Conservatives focus on ridiculous ‘culture war’ issues while the world is burning

Recently I saw the latest in a long string of articles that begin with: “Conservatives are outraged about …” (fill in the blank). In this case, it was “Conservatives are outraged at Doc Martens for creating a boot that depicts a trans person.” Trans Doc Martens are just the latest affront to the poor, beleaguered conservative movement that seems to be under assault on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, has anyone noticed that it’s been really hot lately? And not just here in DFW. In Arizona, it’s so hot that cactus plants are dying off. The entire planet recently reeled off the four hottest days since records have been kept!

But please, go on about how an LGBTQ-friendly boot maker is ruining your life while the planet speeds towards not being able to support life!

Conservatives are outraged by Mickey Mouse — well, at least conservative Florida governor and U.S. presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis is outraged by Mickey. DeSantis seems to be fighting a quixotic battle against Disney because they had the gall to criticize the right-wing governor’s pet legislation, known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, that aims to erase queer identities in primary education.
But other than that, Florida is a veritable Shangri-la — as long as you ignore the recent stories about leprosy becoming endemic there.

Meanwhile, Texas has been ranked as the No. 1 worst state to live and work in in terms of reproductive rights, healthcare (especially if you’re queer), voting rights, worker protections, inclusiveness and crime.

And have you noticed that everything seems to be more expensive lately? Inflation has been a problem for a while now. Just this morning, I came across a discussion about how homeowners insurance rates are up around 40 percent!

But conservatives are outraged by … Barbie. Yes, that movie about an iconic American toy has really got them going. Conservative pundits were gleefully predicting it would flop while going to see the movie, just so they could get mad and complain about it. It has now brought in more than $1 billion in worldwide box office sales.

Meanwhile, eight of the nine states with the highest poverty rates have Republican governors.

If you think immigration is a problem now, well, it’s just getting started. As climate change continues to gather momentum, mass migrations will occur from places that have become unlivable to places like the U.S. and Spain and other European countries. So what’s the plan? No outrage? No sense of urgency to deal with this inevitable human catastrophe?

Nope. Conservatives are instead outraged by Chick-fil-A! I must admit, I didn’t have that one on my “right-wing outrage bingo card.”

What did this chicken chain do to spark such disdain? They hired a vice president of DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion), prompting right-wingers to hurl their most potent insult — “Woke” — at them.

But what is “Woke” anyway? According to an official in the DeSantis administration, it is “the belief that there are systemic injustices in American society and the need to address them.” That sounds like a GOOD thing. Yet DeSantis himself often declares that “Florida is where Woke goes to die.”

Woke? That’s all you got? That’s your “plan?” A recent NBC News poll shows 59 percent of adults in America agree that American society is racist. Isn’t that a major problem?

The World Health Organization lists antibiotic resistance as one of the biggest threats to global health, food security and development. But conservatives are outraged by Hasbro’s “Potato Head” toy. In dropping the prefix “Mr.” and creating a toy without a pre-assigned gender, Hasbro has sent conservatives into a tizzy!

Look, if you haven’t figured it out yet, the right-wing’s “culture wars” are a distraction, the equivalent of a house being on fire but the concern being that the TV was left on.

We have a candidate for president who leads his party’s polls by a substantial margin and who is under three criminal indictments with 78 felony counts, and yet we are concerned about Chick-Fil-A and Mx Potato head? Really?

Conservatives are outraged about drag queens — now? We suddenly need laws NOW to ban drag performances? Why? What has happened to cause this sudden concern? Has a child been harmed?

Yes, children have been harmed. But not by drag performances. There was a story today about an assistant band director in Texas sentenced to 30 years in prison for taking inappropriate pictures of students.

NOT a drag queen, a band director.

And why the sudden concern about healthcare for trans youth? Why are right-wing lawmakers spending so much time and energy trying to regulate what can and can’t be done by doctors, even though every meaningful medical association disagrees with these gender-affirming care bans?

Why? It’s a distraction.

These youth are sacrificial lambs tossed to Republican primary voters. It has nothing to do with “protecting children.”

If you want to start protecting children, maybe look at what is harming them. The No. 1 cause death for children 13-19 is firearms. But by all means, go ahead and rail about gender-affirming care — which, by the way, should include those Viagra and Testosterone treatments that we hear commercials for all the time. Isn’t THAT gender affirming care too?

It’s high time we started calling politicians out! It’s time to demand they stop with the distractions! We have some very real problems with enormous consequences, and the time to confront them is long past due.

But conservatives are outraged about fake election fraud, Keurig, the NFL, Pride Nights, Target, Starbucks, green M&Ms, etc. It’s time to look at the whole chessboard — before we are checkmated for good.

Leslie McMurray is transgender education and advocacy associate at Resource Center in Dallas. She is also a regular columnist for Dallas Voice. Read more of her blogs at