Michigan’s incumbent Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer faces Republican challenger Tudor Dixon on Tuesday in the second and final debate before voters head to the polls in two weeks. With recent polls showing Dixon and Whitmer in a statistical dead heat, one line of inquiry ignored during the first showdown between the candidates could send Dixon to the governor’s office: Whitmer’s support for Democrats’ indoctrination of children on sex and gender.
When the Michigan gubernatorial candidates faced off during their first debate on Oct. 13, 2022, the moderator hit the main themes dominating midterm-election discourse: the economy, inflation, crime, Covid, abortion, and education. But other than Dixon condemning Michigan schools for teaching students “sex and gender theory,” and not how “to read, write, and do math,” the debate ignored the propagandizing of children in the public school system.
Two recent developments make the issue ripe for a thorough probing of the candidates’ positions during tonight’s debate.
First, Margaret Brennan, host of CBS’s “Face the Nation” segment “Eye on America: Election Influencers,” revealed that the sexualizing of children and the peddling of gender-identity ideology in schools worries Americans on both sides of the aisle — and down the middle. Brennan discovered that reality when she asked a focus group last week for their “biggest concerns about raising children in America right now.”
The Republican participant identified the LGBT community’s push for sexual and gender identity material in the schools, countering that “we should be pushing actual school studies, math, social studies, science, not gender studies or sexual identifications.”
The CBS host then asked the Democrat member of the group to weigh in, which the mom of eight saying, “I can also agree with some of his points.” The mom then noted that with sex education, schools are bringing things to children’s attention that “they wouldn’t even think about.” The Democrat panelist added that you can teach one thing at home, but the kids are “as much influenced by teachers and surroundings” and that parents should have more input.
To the Republican and Democrat comments, the independent member of the focus group said simply, “I agree,” before highlighting concerns over education caused by Covid lockdowns.
That the Republican, Democrat, and independent focus-group participants all shared concerns about the sexualizing of children in schools shows the significance of the issue. But in Michigan, the issue deserves a special focus given the fight over sexually explicit books in school libraries playing out in the state’s sixth-largest city of Dearborn.
This is the second recent development. The same night Dixon and Whitmer dueled in their first debate, the Dearborn School Board heard from scores of residents outraged by the inclusion in the school libraries of six sexually explicit books, including “This Book Is Gay,” which details the “ins and outs of gay sex.” The school board hearing ran several hours and followed the cancellation of an earlier meeting after the overflow crowd of angry parents refused to abide by the board’s protocol.
Like the “Face the Nation” segment from last week, the Dearborn parents who condemned the school libraries’ offering of sexually explicit books spanned a diverse population. Stephanie Butler initially discovered the books, reportedly “through a Facebook page called Mary in the Library that posts ‘naughty children’s books’ available in school libraries.” Soon parents from the large Arab-American Muslim community joined Butler in demanding the schools remove the books from the libraries, prompting backers of the books to claim the Arab-American Muslims were being manipulated.
Butler condemned the accusation when she spoke to the school board in the room filled with a heavy concentration of Arab-Americans Muslims. “When you take the white women in the room and then you turn a thousand Arab-American Muslims into white Christian nationalists that are being led off the cliff by a sheep, you are insinuating that these people — some of whom graduated from Harvard — are a bunch of idiots who can’t think for themselves; it’s disgusting…it’s absolutely disgusting,” Butler seethed as the crowd erupted in cheers.
While the issue for the parents was not political, with the speakers expressing concern only for protecting their children, that Republican leaders supported the Dearborn moms and dads demanding the removal of the sexually explicit books was not lost on the audience. In contrast, Dearborn’s mayor, Democrat Abdullah Hammoud, the city’s first Arab-American and Muslim mayor, opposes removing the books from the school libraries.
Even before the controversial books became an issue in Dearborn, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon discussed the need to review books to ensure pornographic material stays out of the schools — a description many Dearborn parents gave to the sexually explicit books found in the school libraries.
To date, it does not appear that Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has staked out her position on the issue, although one of her biggest backers, the American Federation of Teachers union, has opposed removing the sexually explicit books from the school libraries.
With the issue clearly resonating with parents across the country and in Michigan communities, voters deserve to know where Whitmer stands. So here’s hoping tonight’s moderators push for answers.