Politics & Media
Dec 28, 2023, 06:24AM

Three-Ways, Banned Books, and Videotape In South Florida Politics

Female school board member supporting the Don't Say Gay law beds another woman, is called a hypocrite.

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Bridget Ziegler is a school board member here in Sarasota (Florida) County, where I currently reside. Her husband is embattled Florida GOP chairman Christian Ziegler, who's facing a rape allegation from a woman who'd planned to have a threesome with the couple. When Ms. Ziegler canceled, so did the other woman, who told her husband that she was in it for his wife. But Mr. Ziegler showed up at her place anyway and, according to her, raped her, which he denies.

Bridget Ziegler became a lightning rod after co-founding conservative activist group Moms For Liberty, a parental rights organization designated as an "extremist" group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a left-wing activist group the media slavishly defers to as the final authority on extremism. Ms. Ziegler has gained the reputation in progressive quarters as a "homophobe" due to such political stances as supporting Florida's Parental Rights in Education Act, a piece of legislation Democrats refer to as the Don't Say Gay law in the same spirit in which they call a sizeable Joe Biden spending package the Inflation Reduction Act.

And now that Ziegler's been outed, via a video from her husband's seized phone, as having had sexual contact with another woman during a three-way sex romp also involving her husband, she's being called a "hypocrite" who must stand down from her school board job. All four of her fellow school board members (three of them Republicans) have voted to recommend her ouster, though they don't have the power to remove her.

If hypocrisy were the litmus test by which those in power can be forced out, who'd be left to run the country? And is Bridget Ziegler really guilty of hypocrisy? Her public stances relate to what young children can be taught in public schools about gender and sexuality, not how consenting adults should conduct themselves in the bedroom. Moreover, how many of the righteous protesters pointing their fingers at Ziegler as a hypocrite would want their bedroom activities revealed to the public because the police seized someone else's phone? That investigation has nothing to do with any alleged misconduct by Bridget Ziegler. By the same flimsy logic, adult players of hyper-violent video games should also be censured if they oppose bringing these games into the classroom.

The following appears on the Southern Poverty Law Center website: “Moms for Liberty is a far-right organization that engages in anti-student inclusion activities and self-identifies as part of the modern parental rights movement. The group grew out of opposition to public health regulations for COVID-19, opposes LGBTQ+ and racially inclusive school curriculum, and has advocated books bans.”

It should be noted that the SPLC believes that only “far-right” extremism exists in this nation, ignoring the violence of movements like “anti-fascist” Antifa, and Jane’s Revenge, the anonymous network that’s claimed responsibility for vandalism and attacks on anti-abortion clinics around the United States since May 2022. As for opposing health regulations in schools for Covid, who outside the leaders of teachers unions is still claiming they were in the interest of the children, who faced no significant level of risk from the virus but still forced to stay home and fall behind in their learning development?

The SPLC wants us to believe that the parental rights movement pushes right-wing fear mongering over what they call the “woke indoctrination” of the youth, as if no politics are involved in setting school curricula involving such matters as gender identity. The decision to allow a male student to switch to the girls team because he’s decided he’s a girl has no political component? It’s just “about the science?” If so, the science of biology has changed radically over the past few years. And how are parents expected to react when they see that schools are concealing their actions from them? A Michigan couple is suing the Rockford Public School District because their autistic teen daughter’s school allegedly was referring to her with a different name and pronouns without informing them. Naturally, parents rights groups are going to spring up in an environment in which the National Teachers Union drafted a proposal to replace the word “mother” with “birthing person.” Perhaps some parents don't want teachers asking students what their birthing person’s name is.

This isn't to imply that these parents groups have no responsibility for the most pernicious outcome their activism has led to. A total of 673 books have been removed from Orange County, Florida classrooms this year for fear they violate state laws that ban making “sexual conduct” available to public school students. The list of banned books includes John Milton’s 17th-century epic Paradise Lost, John Grisham’s The Firm, John Steinbeck’s East of Eden and John Irving’s The World According to Garp. When hyper-religious Christians prone to prudery and philistinism are given the power to prevent teens from reading anything containing sexual content, this is how far off the rails things can get.

Most parents don't support such a regression, and maybe that’s one reason Ron DeSantis’ presidential hopes have fizzled. The Florida governor is the only person who can remove Bridget Ziegler from her school board position, but that doesn't seem likely, nor is it likely that she’ll step down. She’s done nothing wrong, despite the grandstanding against her by witch-hunters. Perhaps her husband has done wrong, and she’s paying the price for that, but he says he taped the entire encounter with his accuser, and there are reports that his video is exculpatory. Nevertheless, he’s been stripped of all his power in the Florida GOP. In the post-#MeToo era, an accusation of sexual impropriety of any sort is tantamount to a conviction. 


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