Saturday, December 02, 2023

Every Culture War Warrior a Hypocrite

I am no longer surprised by the sexual or violent hypocrisy of the Republican Party - especially here in the Sunshine State - I am only saddened by the lives broken by their misdeeds. That the Florida GOP chair is under criminal investigation for sexual battery shouldn't surprise anyone (via Emily L. Mahoney at the Tampa Bay Times): 

The Sarasota Police Department is investigating an allegation of sexual battery made against Christian Ziegler, the chairperson of the Republican Party of Florida.

In response to a request for a complaint filed against Ziegler, the Sarasota police provided the Tampa Bay Times with a heavily redacted report from early October that only revealed a few words, including “raped” and “sexually battered...”

That it took until the end of November to get this story out is troubling. The follow-up details - via Max Greenwood also with Tampa Bay Times - get messier:

A search warrant affidavit and 911 audio released to news outlets on Friday shed light on a recently surfaced allegation that Florida GOP chairperson Christian Ziegler sexually assaulted a woman with whom he and his wife had had a previous sexual encounter.

The affidavit, obtained by the Orlando Sentinel and ABC Action News in Tampa, offered the most detailed public account yet of the incident, which has roiled Florida GOP leadership and led to calls for Ziegler to resign...

That the state Republicans - who usually circle the wagons to defend their own - are already calling for their chairman to resign should be a huge red flag that what they already know (or suspect) is going to get much worse. Back to Greenwood:

The woman, a longtime friend of Ziegler’s, told Sarasota police she “was sexually involved one time over a year ago” with Ziegler and his wife, and had agreed to have a second sexual encounter with the couple on Oct. 2, according to an excerpt of the affidavit posted online by ABC Action News. But when Bridget Ziegler was unable to make it, the woman told investigators she canceled the plans, texting Christian Ziegler that she was “mostly in it for” his wife.

Minutes later, when the woman opened her front door to walk her dog, Christian Ziegler was standing in the hallway outside of her apartment, according to ABC Action News’ reporting on the affidavit. He then proceeded to enter her apartment, where he allegedly raped her.

According to both reports on the affidavit, the woman said Ziegler did not use a condom during the encounter and told the victim, “I’m leaving the same way I came in.”

By this allegation, we can determine that Ziegler held expectations that HE was to get sexually pleasured, it was all for himself and his ego and his power, and to hell whatever the woman or his wife wanted. Christ, what an asshole.

ABC Action News reported that, after the alleged assault, the victim called her sister and went to Sarasota Memorial Hospital, where a sexual assault kit was performed.

The alleged assault was reported to police two days after the encounter, on Oct. 4. Audio of a 911 call from that day reveals that a friend of the victim had asked law enforcement to perform a wellness check on the woman after she reportedly failed to show up to work for two days...

There is a lot of physical and eyewitness testimony here, enough to underscore that something happened to the woman and it traumatized her.

For all the tragedy that this alleged rape is, this is also high drama considering who Ziegler's wife Bridget is. Bridget Ziegler just happens to be a co-founder of a Far Right censorship group calling themselves Moms for Liberty, who are not about liberty they are going after books and literature they claim are "woke" and "sexually deviant" in our public schools and libraries. Not only the positive LGBTQ+ books but books about racism and our nation's history with slavery.

Bridget is someone who openly railed against transgender people as well as gays and lesbians, yet here she is enjoying a ménage with another woman with the implications they were both into each other (which must have gnawed at Christian's ego). As Zac Anderson at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune quotes ex-Republican pundit Ron Filipkowski, "The hypocrisy is off the charts:"

Filipkowski has known both Zieglers for years. He remembers when Christian Ziegler was a young party activist just starting to make appearances at Sarasota GOP meetings...

Bridget Ziegler had joined the Sarasota County School Board in 2014 and occasionally waded into polarizing issues in the years leading up to the pandemic, including a hot button debate about transgender bathroom use in Sarasota schools.

The pandemic led to a wave of conservative activism around schools, and both Zieglers – who have young children they often highlight in debates about education policies – became leading advocates for the education culture war agenda championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, which attracted the most national attention with a bill limiting discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools.

Bridget Ziegler stood behind DeSantis as he signed the legislation, derided by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill – a nickname that still irks its supporters. The governor later appointed her to a board overseeing the special district that governs Disney’s properties in Central Florida. Disney has been battling with DeSantis over the company’s opposition to the measure, now in state law.

Along the way, the Zieglers often clashed with Democrats, LGBTQ activists and other critics of their agenda. Those critics have been quick to bash the Zieglers in the wake of the latest allegations, often pointing to alleged hypocrisy...

What we're seeing with the Zieglers is what Frank Wilhoit observed about conservatism: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect. The Zieglers are clearly behaving as the In Group, a part of the state Republican power structure now running things since the 2000s, and eager to enforce a culture war against sexual-identity minorities - gays, lesbians, trans, poly, the Out Groups - to maintain their power status. 

Bridget is more than happy to kick one trans kid off a sports team (if not out of school altogether), more than happy to ban any talk of gay/lesbian relationships (with an eye towards banning such relationships for real), all the while penciling in on her calendar a sexual tryst that violates the religious sanctity of "family values" she and her husband publicly trumpet.

Whether she and the rape victim originally consented to an affair with the husband is not at issue here. What are at issue is Christian's violence towards that woman in the trio, and the hypocrisy of both Christian and Bridget pushing a Family Values agenda they themselves did not respect.

But that hypocrisy is what drives the Far Right in the first place. Their Culture War isn't about what consenting adults - or young adults growing into who they feel they are - are doing. The Culture War is about the power, of maintaining a status quo where only the elites can indulge themselves and everyone else will get punished for "deviancy".

It's not just the Zieglers. The more you look at the holier-than-thou Far Right, you see far too many "religious leaders" and "youth pastors" getting charged as sex offenders towards children, you see far too many elected officials bragging and showing off about their conquests, and you see far too many other elected officials refusing to do what needs doing to protect rape and assault victims or to reform a legal system that doesn't handle rape cases seriously.

Hypocrites everywhere among the Far Right. Any sane nation would express their outrage by voting every last one of those wingnut hypocrites out of office.

1 comment:

dinthebeast said...

One can only hope that her lesbian proclivities are being used in anti- MfL campaign materials.
Which, by the way, is the only situation I would approve of such measures. Peter Huestis, who lives in DC and used to blog as Princess Sparkle Pony had that rule: he would only out a gay politician if said politician publicly supported anti-gay policies, like in the case of "gay Aaron Schock."

-Doug in Sugar Pine