To tweak a famous saying of Upton Sinclair, it is difficult to get a man to understand something when his entire political career depends upon his not understanding it.
This is certainly the case with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), who appeared today on Fox News Sunday. In the course of a wide-ranging interview, Murphy declared that Florida’s new law on parental rights in education — a law supported by a majority of Democratic primary voters, by the way — is an example of a “hateful, divisive turn that the Republican Party has taken.
“This effort in Florida to sort of target gay kids in schools, I just think is mean-spirited and something that I had not seen from the Republican Party when I first started out in politics 20 years ago,” Murphy said.
Host Bret Baier responded to this concern trolling with appropriate incredulity and attempted to explain what the law in question actually does — not that Murphy was interested in hearing it.
“To target gay kids in schools?” asked Baier. “The bill is about not talking about sexual identity from K through third grade. That’s not targeting gay kids.”
“Yes, it is,” replied Murphy. “It absolutely is. It is sending a message to these kids that they are not worthy, that they should be ashamed of their identification … You don’t think that those kids don’t take a message from a — from a ban on the discussion of their identity suggests that they are not worthy of existence in that school. Half of the kids — of trans kids in this country have contemplated suicide, and that’s because of the effort to bully them for their identity by adults in this country.”
This is already so far off the rails that it’s hard to take anything about the conversation seriously. Most kindergartners don’t have any conception of gender or sexuality, except perhaps the idea that “girls are gross” or something like that. They are not committing suicide because nobody talks to them about "gender identity."
Murphy simply ignored Baier’s most important question: “Senator, do you talk to your kindergartner about sexual identity?”
I would really like to know the answer to this. Does he? Because he sounds just that crazy in making the above argument against the Florida law.
Is Murphy really saying that kindergartners are committing suicide because they closely follow the news about Florida politics and that rules about age-appropriate sex education lead them to become ashamed of their gender identity? What kind of weirdo thinks it’s normal to talk to such young children about sex that way? Should we start having first graders put condoms on bananas, lest they become ashamed and choose to end it all?
Or, just as bizarrely, is Murphy saying that the omission of sex talk with the youngest children will cause older children to want to kill themselves? That is even more of a stretch. There are a lot of people in prison for enticement who would just love to see that argument enter the mainstream.
There may be other arguments against the Florida law, but no thinking person on either side of it could ever possibly accept or adopt Murphy’s argument here. It really seems to come from a parallel universe.
Democrats are facing historic losses in this fall’s elections, and so far, there is no reason to think that the reversal of Roe can even help, let alone save them. In such situations, party members are commonly encouraged to stay stubbornly on message, even to the point of pressing boundaries of credibility. But still, there have to be limits even to that. If this is the Democrats’ message in 2022, they should probably just concede their House and Senate majorities in advance.