There will be a lot of gnashing of teeth in Democratic party headquarters as a consequences of the results in Virginia and New Jersey, which don’t bode well for 2022. In Virginia, Glenn Youngkin, a businessman with expertise in mergers and acquisitions and capital market financing, proved that the culture wars are alive and strong in the Republican party. In New Jersey, the tight race between Republican Jack Ciatarelli Democratic incumbent Governor Phil Murphy, may hinge mostly on the local issue of property taxes. Some of the other races around the country didn’t look so bad for Democrats.
But the matchup between Youngkin and former Governor Terry McAuliffe hurts.
So far, Republicans have not been hurt at all by their persistent lying and continued affiliation with #45, the Former Guy. This election became a referendum on Critical Race Theory, which as honest commentators (i.e., the ones who are not lying) have repeatedly pointed out, is a legal theory taught in law school, and is not taught in secondary schools in the United States. What Republicans are really objecting to is that a lot of white people are made uncomfortable with learning about or having their children taught about the history of race in America.
Pretty soon the GOP will be advocating that German school children not learn about the Holocaust because it will make them uncomfortable.
Now, I was, in fact, born in Germany, where having to learn about what the NAZIs did can indeed make a person very, very uncomfortable. It was also very, very necessary to learn about it in detail, discomfort be damned. There is, of course, the maxim that “history is written by the victors,” and that is part of the reason German school children had to learn about the history of the Holocaust in excruciating detail. But it also made us, all of us, better people.
White people in America might want to embrace the history of American racism for what it can teach him, instead of fleeing towards “parental rights” in an effort to avoid their own discomfort.
But — as we all know by now — Republicans have made a great deal of hay with the culture wars, starting with What’s the Matter with Kansas.
And they’re not stopping now.
I don’t know what the solution is, except that maybe the Democrats should be more willing to engage the Republicans on cultural issues unapologetically. Like, stop trying to mollify the opponents of vaccines and mask mandates and just ask them to grow up already.