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Love Letters to Glenn Youngkin: Getting Media Adoration While Going After My Kids – and Worse

Do you know who we got no support from? Definitely not Greg Schneider of the Washington Post...Molly Ball of TIME Magazine...Karen Tumulty, the Deputy Editor of the Washington Post

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by Kellen Squire

Well, after a months-long saga, the appointee of Governor Glenn Youngkin who hunted up pictures of my children online, mocked them publicly, invited other people to do the same, and then doubled down when challenged by a reporter, is now “seeking opportunities elsewhere,” out of state.

I guess one of Youngkin’s consultants decided the baggage of unapologetically standing behind someone whose morals let them refer to a five-year old in terms that made even jaded politicos gasp would look bad for him in Iowa and New Hampshire. The fact it took almost a month for that to happen means one of two things:

  • Either the Youngkin camp was too incompetent to vet their appointees beforehand, and, when presented with the evidence of what they’d missed, doubled down because they’d rather repeatedly slam their own hand in a car door than admit to a progressive they’d made a mistake, or
  • They knew the whole time and simply didn’t care, because either I keep quiet to protect my kids, or I speak up to protect anyone else from having to be attacked by one of the Governor’s appointees- who, again, was placed on a task force aimed at addressing the bullying of LGBTQ kids after he bullied my LGBTQ teenager! Either way, a win for them; they get to hit and threaten the frontrunner in the bluest house district the VA GOP still holds.

Although on reflection, I suppose both could be true. After all, this is all from a governor who was incredulous when anyone asked why his 17-year old son attempted to commit felony voter fraud.

Twice.

The support we received in response, however, was nothing short of amazing. Our community stepped up beyond all expectations to stand with us. I had former statewide elected officials, current federal and state legislative officials, the party committees of two of the four counties in my district, and even one of my opponents reach out to me to tell me they stood with us and would do whatever needed to be done to protect my family.

Do you know who we got no support from?

Definitely not Greg Schneider of the Washington Post, who gleefully regaled readers on Glenn Youngkin’s trip to Nebraska. Certainly not Molly Ball of TIME Magazine, who gave Glenn a lionizing not seen since last fall’s “mystery debate” debacle. And absolutely not Karen Tumulty, the Deputy Editor of the Washington Post, whose article “Why Glenn Youngkin — or someone like him — must run in 2024″ was so egregious the Chief of Staff of the Governor of Illinois (rightly) felt compelled to chime in.

While Governor Youngkin was standing behind the comments made by his appointee, even after they doubled down and said aloud if I didn’t want my kids attacked, I should have “made better life choices”, these publications posted breathless articles about how Glenn Youngkin was an “affable, fun-loving, up for anything” kind-of guy.

Nary a word about his LGBTQ panel appointee cyberbullying my LGBTQ teenager. Or about his teacher “snitch line” (except to sneer bizarrely that “Youngkin’s ‘tip line’ has not led to a new era of teacher McCarthyism”). Absent was any mention of him attempting to do as Donald Trump did and eviscerate competence in Virginia’s government, nor how his administration has people in it who believe that LGBTQ kids don’t deserve school lunch, believe global warming is a giant hoax, someone willing to fly across the country, arm themselves with a box cutter, and march onto the UVA campus looking to deface student rooms, someone who refers to the non-existent “Northern invasion of the South” in the US Civil War as being “just like we see Russia invading Ukraine”– and on, and on, and on.

Nope; nothing about that. Just stenographers for the Glenn Youngkin for President campaign, laundering the reality of who he is and what he represents in a demented attempt to avoid conservative attacks on “the liberal media”.

This is why, regardless of what Governor Youngkin did, it was a “win” for them. Because the media bends and contorts themselves into knots to try and forestall any criticism from the right, knowing progressives tolerate objective reporting and won’t bring down the same kind of criticism the GOP will. They expect Republican politicians to do scummy things, and so when they do, they generally shrug, at best. Meanwhile, if I ever went after one of my opponents’ kids, I would not only be (rightfully!) eviscerated by the entire political and media commentariat in Virginia, the media would then use my bad example to lambast every single progressive in the Commonwealth, as if they were personally responsible for everything I’ve ever done in my life.

And the GOP damn well knows this is true.

Look, I don’t want the media to “call the game” for anyone. Sure, as a politician, I’d love to see only positive articles everywhere, reporting our campaign broke fundraising records, had the second most small donors in the entire Commonwealth the last reporting period, etc, etc. But even if my local newspaper wasn’t down to literally only two reporters for a metro area of a half a million people (from a newsroom that used to have DOZENS reporting just on our community!), I would never expect that. Which, let’s not forget, is half the problem here – nothing excuses these kinds of breathless tongue bathings of a politician, but we’ve seen journalism squeezed and undermined, particularly local journalism, over the last two decades to the point where there is no chance that they can cover everything the public needs to know.

But the things I mentioned above about Glenn Youngkin aren’t conjecture. They don’t require extensive research. They’re not opinions. Hell, they’re not even hidden! It’s all right out in the open. And we’ve been down this road before, when Donald Trump rode $5 billion in unearned media coverage all the way to the White House, while “emails” got a hundred times the coverage of any of his scandals that actually mattered from “journalists” desperate to avoid being targeted by right-wing hatred.

They might be afraid – but I’m damn well not. I’m not afraid to stand up to the GOP, not now, and certainly not when I’m elected to serve in the House of Delegates. I will unapologetically stand up for every Virginian, not just here in central Virginia, but in every holler and hill, every zip code of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Our people deserve nothing less.

Kellen Squire is an emergency department nurse running for the Virginia House of Delegates. Donate today, and help us flip the bluest seat the Virginia GOP still holds!

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