June 1, 2023

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‘Moms For Liberty’ Now Against Mother’s Day

6 min read
'Moms For Liberty' Now Against Mother's Day

Someday when the current wave of ridiculous moral panics subsides (and is replaced by some other shiny new ridiculous moral panic), the rightwing astroturf book-banning group “Moms for Liberty” will have an entire wing devoted to it in the Museum Of Why We Can’t Have Nice Things. Since the group’s founding in 2021 — initially for the purpose of hounding one Florida woman who beat co-founder Tina Descovich in a Brevard County school board election — the Mad Moms have become fulltime combatants in the Culture Wars, seeking to ban books about the Civil Rights Movement because they accurately depicted white opponents of integration as bigots, challenging scores of books at a time so they’ll be pulled from shelves under Florida’s ban-first policy, and occasionally fantasizing about gunning down librarians who are luring children into reading books containing Wrongthink.


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Naturally enough, a Tennessee chapter of the Moms For Purity has now declared victory against a Chattanooga school librarian who attempted to destroy America by proposing a Mother’s Day book presentation aimed at teaching that families come in all shapes, including families with one, two, or zero mommies. The Washington Post’sGreg Sargent (gift linky) explains:

Caroline Mickey, the librarian at Alpine Crest Elementary School outside Chattanooga, just learned this the hard way, when her idea for a Mother’s Day-themed lesson came under sudden and heavy fire from parents in the area. The vitriol of the attack, and the school district superintendent’s rapid decision to cancel her lesson in response, caught her off guard.

“It was overwhelming,” Mickey told me. “I didn’t realize it was going to be quite this intense.”

Ms. Mickey — already a suspicious character since she shares a name with a dangerous groomer mouse in Florida — sent a notice to parents that she had planned a pre-Mother’s lesson that would be “sensitive to the fact that not all students live with a mother” and that would “[celebrate] those who fill the motherly roles in our lives: those who make our lunches, who kiss away our hurts, and who teach us to fly.”

No, that’s not sweet, it’s indoctrination, because only REAL mothers can do that, and besides, I learned to fly from an FAA certified flight instructor; my mother wouldn’t know an aileron from a baguette.

Ms. Mickey planned to read two books aloud on the theme; Miriam B. Schiffer’s Stella Brings the Family, a tale of a little girl who’s worried about her school’s Mother’s Day party because she has two dads, and Ryan T. Higgins’s Mother Bruce, a goofy story about a grumpy bear whose Uber Eats order goes terribly wrong and is sent a bunch of goose eggs that aren’t boiled, but instead hatch, and so the goslings treat him as their momma. In the Wonkette Sekrit Chatcave, Rebecca said it’s a darling book, and Evan said he was pretty sure he’s known at least one bear named Bruce. “‘Why are these goddamned goslings following me?’ said Bruce, yeah sounds about right.”

The reaction from Moms for White Evangelical Nationalism — to the school activity, not to Evan — was swift and furious. On a local message board, one woman accused Mickey of trying to “erase motherhood on Mother’s Day,” explaining that only women are mothers, and if a man is a caregiver, he’s a father, and look what’s happening to our “once wonderful” local school with all this indoctrination! (She also took issue with the library website’s “Reading changes your life” slogan, because why is the library trying to change children, huh?)

The rant even got angry about the notice that parents could opt out if they wanted, because “Why are opted out students, whose parents believe in traditional family values, going to be moved to another location so as to not disturb the supposed feelings of others?” And will the alternative lesson plan teach the “biblical definition of gender,” or some other horror?

The piece closes, “Please pray for the children of Hamilton County. The schools are coming after their hearts” and for good measure cites that line from Luke about how anyone who would lead children astray should “have a millstone hung around his neck and to be thrown into the sea.”

The note was followed by a distraught statement from Tonya Dodd, the local Moms for Liberty chair, who insisted that both books wouldn’t even be fit for middle schoolers, let alone second graders, because of all that gay and gender and evildoing, and also the “Social Emotional Learning (Cultural Marxism).” Dodd warned the school board that “As elected officials, you know you are appointed by God and you should be doing everything you can to keep children safe in their learning environment,” which, if you want to be technical, is not how school board elections actually work.

For extra cluelessness points, the Mad Moms chair complains that the librarian could have instead chosen books to

represent women who are moms that may not have given birth to their children; such as, grandmothers, aunts, stepmoms, adoptive moms, or any women that may be a mom to a child.

Which is actually pretty much the point of Stella Brings the Family, in which Stella’s friend suggests she invite both dads, her Nona, her uncle, her aunt, and a cousin, and everyone has a fine time except for the one kid who stands up, calls them all heathens and groomers, and says the Proud Boys are his real mother. (I am not allowed to write children’s books.)

The Post reports that some loving Christian parents in the area sent Ms. Mickey “long rambling rants” in emails in which they declared her a “groomer” and a literal enemy of motherhood.

Worse, as the Tennessee Holler tweeted, Mickey’s superintendent, Justin Robertson, didn’t even make a token attempt to defend her, and instead apologized and cancelled the lesson. No word on whether the books have yet been pulled from the school library.

Following the publication of the WaPo story, Dodd, the Moms for Censorship chair, took to Twitter today to reflect on her “success” and how lots of mean people not even from Chattanooga thought they had any right to have an opinion on the matter, but thank goodness she and her supporters fought against the ugly attempt to erase motherhood.

“Keep on cloud seeding and geoengeneering and see what happens. It never fails we have clear nice days, then a day full of trails in the sky, then crazy weather.”

Mind you, that was several hours after a middle-of-the night reply to a local TV weather report in which Dodd suggested that chemtrails are causing “crazy weather,” so thank goodness we have very calm normal people influencing what’s taught in schools.


[Washington Post (gift link) / Vice News / Chattanoogan]

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