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Leonard Pitts Jr., syndicated columnist

She was just trying to defend herself.

He looks like a Republican “colleague” slimmed down Michigan State Senator Mallory McMorrow in one of those ad hominem, factless, detached from reality, what the hell are you even talking about attacks that have sadly become a staple of this party.

Specifically, Lana Theis, also a Michigan legislator, sent a fundraising email that, with questionable grammar and malicious intent, characterized McMorrow as one of those “progressive social media trolls . . . those outraged that they can’t teach can’t groom and sexualize kindergarteners or that 8-year-olds are responsible for slavery.

In response, McMorrow, a Democrat, spoke in the state Senate. She spoke for less than five minutes. But by the end of her Tuesday morning speech, she had done more than put Theis in her place. She had also led a masterclass in something Democrats badly need to learn: fighting back.

“I am,” she declared, hammering every word like nails, “a straight, white, Christian, married suburban mother.” She then used that identity, so deeply identified with conservatism, to instead declare an alliance with those conservatism works to marginalize, including LGBTQ people and people of color.

And here is where you would usually find a quote from the speech. But to simply transcribe McMorrow’s words would be to miss the point and not understand why, to date, the video has 13.6 million views on Twitter. These people are drawn not to McMorrow’s eloquence, but to his unabashed conviction, his moral clarity, his willingness to unequivocally affirm liberal values ​​and uphold them without hesitation (see for yourself: https:/ /twitter.com/i/status/1516601022931689475).

It’s a virtue that Democrats, exhausted from years of defending against ad hominem nonsense, often forget to have. It’s hard to blame them. Debating Republicans is like debating a hailstorm. While you address the rock that hit you in the chest, five others hit you in the head.

That’s about all the GOP does these days. In the absence of ideas, he throws stones. Pedophiles! CRT! BLM! War on Christmas! Seuss! Disney! Cancel Culture! Benghazi! Death signs! caravans! Stupid rock after rock.

McMorrow’s triumph was to cut through the hail of idiocy with an implicit reminder that the moral high ground is held, not by those who objectify and objectify, who demonize, marginalize, scapegoat and fearmonger, but by those whose compassion is not bound by tribe, those whose heart dwells with “the least of them”, those who build bridges instead of walls.

She told MSNBC that Theis turned his back on her during the speech. Later, Theis tweeted a statement that began, “Sen. McMorrow is not naive when it comes to politics and fundraising . . . ” which looks a lot like, “We All Do It” that is, a tacit admission that she told a dirty lie for some cynical reason. That was the effective extent of his response. When challenged to go higher, Theis had nothing.

Hopefully McMorrow’s party takes notice. One of their problems (there are many) is that Democrats communicate their values ​​with all the natural ease of a giraffe doing ballet — while dodging boulders.

McMorrow found a rock or two of her own. More importantly, she found an effective way to affirm her values. In a word: fearless. Democrats could do worse than emulate him. On every social question, they possess high morals.

They should challenge the Republicans to climb.

Editor’s Note: Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Miami, Fla., 33172. Readers may contact him by email at [email protected]



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