It’s been said many times before and has been the case for a very long time, but American conservatives have lost their damn minds.
The very people who have spent the past two years weeping and moaning about “cancel culture” are now on an ideological crusade to cancel anything and every kind of thought that they don’t like, to the point where their zealotry and extremist demands are more in line with those of the Taliban than anything we would recognize as reasonable or appropriate in America.
A far right mother’s group in Williamson County, Tennessee, called “Moms for Liberty,” is waging a fierce battle with the local school board over a wide variety of book subjects they see as “inappropriate.” They’ve composed a lengthy list of the books which violate their standards, which includes opposing American staples like Martin Luther King Jr. because it’s too “divisive” and books about the civil rights struggle because they portray cops in a negative light, according to the Daily Beast’s Kelly Weill.
But transparent white supremacy wasn’t the only insanity they were peddling. Among their complaints included John Ashcroft-level pearl-clutching over the tamest depictions of the human form and reproductive relations, like “an illustration of the goddess Venus naked” and…wait for it…drawings of seahorses that were “too sexy.”
“MFL’s Williamson County chapter also takes issue with a picture book about seahorses, in part because it depicted ‘mating seahorses with pictures of postions [sic] and discussion of the male carrying the eggs,'” reports Weill. “Readers looking for a Kama Sutra of seahorse sex will be disappointed. Sea Horse: The Shyest Fish In The Sea contains nothing more risqué than watercolor illustrations of two seahorses holding tails or touching bellies (never—heavens—at the same time).
The passage that ‘describes how they have sex’ reads: ‘they twist their tails together and twirl gently around, changing color until they match. Sea horses are faithful to one mate and often pair up for life. Today Sea Horse’s mate is full of ripe eggs. The two of them dance until sunset and then she puts her eggs into his pouch. Barbour sea horses mate every few weeks during the breeding season. Only the male sea horse has a pouch. Only the female sea horse can grow eggs.'”
Other topics of complaint include books about Galileo that portray the Catholic Church — which persecuted him as a heretic — in too negative a light, as do books about Native Americans, which allegedly portray “white people” in a negative light — which it should, since they committed genocide against the Native Americans.
While we can all laugh about these deranged freaks losing their marbles over transgender seahorses disrupting good Christian gender roles with their unholy egg pouches and lascivious belly-touching, this “ban list” is a deeply disturbing indication of just how deeply that white supremacy, religious extremism, and an aversion to history itself is hardwired in the mind of the American conservative.
It will not surprise you to hear that the leader of “Moms for Liberty” doesn’t have any kids in the district.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.