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Local Dem leader condemns Theis rhetoric for encouraging violence

A local lawmaker is receiving additional condemnation following her fundraising email in which she accused her critics of being “groomers” that “sexualize” children.

On Tuesday, the chair of the Livingston County Democratic Party condemned State Sen. Lana Theis (R-Brighton) for using what she called “rhetoric designed to encourage political violence against her opponents.”

Judy Daubenmier characterized Theis’ remarks as “language that accuses your political opponents of actions so vile that it makes them unworthy of even existing so eliminating them is justified,” calling it “exactly the same that authoritarians throughout history have used to stir up their supporters to political violence. It is beyond the pale in a democracy.”

Daubenmier was referring to an email sent Monday, in which Theis referred to three Democratic senators: Mallory McMorrow of Royal Oak, Dayna Polehanki of Livonia and Rosemary Bayer of Beverly Hills, as “trolls” and “groomers” that “sexualize” children because they walked out of a session last week in protest of an invocation given by Theis.

Sen. Theis gives invocation 4-13-23 / Screenshot

In that address, Theis claimed that children are “under attack” from “forces that desire things for them other than what their parents would have them see and hear and know,” an apparent reference to teaching about LGBTQ+ issues and the nation’s history of racism.

“It is just the latest sign that the crazy conspiracy theories that QANON once promoted on the fringes of politics have gone mainstream in the Republican Party,” said Daubenmier. “The looney ideas that Democrats were drinking the blood of children in the basement of a pizza parlor are now part and parcel of the Senate campaign here in Livingston County.”

Daubenmier then urged any “sane Republicans left in our county” to join her in condemning what she called a “descent into lunacy.”

“Eliminationist rhetoric works not because every supporter is roused to political violence but because the majority remain indifferent,” she said. “Please, Republicans, do not be indifferent to this.”

A request for comment was made to Sen. Theis, in which she was asked if she unequivocally rejected any implied violence in her rhetoric and whether she truly believe Senator McMorrow and her colleagues are sexual predators. She responded Wednesday with the following;

“Sen. McMorrow is not naïve about politics and fundraising. I know that because it took her mere minutes to turn her Senate floor speech into a plea for campaign donations. While Sen. McMorrow is on MSNBC preaching to her choir, I’ll keep my focus on Michigan parents, who Democrats are seeking to undermine as the primary decision-makers in the education of their children.”

Meanwhile, in a response Tuesday from the Michigan Senate dais, Sen. McMorrow said she pioneered why Theis had accused her by name of grooming and sexualizing children in an email fundraising for herself.

Sen. Mallory McMorrow speaks in Michigan Senate 4/19/22

“Then I realized,” stated McMorrow. “I’m the biggest threat to your hollow, hateful scheme. Because you can’t claim that you’re targeting marginalized kids in the name of “parental rights” if another parent is standing up and saying no.”

McMorrow then went on to say that her mother taught her at a young age that, “Christianity and faith was about being a part of a community” and that “service was far more important than performative nonsense like being seen in the same pew every Sunday or writing “Christian” in your Twitter bio and using it as a shield to target and marginalize already-marginalized people.”

McMorrow then described herself as a “straight, white, Christian, married, suburban mom who knows that the very notion that learning about slavery or redlining or systemic racism means that children are being taught to feel bad or hate themselves because they are white is absolute nonsense.”

She concluded by saying “hate will only win if people like me stand by and let it happen,” and that Theis could call her whatever she wanted, but “I know who I am. I know what faith and service means, and what it calls for in this moment. We will not let hate win.”

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