Saturday, July 3, 2021

Moms For Liberty And The Unified Theory of Far Right Grievance

Anti-maskers. Anti-school closings. Anti-vaxxers. Anti-something-vaguely-lumped-under-critical-race-theory. 

If it seems as if these folks are all actually the same people coming back with new signage every couple of months, join me as we take a look at Moms For Liberty.

MFL was launched at the beginning of 2021 by two Florida women, both with school board experience.

Tina Descovitch  ran for Brevard County School Board in 2016, with a signature issue of her opposition to Common Core. Descovitch ran on two decades in business and a degree in Communications, as well as serving on the executive staff of a US Army Commanding General. She won that election overwhelmingly, taking 48% of the vote in a primary election field of four. Then she lost in 2020. She stayed active in local school politics; after a big dustup over LGBTQ+ policy in Brevard County, she was mailed an envelope full of poop.

The co-founder is Tiffany Justice, who won a school board seat in Indian River County in 2016.  In 2018, the Indian River chapter of the NAACP asked the board to rein her in; she was accused of dominating African American Achievement Cor Committee Meetings and in those meetings violating board policy and open meetings laws. She was a reported victim of cyber-bullying by a district employee. As a board member she was agitating by October of 2020 for a mask-optional policy for students in the district, which earned her some attention from Parental Rights Florida, the wing of yet another of these groups, and I'm not going down that rabbit hole other than to note that the Parental Rights national board president is James Mason from the Homeschool Legal Defense Association and the board includes Grover Norquist and John Rosemond. Justice is no longer a member of the Indian River board.

Justice also stayed active in her district, post-board. Justice in particular has some big feelings about mask wearing, demanding some exceptions be made by the school for her son and her. Justice also wanted to be allowed to stop into her son's classroom without the 24 hour notice required by district policy.

The two launched their new group in January of this year in their home counties, agitating about mask wearing and getting school buildings re-opened. At some point, they decided to go national. Their big pitch has been parental grievance. From a profile in February:

“The balance of power in education has dramatically shifted away from parents and communities to unions and bureaucrats,” said Descovich.

“Moms for Liberty is fighting to restore the role of primary decision maker for children back to parents by helping them organize and amplify their voices.”

They've expanded their reach and their mission "to stoke the fires of liberty." You can find them and their many local branches on Facebook. Some of those local groups aren't exactly bursting at the seams, but a couple boast huge numbers and a great deal of posting.

But their portfolio of grievances has expanded as well--now they are on the front lines of organizing against public school "indoctrination" as well as monitoring school boards and making sure that the correct American history is taught. They offer a plan for educating your friends and neighbors about the Constitution. They say they have a plan "to turn this ship around."

The local chapter model has let them unleash some formidable ground troops. In Tennessee they have landed hard against the Wit and Wisdom book series for a huge list of offenses for everything from "social justice" (which they know is just a sneaky way to get CRT in there) to reading selections they just think are too bloody for children. And they want you to know that "we have a bullying problem, not a racism problem."




Their national voice is expanding as well. Quisha King (some outlets call her "Keisha") runs a consulting firm, has a degree in business marketing, and was a regional engagement coordinator for Black Voices for Trump, but she's often billed as just a concerned Florida mom. She's a member of MFL, sometimes referred to as a board member, though their board membership is not listed anywhere I could find. Ron DeSantis has quoted her, and national news outlets like her. And she just picked up national press for calling Rep. Ilhan Omar a liar on the subject of CRT.

Occasionally MFL calls itself nonpartisan, but these are clearly conservative culture warriors. And if you have suspected that all of these culture war complaints are tied together, this group has clearly gathered them all in one basket, a unified field theory of far-right grievance. 

Watch this MFL chapter chair from Seminole Florida talk to her board and quickly tie it all in a bow. 

I heard someone say a great awakening is usually preceded by a rude awakening. 10 words that could surely be the mantra over our country the last 16 months. 18 months ago the majority of parents naively believed school boards were set in place by their vote for the sole purpose of protecting their rights and values inside public schools. March 2020 changed that. Suddenly facing lockdowns and mandates parents found themselves in a massive rude awakening. As devastating as the consequences have been, I actually thank God for this rude awakening, because without it we would not have a great awakening. Ironically you and school boards across the country, while masking our children, found your hidden motives and operational methods being unmasked....Today it's about masks. Tomorrow it's about isolating and segregating the unvaccinated. Then it's CRT being disguised as equity training to skirt new state legislation. The list of offenses has become the proverbial elephant in the room.

Well, no. Also, I can think of a few other purposes for school boards, like, say, education stuff.  But then she goes on to threaten the board because their day is passing and the newly awakened-but-not-woke parents will rise up and get rid of them. The sense of grievance, of victimized by the Grand Conspiracy comes through the MFL website's call for joining as well:

Are you tired of feeling like you are alone in your concerns for the future of your children? Do you try to speak to community leaders about your concerns and your voice goes unheard? There is power in numbers and the purpose of our organization is to fight for the survival of America by unifying, educating and empowering parents.

Are there deep pockets backing this outfit/ There's no evidence I've found, and while they have been picked up by the Trumpist hard right ecosystem quickly, that could be backing or it could be that they're just the perfect group to promote that narrative. And this is no group of June Cleavers--these are smart, professional women. MLF has been picked up as part of the professionally astro-turfed Parents Defending Education, but MLF appears to have arrived a few months earlier.

Time will tell. Mothers for Liberty is worth watching because when it comes to white disenfranchised disenchantment, the raging culture wars, and the belief that the public school system is a dark conspiracy between unions and elites, these folks are the total package.




1 comment:

  1. Hit the nail on the head here, however you left one thing off. They want to remove the rights of lgbtq+ kids, because oh my, peral clutching, what if those evil children infect my child with their impure thoughts. Myself and many other concerned parents and our school board members have been harassed, threatened, cyberbullied and more by the #moms4liberty types. Karens on steroids, if you ask me. Oh my, my kids might eventually learn that sometimes boys like boys or girls like girls. Oh my, my kids might learn that our ancestors engaged in horrific behaviors towards black andbrown people. Oh my, my child might actually learn that other people matter and that it is not a good thing to be selfish.

    Doubt it. These moms are at the top of the selfish food chain. And we have massive amounts of video evidence to prove it.

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