"Defending Freedom!" How many times have you heard that in the context of 2nd Amendment rights, the 1st Amendment "freedom" for Milo Yiannopoulos to spread his message of hate at public universities, or free market freedom by doing away with environmental regulation?
As I read the Spokesman yesterday morning (Sunday, June 16) on page one of the Northwest Section I came upon "Love your family no matter what." The full online article title was "Drag Queen Story Hour: Love your family no matter what.," Both came with a photo of a tall person in flamboyantly feminine clothing dancing with a toddler in a festively decorated room in the South Hill Library. What fun, thought I, naively.
The article recounted the fun inside the room, a room too small, it turned out, to hold all who brought their children to the event. The article also described the gathering of "about 200" protestors led by Anna Bohach from Spokane Valley. She was loaded for bear, already having had a "Guest Opinion" published in the Spokesman on Friday, in which she railed against such dress-up as a "sexist minstrel show" that's "demeaning to women." For me, she tips her hand in that guest opinion with two things: She refers to Robin Williams (as "Mrs. Doubtfire" or in "The Birdcage," I wonder?) as performing in "disgusting parodies." Then she pulls the usual trigger: she is "outraged" that HER taxes are being used "to further the agenda of the far left." "I’m tired of (their ideas) being shoved down our throats all the time," One might wonder who it was forcing her to present her throat for such treatment.
Wow. Outraged, indeed. I wonder if Ms. Bohach also objected to the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings on the grounds the books promoted satanism? Who are these people? Ms. Bohach leads a Facebook group who call themselves 500 Mom Strong, a title that might be a little disingenuous, since the page has only 339 "likes." Moreover, they've been drumming up protesters from among Matt Shea's Redoubter folk. Check out the article in Redoubt News, from June 4. Are we looking at the local extremist Christian version of the Muslim Taliban?
And what were they protesting? People in dress-up reading stories to toddlers, stories of inclusion, fanciful stories. My favorite quote out of the Spokesman article describing the event:
“He [her 6 year old son] has love for everybody,” said Justine Daily, Sean and Shannon’s mom. Her husband, Goff Daily, said he explains the protesters to their children by saying they come from a place of misunderstanding and fear.
“If Jesus was around today, he would be on this side,” he said.
Then there's Shawn Vestal weighing in on June 12 with "Don’t compare a drag queen to a blackface minstrel," a commentary that should be widely read and shared.
Shunning an invitation, Ms. Bohach declined to attend a Spokane library discussion about Drag Queen Story Hour held on June 13th, saying she "...felt unsafe attending and that she doubted the panel would fairly represent opposition to the drag queen readings." according to the Spokesman article detailing the event with its 250 attendees. Ms. Bohach also declared she would lead the protest at the South Hill Library and they would bring their own "security." "Security" for Redoubters and Matt Shea followers to whom the protest was advertised often involves open carry of assault weapons. Ms. Bohach had the gall to say, "“The police presence was a little ridiculous." Really?
Yes, let's defend freedom, freedom from bigotry, freedom from fear, freedom to dress as you please, freedom of self-expression, freedom to read stories to children and their parents, freedom to encourage people to accept, not hate. Yes, let's defend freedom.
Note: A second Drag Queen Story Hour will be held at the Downtown Spokane Public Library next Saturday. June 22, at 2 p.m. They plan on a bigger room. I imagine Ms. Bohach will be working on a bigger protest.
Keep to the high ground,
P.S. Once upon a time I used to think people like Ms. Bohach might have a vaguely legitimate point. I used to think it might be better not to provoke them. I'm over that. Now their self-righteous bigotry just ticks me off. It all changed for me with the current occupant of the White House.