USA TODAY International Edition

Progressiv­es who cry ‘ bigots’ should look in the mirror

- Ingrid Jacques Ingrid Jacques is a columnist at USA TODAY. You can contact her at or on Twitter: @ Ingrid_ Jacques

Last weekend, the flap over drag queens arrived in my suburban Detroit community. Demonstrat­ors in support of the story hour event at a private book store outnumbere­d opponents.

In response to her child’s question about the meaning of “bigot” on someone’s sign, a mother defined it this way, according to a local report: “Bigots are small- minded people who allow their fear of anything different to dominate their thoughts and actions.”

It’s a good definition – in this case, directed at the protesters, who were described by a local newspaper as “biblethump­ing conservati­ves.” The uproar over drag queens has been taken too far in some cases, especially when it comes to what private businesses do.

If parents want to take their kids to see drag queens read stories at a local business, that’s their prerogativ­e. It’s different, though, when taxpayer- funded schools and libraries open their doors to these activities. That deserves a robust community debate.

While this controvers­y rages, many on the right are getting slapped with the “bigot” label, though similar behavior by those on the left is often seen as justified activism.

Let me give you two recent examples. Last week, students at Stanford Law School ( one of the country’s most elite), rudely shouted down federal appeals court Judge Kyle Duncan. Duncan, a Trump appointee, never got the chance to offer his remarks. He had been invited to campus by the law school’s Federalist Society chapter.

The encounter is embarrassi­ng to watch, and the coddled students come off as spoiled brats unable to engage in a civil debate – alarming considerin­g the profession they’re pursuing.

Rather than bring order to the event and allow Duncan to speak, Tirien Steinbach, associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion, offered a severalmin­ute speech of her own, berating the judge for daring to have conservati­ve views that have brought “harm” to marginaliz­ed communitie­s.

Violating Stanford’s speech policies

Free- speech advocates have raised concerns, and the president of Stanford and the law school dean have since issued a joint apology to Duncan, calling the incident a violation of university speech policies.

Duncan accepted the apology but remains unimpresse­d by the students’ temper tantrum. In an interview with conservati­ve writer Rod Dreher, the judge said the “loathing” expressed against him was “disgusting.”

“This is a law school, for crying out loud,” Duncan said.

“It’s supposed to be training students to enter a profession where respectful disagreeme­nt, even about supremely important things, is the most basic tool of the trade. You can’t be a lawyer unless you understand that the role of a lawyer is to explain – zealously, yes, but also with care, precision and respect for your opponent – why your client should prevail.”

Meanwhile, in Manhattan, two conservati­ve women authors were last week greeted by screaming protesters at a launch party for their book, “Stolen Youth: How Radicals Are Erasing Innocence and Indoctrina­ting a Generation.”

The reaction to the book seems to prove the need for it.

Throwing more than books at the authors

The protesters accosted Bethany Mandel and Karol Markowicz, throwing not only vulgaritie­s but also drinking glasses and books at the authors. Mandel was left soaking wet. Media mogul CEO Steve Forbes, who was at the event to support the book, also got caught in the crossfire.

“Our book is a calm, rational take on the indoctrina­tion and forced conformity happening in America today and the way it is aimed at children,” Markowicz said in an interview with The Daily Wire. “The deep anger at a book they haven’t read, at the fact that opinions other than their own may even exist, wanting to shut down an event held by people with which they may disagree, it’s exactly the kind of conformity that we talk about in the book.”

It sounds like a book a lot of people need to read.

 ?? JEFF KOWALSKY/ AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES ?? Pro- and anti- drag queen protesters rally outside a book store’s Drag Queen Story Time in Royal Oak, Mich., on March 11.
JEFF KOWALSKY/ AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES Pro- and anti- drag queen protesters rally outside a book store’s Drag Queen Story Time in Royal Oak, Mich., on March 11.
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