• Sona Chaturvedi

This Isn't About Dr. Seuss

Photo Credit: Screenshot. These six Dr. Seuss books with racist imagery will no longer be published.

The right has been waging a culture war for decades.

For the record, Democrats did not censor Dr. Seuss, ban the Bible or cancel Christmas, as the GOP would have you believe.

In terms of Dr. Seuss, it was actually the publisher's decision to discontinue some of the more problematic writings. There hasn't been a verifiable concerted effort by Democrats to conspire against any traditional holidays. However, like clockwork, the imaginary “War on Christmas” is repeated every year by conservative media and GOP lawmakers.

It’s not about anything but maintaining the traditional family unit. By traditional, I mean white, straight, God-fearing “real Americans.” This fictional narrative is designed to warp the truth and to maintain control in the hands of white men. Culture wars have a long history in our society, according to political writer Chauncey DeVega. There were culture war battles in the 20th century about “Black music,” such as rock 'n' roll, and its supposedly damaging influence on young, white people, he said. DeVega wrote that even comic books and roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons have been targeted. “Feminists were supposedly going to brainwash young women and girls and turn them against the ‘traditional family,’” DeVega wrote. “Socialists have been a long-running bugaboo, throughout the 19th, 20th and now the 21st centuries.”

In the warped minds of the GOP, it's easier to distract people than let Joe Biden have a moment. Instead of discussing their reasons for voting against the historic COVID-19 relief package that will help millions of Americans, including their own constituents, Republicans would have you believe the most pressing issue of the time is Dr. Seuss.

We have countless instances of these types of distractions. The truth is the GOP wants Americans to believe the “woke” culture that leads to accountability for privileged white Americans has gone too far. This has always worked for them in the past with certain voters.

This time, things may be different and they may have misjudged the priorities of the majority of Americans. Aside from the fact that COVID-19 changed everything, many Americans now literally can’t afford to live in a world of false narratives.

Conspiracy theorists and staunch Trump supporters aside, Biden enjoys strong approval ratings despite these vapid efforts to discredit his presidency.

A weekly Reuters/Ipsos Core Political Survey, carried out from March 17-18, put Biden's approval rating at 59 percent. That is up five points from a similar poll carried out a week earlier. This has been buoyed by a boost among independent voters whose rating went from 48 to 56 percent.

Not all Americans will come around to the right side of history, but a percentage are acutely aware of what is at stake here, and enough voters trust Biden.

It is understandable why the Republican Party is so terrified. They know if people vote, they are unlikely to hold the highest office ever again. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said as much when making the argument against expanded mail-in voting. “We are going to lose the ability to elect a Republican in this country,” he warned.

Throw Donald Trump into the mix, and it could spell disaster for the party. Trump has refused to let the GOP use his name or profit off it since he left office. It’s standard practice for a former president of the same party to assist future and current members. But not Trump.

What is important to remember is we are only two months into the Biden administration. If he continues on this trajectory, undoubtedly his approval numbers will rise, or at the very least remain steady. It would seem, given everything that has been going on in this country, bringing back the old culture war tactic may have been a miscalculation. It isn't business as usual anymore for the vast majority of Americans.

Perhaps, instead of Dr. Seuss, Republicans should be reading tea leaves.