GOP unleashing 'anti-gay madness' with threats to anyone opposing their power grab: columnist
Governor Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at the 2021 Student Action Summit. (Gage Skidmore)

A Republican congressional majority would be dangerous for many Americans with the party's latest front in the culture war, according to a columnist.

The GOP has revived its decades-old attacks against the LGBTQ community ahead of this year's midterm elections and stoking a moral panic about teachers "indoctrinating" children into a sinful "lifestyle" by acknowledging the existence of gay, trans and non-binary people, wrote columnist Danielle Moodie for The Daily Beast.

"Republicans' desire to make big government the intrusive boogeyman in people’s lives doesn’t have the same ring to it when that very same government is delivering life saving vaccines and checks to those in need. So, they have to return to what always works – division and hate," wrote Moodie, a former educator and lobbyist. "Conservatism is literally all about preserving 'traditions' and opposing change at all cost. The future, to the right, is inherently frightening. That’s why Republicans are playing their old homophobic hits."

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill into law, which prohibits teachers from discussing LGBTQ issues with younger students but could be broadly applied in other ways, and conservatives launched an ugly slur to push back against Disney and other opponents of the legislation.

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"Disney put out a series of tepid responses that left opponents of the bill frustrated," Moodie wrote. "But rather than calm tensions, DeSantis’ chief spokesperson Christina Pushaw went with an old-school escalation—she began referring to anyone that detests this hateful bill as a 'groomer.'"

Conservatives have twisted a word that describes how pedophiles manipulate children in order to abuse them and smeared LGBTQ people and even their allies with an age-old slur.

"Republicans are peddling the same lie they began back in the 1970s that was used in the 1980s during the height of the AIDS epidemic and just as practically every popular old TV show and movie is getting a reboot — so is the right’s vitriol," Moodie wrote. "The problem, of course, is that it worked then and it’s working again now. While Democrats love to believe in the best of people — Republicans actually understand people. They know what makes them tick, what makes them fearful, and once they have found it they exploit it to high heaven."

Other states are passing similar laws that whip up fear against a villainous "other," but Moodie warned that red states are testing grounds for an agenda that puts many Americans at genuine risk.

"For those of us who are watching the anti-gay madness unfold from the safety of our blue states — recognize that your safety is an illusion," Moodie wrote. "The quiet part that Republicans keep saying is 'wait until we get power back.' Republicans are chomping at the bit to once again hold the House Speaker’s gavel, so that they can pass laws that turn the clock back to a time when calling LGBTQ people (and our allies) pedophiles was in vogue."