Butterflies Are Not Free!

The horrors of the Russian invasion are intensifying. Putin’s fever-dream of returning Russia to its past greatness and his megalomaniacal vision that he has been chosen to “Make Russia Great Again” are chilling. It seems nothing is off limits when it comes to achieving his goal- his is a scorched-earth policy with little concern for human life. 

In our country, the Far Right’s determination (led by their fearless Furor, Donald Trump) to “Make America Great Again” has its own distinct chill.

I was in the car listening to the radio when I heard an interview that left my head spinning. 

The story was about how The National Butterfly Center, in Mission, Texas, was forced to close indefinitely after it was accused of fronting for a child sex trafficking operating. 

Remember Pizzagate? If you recall, in 2016, Democrats were falsely accused of abusing children and holding them captive in the basement of Comet Ping Pong, a pizzeria in upscale northwest Washington, D.C. that doesn’t even have a basement. That was right out of the QAnon playbook, and so is the craziness surrounding the butterfly center. It is a continued attempt to inflame and excite a Republican base that flirted with (or openly embraced) the QAnon conspiracy theory alleging a Deep State cabal of Democratic-Satanic pedophiles (at the time of Pizzagate Hillary Clinton was the ringleader!)—and has focused its energy on trying “Stop the Steal” of a legitimate election that didn’t go their way.

The Butterfly Center is a sanctuary and home to over 200 species of butterfly, as well as bobcats, armadillos, coyotes and tortoises. It attracts more than 35,000 visitors each year, including 6,000 school children. 

So why all the commotion and conspiracy theories about a butterfly sanctuary?

The 100-acre site along the Rio Grande is near the path of the promised wall that helped elect Trump, and its construction remains a magnet for his supporters. When the wall was discontinued, Steve, Who Should Be Banished, Bannon, and his cronies decided to take it into their own hands and raised money to build the wall in an area that ran through the sanctuary. Funny thing happened on the way to building this part of the wall. Bannon absconded with the funds and was charged with fraud. The Don then pardoned him.

When the center decided to challenge Bannon and his crew for infringing on their land, all hell broke loose, unleashing a right wing assault on its director, which reached its peak when Kimberly Lowe, a fringe congressional candidate running in a GOP primary in Virginia, visited the site with hopes of uncovering the child sex-trafficking hub.

Denied entry based on her trail of inflammatory Facebook posts, Lowe became belligerent. A war of words and a physical altercation with the center’s director followed. Soon after, right-wing media featured video from outside the center’s gates alleging “credible threats of the cartels trafficking children through the butterfly center.”

Kimberly Lowe is trying to become part of a special squad of lawmakers on the fringe, who are becoming more and more influential in our politics. Lowe hopes to join the likes of Lauren Boebert, Majorie Taylor Green and Madison Cawthorn. Not only do they want to oppress and deny certain inalienable rights of people of color and members of the LGBT community but, in their world, even butterflies are under siege.

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