Reviews | Madison Cawthorn’s ‘orgies’ show how right-wing politics can boomerang

What is important is the particular history offered by Cawthorn. It shows how far-right thought systems can boomerang those who try to benefit from the political energies they unleash – while staying away from their sources to avoid getting too tainted.

hawthorn told a podcast host that “sexual perversion” in Washington is so widespread that even Republicans are implicated. Fellow Republicans are appalled and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has sworn to discipline him.

Cawthorn is part of a new breed of Republican Representatives who operate in the foulest gutters of Donald Trump’s new political paths. This class includes worthy figures like Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Lauren Boebert (Colo.), and Matt Gaetz (Fla.): These are essentially professional media provocateurs who have also been elected to Congress.

These lawmakers are marinating in various far-right conspiracy theories and other assorted crack pottery, even though they claim not to be adherents. At the heart of these theories is that the political enemy is not just wrong about politics or ideology, but has created a secret and horrifying world of decadence and perversion.

On the other end, QAnon believers believe that Democratic leaders are running a transnational pedophile ring. Although “respectable” Republicans won’t say that, they will harass a Supreme Court nominee for hours over child pornography, seemingly aware of the depth of QAnon’s feelings among the GOP base.

But Cawthorn went too far when he answered a question on whether the over-the-top melodrama “House of Cards” portrays Washington correctly:

The sexual perversion that’s happening in Washington, I mean being some kind of young guy in Washington, where the average is probably 60 or 70. You look at all these people, many of them that I’ve looked up to throughout my life, I’ve always paid attention to politics… Then all of a sudden you’re prompted to “Well, we going to have some kind of sexual encounter in one of our houses, you should come.” Why did you just ask me to come? And then you realize they’re asking you to come to an orgy. Or the fact that some of the people who are leading the movement to try to eradicate addiction in our country, and then you watch them do a big dose of cocaine right in front of you.

While we can’t to prove Cawthorn made this up, let’s just say the idea that he gets invited to orgies by lawmakers in their 60s and 70s gullibility. And Cawthorn’s long history of making up stories is precisely what made him a superstar of right.

True or false, Political reports that at a meeting of GOP officials, many were angry with Cawthorn for portraying his own colleagues as “bacchic and sexual deviants”. One complained that he was answering questions about orgies from constituents.

Which highlights the danger of indulging in the conspiracy theorist’s view that the surface world always hides something grotesque and disturbing underneath. It’s one thing to say that about Democrats, these Republicans believe — that’s fine. But if you say that all from Washington, they are also involved.

Yet, in recent days, we have seen how sinister far-right fantasies, and in particular the alarm over “perversion,” are increasingly incorporated into the rhetoric of so-called mainstream Republicans.

Consider the laws and proposals advanced in many GOP state legislatures limiting how gender and sexual identity are taught. Many of them, in addition to muzzling teachers, also seem designed to advance an underlying premise: that parents must constantly fear that their children will fall prey to perverts and deviants in every corner of the classroom.

Sometimes Republicans make it obvious. In defending Florida’s odious “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law on Monday, the governor’s spokesperson tweeted, “If you’re against the anti-grooming bill, you’re probably a groomer or at least not against the grooming of 4-8 year olds.” The term “grooming” refers to pedophiles grooming children to be sexually abused.

This type of proposal goes beyond Florida to include other proposals across the country. A Georgia bill would prohibit the encouragement of classroom discussion about sexual orientation, a vaguely worded proposition obviously intended to imply that it poses a terrifying threat. A Oklahoma bill the banning of books from school libraries that deal with “sex” in some way or are even “controversial in nature”, which seems designed to foment a similar panic.

“Many of these bills are based on the belief that at all hours of the school day, students are constantly threatened with perversion and that teachers are complicit in this threat,” said Jeffrey Sachs, a political scientist who follow these laws closelytell us.

“These bills view schools as cesspools of deviance,” Sachs said, and as “places where students will be, quote-unquote, ‘tricked’ into seeing themselves as gay or trans.”

This trend has metastasized everywhere. The claim that children around the world are being “bred up” in some form of depravity has become pervasive on the right; as Fox News host Laura Ingraham recently demand“When did our public schools, any schools, essentially become training centers for gender identity radicals?”

Various laws attacking trans people are routinely justified with claims that they are defenses against rampant deviance. Even giving love and support to a trans teenager is labeled as ‘abuse’, a horror children need to be protected from.

In the end, that kind of language became almost like the air that lawmakers like Cawthorn breathe. But as this latest episode shows, these tendencies can boomerang: the lure of portraying Washington as some sort of bottomless cesspool of degeneration — a guaranteed right-wing applause line — led Cawthorn to accidentally hit his own colleagues with a shot. friend in the form of accusations. of “sexual perversion”.

As these colleagues no doubt want Cawthorn to know, such claims are meant to be aimed only at leftists and liberals.

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