparent about my political leanings. For the sake of simplicity, I stylize myself as a pragmatic centrist (but I'm also a bit of an anarchist). I don’t see situations, usually, as black and white. Instead, I operate in the gray. It’s where I feel most at home.
I agree with some classically liberal ideals — mainly limited government, political freedom, and freedom of speech. While I also value traditional conservative values like agrarianism, localism, and Christian beliefs. Each end of the scale has its pros and cons. Both sides seem to share one characteristic: the inability to hear and empathize with the other side. At the end of the day, I really couldn't care less about politics, but here we go!
On March 2, 2023, Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee signed a bill into law that would restrict the performance of drag in public spaces where minors are present — thus eliminating drag queen story time and other events. This is the same Bill Lee who dressed in drag during his high school years. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
Also, to absolutely no one’s surprise (except for maybe his wife), Tennessee‘s Republican Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally this week was caught using his government Instagram account to post comments on the accounts of attractive young men, drag queens, and trans women. He posted these comments all while supporting the legislation to ban drag performances in Tennessee. Make that make sense.
Proponents of the laws say the performances expose children to sexual themes and imagery that are inappropriate, while drag queen advocates say the proposed measures are discriminatory and could violate the first amendment.
Drag is a form of performance where men and women dress up in exaggerated expressions of femininity and masculinity. Men that perform as women are called drag queens. The existence of drag is not something new. In the western world, the performance of men dressed as women began at least as early as Rome with the Roman playwright Plautus (c. 254–184 BC) with more well-known plays written by William Shakespeare (c. the 1600s). In the eastern world, Japanese kabuki theater (c. 1612 to present) and famous playwrights like Chikamatsu Monzaemon routinely use male actors called “Onnagata“ to play female roles.
I understand that the plays of Shakespeare, Plautus, and Monzaemon are not the same type of drag performance today. But, having said that, the modern version of drag is just as much theatre as the "drag" performances of yesteryear. So why now do the republicans care? Why are they the "woke" ones all of a sudden?
Protests have recently been staged during drag queen story time at libraries across the United States, and the crowds have at times turned unruly. In this video from a TikTok user in Wadsworth, Ohio, neo-Nazis shout "Sieg Heil" (an ode to their twisted white power fetish) and call people going to the event pedophiles and faggots. You know, for the kids.
When the Nazis are on your side of the argument, you're on the wrong side. See also — Ukraine.
The entertainment industry in the west has always enjoyed male actors playing female characters. Some notable standouts that come to mind include any Tyler Perry movie/play featuring Madea, Monty Python, Jack Lemmon, and Tony Curtis in Some Like it Hot (1959), Tim Curry in the Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari in Bosom Buddies (1980–82), Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie (1982), John Travolta in Hairspray (2007), Martin Lawrence in Martin (19 92–97), Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Wesley Snipes, John Leguizamo, and Patrick Swayze in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995). I could go on all day, but the point has been made.
When Right = Wrong
One great thing about living in a “free“ society is freedom of choice. So to the parents and people who don’t wish to participate in a drag performance or watch a movie with men dressing as women — you don’t have to. But, of course, the people in this argument who don’t want drag queens interacting with children wouldn’t be anywhere near a drag show, to begin with, so it begs the question — why is this all of a sudden the biggest threat to Americans and children?
I see no difference between the Left compelling speech (pronouns) and the Right trying to ban drag. If you’ve never been to a drag show — yes, there is some harmless debauchery, but nothing that rises to the level of needing law enforcement mediation. I wouldn’t bring kids to a drag show, but as an adult, I would absolutely go — and have. As for drag queen story time, don’t send your kids if you don’t want to, but what gives you the right to dictate how others raise their children? It reeks of narcissism.
Using Children to Push an Agenda
Let’s discuss some of the issues concerning children in Tennessee that are taking a backseat while this "very important issue" takes precedence in the commons.
As of 2022, the child poverty rate is 18.1%, which is above the national average of 16.9%. This means 277,449 Tennessee children are unable to obtain the basic necessities for life (clothing, shoes, food, housing, etc.).
As of 2022, one in four (25%) of Tennessee households with children had little or no confidence in their ability to make their next housing payment.
As of 2021, only 29% of Tennessee students are on grade level in English language arts, and even less — 25% — are on grade level in math.
In 2020, there were 67,158 cases of child abuse and neglect in Tennessee.
I’m certainly not saying there is some magic wand we can wave over these issues and have them go away, but clearly, priorities are being made. Tennesee children are being neglected by the very people who are crying crocodile tears about their safety. Despicably, once again, in our American history, defenseless children are being used as pawns in someone’s political agenda.
Do you recall when “Christian” parents tried getting the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling banned from schools? They used the same argument they are using now — the “evil” within the pages of those books is apparently the same that manifests at drag shows and storytime. It’s almost as if the political Right is afraid of losing its ability to tell other people what to do. So they wage war, supposedly in the name of children. It’s idiotically disingenuous at best and malicious authoritarianism at worst.
Stop Denying the Facts
What about the hundreds of thousands of children abused by clergy in the catholic church? When the Boston Globe published a two-part article in January 2002, alerting the public to the knowledge that criminal priests had been preying on and raping innocent children for decades, where were the calls to criminalize priests in public with children? Why not? How is the victimization of children at church seemingly acceptable, but drag queens encouraging literacy a criminal offense?
If it's truly about the kids (which it clearly isn't), and overwhelming evidence showed that kids were in real danger of violence and abuse (which they are) — why weren't priests publically ostracized and locked away by angry parents? Why weren't laws passed to keep priests from having unfettered access to their victims? The answer is simple. It just didn't fit their narrative. Americans believe that molesting children is socially acceptable when "Christians" do it, but Lord have mercy if men and women dress up as the opposite gender in public. Somehow that's the real problem. As Chris Rock says in his 2023 comedy special on Netflix, it's selective outrage.
What path will you take?
It's inflammatory to say, but it's also an objective fact that children are statistically in greater danger of being raped at church by a priest/pastor than at a drag show. Let that sink in. As our banana republic spirals out of control, it seems almost certain that Americans will continue frantically chasing after nothingburgers in ever-increasing attempts to find new scapegoats for their self-induced problems. At the moment, drag performers are the current witches to burn at the stake.
It's truly absurd to see so much preventable childhood poverty, neglect, and abuse happening right before our very eyes. All while, political hacks use the remaining resources and time to chase after made-up phantoms and boogeymen. Will you give in to their hypocritical insanity, or will you choose to step away and stand by constitutional liberties for all?
At the end of the day, who really gives a fuck about drag? Why is it so hard for those "freedom-loving" Americans to let people live their own lives? This "issue" is yet another example of keeping Americans at war with each other instead of them rallying together to hold the government and managerial class accountable for the mess we are in. As long as children are not being abused, let parents and legal guardians decide what is appropriate for their kids. We do not need mentally challenged government shills to tell us how to live. For those railing against drag performers, you should probably be more concerned about where your food is coming from, how much energy you can produce at home, and getting in shape as spring rolls around. Just saying. Prepare now, or you won't last too long in this next chapter.