Moderate Republicans need to reclaim their party from the paranoid, culture-warring faction controlling their platform. I’m sincerely embarrassed for those on the far-right fringe who are willing to be swept up in Fox or Newsmax hysteria. This week’s message of fear is about some vague threat posed by drag queens, inclusive LEGO characters and too-sexy M&M’s.

A thought came to me recently that the opposite of “woke” is asleep. But woke is just code for things that don’t promote whiteness, or straightness or the idea that our country’s best years were in the 1950’s. “Drag” is being used as code for anything gay, queer or trans-ish. This rhetoric keeps older, angrier Republicans enraged and engaged while limiting party losses of younger conservatives who are more likely to support gay and trans people and the protection of their rights.

I must say that the far-right obsession with other people’s sexuality is a profoundly weird route to a moral high ground. I’m pretty straight, but not entirely (judge me how you will), and I can say with confidence that gay and trans people don’t spend their lives imagining all the weird stuff that upstanding, Christian heterosexuals might be doing in their bedrooms.

Andy Asmus

Walla Walla