“Beloved” Becomes “Beware”

Everything we need to know about the polarity and divisiveness plaguing our country can be seen in the Governor’s race in Virginia. 

It’s the culture-war on steroids, and the Republican candidate Glen Youngkin has decided that focusing on education is his path to victory. And it is working, making the race a toss-up a few days before the election.

The Republican playbook is simple and of course, ruthless. What better tactic to motivate parents by insinuating that their children are being brainwashed and traumatized by what is taught in the classrooms?

His message is: if you love your children, and want them to be safe, you must vote for him. A vote for the other guy is a message to your child that you don’t care about them. So the choice is very stark. If the other guy wins, your kids will be forced to read Toni Morrison’s “Beloved,” and you might as well have them cavorting with the devil himself.

Here’s nearly-lynched Mike Pence, (remember that chant on January 6th: “Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!”?) weighing in on the issue in Virginia:

 “Children as young as kindergarten are being taught to be ashamed of their skin color,” Pence said, adding that “critical race theory is nothing more than state-sponsored racism” and calling it an attempt to ”indoctrinate our youth into radical, left-wing ideology.” Youngkin has said that if he was elected he would immediately ban Critical Race Theory. 

All I can say, Mike, is that after you escaped lynching, I hoped you would have a developed a little more compassion for the black experience. As much as us lefties despise and disagree with you, we would have protected you from the lynch mob. No human deserves that fate. Wouldn’t you agree, Mikey?

Though Pence hasn’t specifically supported banning Nobel Laureate Morrison’s book, it’s all part of the same racist Republican brew. A brilliant strategy, at that. Our poor children need to be protected from the likes of Toni Morrison, and other writers, who ask students to confront elements of our brutal treatment of blacks in this country. And just to set the record straight Mikey, since 1619 black children were taught to be ashamed of the color of their skin by people like you who believe America’s true self is a White Christian Nation!

The battle to ban Morrison’s book has been going on since 2013 when a mother of a high school senior, who had nightmares from reading it, spearheaded a bill in the state legislature to have it banned. The bill was presented to Terry McCaulife, then Governor of Virginia, to sign and he vetoed it. Youngkin has brought this battle into the race by having the parent tell her story in an ad supporting him.

So what is all the insanity over “Beloved”? The story of Beloved is inspired by an event that actually happened: an escaped slave, knowing she was about to be captured, killed her two-year-old daughter, to spare her from being returned to slavery. 

Instead of creating a crusade to ban the book to protect her child, wouldn’t it be something if she said: “Nightmares are scary, but imagine the nightmare that mother lived in for her to feel that killing her own child was preferable to her living as a slave.” And then her child responded: “Wow mom, that’s so powerful. Now that you put it that way, I wouldn’t be human if the book didn’t give me nightmares”.
“Yes son, sometimes we need to have nightmares to confront the nightmare of our past actions. It’s the only way we can make sure it can’t happen again. It’s the only way we can do better.”

What a different America that would be!

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