Bob Franken




Moms for Liberty — an ultraconservative group that identifies with parental rights in schools — started in Florida, but they’ve settled in Virginia right now because Virginia is the most important game in town politically — in fact, in the whole country.
Their name and cause are a teeny bit bogus. I mean, is there an organization called Moms AGAINST Liberty? And does anyone oppose parents’ rights in schools? The questions are how far do our liberties go and parents’ rights to do what.
Are our liberties absolute? Of course not. Should they extend to questions of public health? Of course not. So when it comes to the right of government to establish rules about face masks and vaccines, aren’t those who disrupt meetings of local boards of education just making the board members’ jobs harder, just like when they shout over advocates of a particular progressive curriculum? Of course. But that’s going on around the country, and, in Virginia, it’s coming most potently from Glenn Youngkin, who is a candidate for governor and a surrogate for Donald Trump.
Youngkin has done everything he can to hide the connection, but it’s there to see. Youngkin is a Republican, the party taken over by Trump, and the GOP no longer cherishes truth any more than Trump does.
So Glenn Youngkin, like his mentor, has hidden his real agenda, which is to be a stand-in for the Trumpster. From his first TV ad onward, his Democratic opponent, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, has tried to KO Youngkin with Trump. Meanwhile, Youngkin has attempted to bob and weave with parents.

In the meantime, the Democrats are pursuing their usual agenda, which is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. You would think that winning would be a cakewalk for McAuliffe by associating Youngkin with a discredited Trump and his “Big Lie” — that he had the election stolen from him by Joe Biden. But McAuliffe and his fellow Democrats have once again run a tired campaign, and only now, when it might be too late, are they realizing it. So Virginia will be the stomping grounds for any Dem heavyweights like Barack Obama, and even the lightweights, as they try to rescue the commonwealth (state) from Donald Trump lite.
In the process, they might rescue the country from Trump the heavy.
Virginia has an odd election year. It amounts to a midyear midyear. It also means that it takes on an inordinate significance. So if Youngkin wins the election and pulls off an upset — and it’s trending that way, which calls into question whether it would be an “upset” at all — then Trump will claim all the credit. And we will see all the craziness return.
If Youngkin loses the election, the camouflage will be that he’s a dilettante, not a Republican, as opposed to just some regular guy with an accurate jump shot. Did I mention that his first TV commercials emphasized that he played college basketball, and now he’s become fabulously wealthy through mergers and acquisitions where companies would be turned from service industries into items on a financial ledger sheet?
A Youngkin win would return Virginia to its darkest traditions of racial segregation and ultraconservatism in the guise of parents’ rights in schools. Speaking of darkest, the financing for Moms for Liberty is coming from some dark sources: super-rich people who don’t really care whether we lose our liberties as we slide into an autocracy and welcome a return to a Donald Trump presidency or one of his acolytes. They believe no distortion is too simple-minded, no shot too cheap (as opposed to Youngkin’s jump shot) nor any lie too shameless. We will continue the unraveling that Trump needed more than four years to complete.
Politics and political reporting are mainly hyperbole. But the stakes of Virginia’s election are no exaggeration. It may have been the site of the first settlement in our country, but it may be where the nation’s traditions of liberty become irrevocably unsettled.

© 2021 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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