Salvo 03.14.2023 11 minutes

Hicklibs on Parade

St. Paul, Minnesota. March 6, 2022. Because the attacks against transgender kids are increasing across the country Minneasotans hold a rally at the capitol to support trans kids in Minnesota, Texas, and around the country.

The queering of the American frontier.

So you want to reclaim the frontier? Secure the few states left that are still safe for families? Preserve the prairies those wicked coastal elites scorn as “flyover county” and “Jesus Land”? You want to return to a mythical Main Street, U.S.A., where homemade apple pies cool on every windowsill and American flags fly on every porch?

Such places still exist, but there’s a new sheriff in town—and he’s wearing size 12 Lucite pleasers and a bulging spandex g-string.

Middle America Discovers Its Edge—And Runs Right Off It

If you google any small town in “red” America and the phrase “drag brunch,” you’ll find them everywhere. The plague of low cut-top-wearing locusts is devouring the dust bowl and raiding the ranchlands. 

“Drag” is of course not what it used to be, as I’ve written about here before. The term “drag queens” no longer refers to jovial, harmless gay men in evening wear performing what used to basically be an adult clown act. They’ve been replaced by full-blown transgender women performing raunchy, X-rated stripshows as moms, grandmas, and little kids stuff dollar bills into their leather thongs. 

Of course, there have always been strippers, hookers, and dirty movie theaters in every cow town on Earth—but this is something new. They never used to let little kids into regular strip clubs, first of all. And the moms never wanted to bring their kids to regular strip clubs. 

Even the “Drag Brunch” craze is new—drag has officially left its traditional setting of smoky nightclubs and moved out into the daylight, for all to see. 

From Helena, Montana to Des Moines, Iowa, there are hundreds of venues that can satisfy your toddler’s urge to watch men imitating women in sexually explicit ways. 

One infamous 2022 “Drag a Kid to Brunch” event took place in Dallas. In it, a mortified, confused little boy is forced to walk the runway holding hands with a towering trans woman as the charming neon sign behind him screams “IT’S NOT GONNA SUCK ITSELF.” They mean lollipops, right, Mom? Right?!

In Plano, Texas last fall, an “all-ages” drag brunch attracted some unwanted attention from people who thought they lived in a conservative state. At the brunch—which was held at Ebb & Flow, an eatery in an upscale strip mall—a buffoonish man in a dress wearing cat ears sings, “My p*ssy good, p*ssy sweet, p*ssy good enough to eat,” while flashing his underwear.

In the video from the event, a four-year old girl stares in shock as the “drag” performer twerks and grinds for the ladies in attendance. 

The people in the crowd watching this man systematically strip away a little girl’s innocence look like nice friendly Texans; plump grandmas and families and the types you’d run into at the local Costco. They are not hipsters; they are not edgy. They look normal! 

This is what makes all of this so striking. These slightly downmarket Texan and Midwestern prairie home companion women have, historically, been the only thing holding this rickety old country together. They are not trailer park trash, or Juggalos, or meth heads. They do not (yet) exhibit all the pathologies of criminality and dysfunction of the Theodore Dalrymple “Life at the Bottom” underclasses, but they do exemplify the ethos he describes: “The climate of moral, cultural, and intellectual relativism – a relativism that began as a mere fashionable plaything for intellectuals – has been successfully communicated to those least able to resist its devastating practical effects.”

These are not J.D. Vance’s hillbilly relations with unfashionable opioid issues. Instead, they have chosen for themselves some rather new and elite pathologies born in advanced gender studies programs. These luxury beliefs have finally taken root way downstream from Berkeley and Yale, in the fertile soil of the heartland—and the fields are now bursting with ripe crops.

However, attending Drag Brunches is only the most visible sign of how deeply the postmodern, anti-human gender ideology has penetrated into what we used to call “middle America.” The gender studies train derailment may have happened hundreds of miles away in the universities, but the toxins that were released are now pumping through the veins of all who live there. 

Preserving Pornservatism—By All Means Necessary

​​Meanwhile, red state “conservatives” are a fraying coalition held together by a few raw political talking points as the rest of the cultural and lifestyle choices that used to undergird this vital voting bloc are fading. Old values have been worn away by TV, by life, the Internet, and by the truly decadent cultural admixture we are—all of us—slowly dissolving in.

I coined the term “pornservatives” to describe the type of person who on paper or in person looks like a good old-fashioned red-state conservative, but in practice is living a morally dubious lifestyle antithetical to anything that resembles “conservatism” or “trad” values.

You may see Trump signs on the lawn, and even a cross on the wall, but church attendance has fallen away and the kids are either stoned or dealing with baby daddies. 

Maybe they once wore “Build the Wall” t-shirts to the Trump rally, but now they’re wearing them to the swingers party at the nice house in the cul de sac. 

You may see a “Let’s Go Brandon” bumper sticker on the F-150, but inside is the broken heart of a weeping grandpa who just found out his four year-old grandson Michael has changed his name to Michelle. 

From the bosom of the Boomerwaffen normie cons has emerged an army of Red Staters who may look and sound like conservatives, but they’ve lost any cultural connection to their past. They may live in rural areas and have their grandma’s pecan pie recipe handwritten on a faded index card taped to their fridge, but the rest of the refrigerator is decorated in Pride paraphernalia. This is the 36-year-old single mother in Wal-Mart land who takes her seven-year-old son to the local Drag Brunch, and hoots as he stuffs dollar bills into the autogynephile’s hot pants. 

This archetype is so familiar and has spawned so many subtypes that other new terms have been coined. The writer known as L0mez is credited for coining the term “shitlib yokel” for a particular species of rural progressive. These are the “hicklibs,” the “hick Karens,” and the “woke yokels.” They’ve traded in their grandmother’s classic Christian clunker ideology—that one that still runs great but gets terrible mileage on social media—and exchanged it for a shiny new vehicle for glowing social affirmation.

Besides, everyone knows by now that “Christian” often is just another word for woke church ladies who like to knit pink pussy hats. Pepperdine, a so-called Christian university in California, invited local Los Angeles-area elementary schools to bring children to a bizarre transgender acrobat show this year. “Québec-based Cirque FLIP Fabrique plays with gender roles in the eclectic Muse, a refreshing view of contemporary circus.” One outraged parent shared with me that he hadn’t been informed or asked before the children were taken to the show. But this is Malibu, so no one cares.

The newly crowned queen of hicklibism showed herself recently as the forewoman of the election-meddling grand jury in Georgia. Emily Kohrs turned out to be a genuine witch, and she turned the jury into her own personal coven, greedily eyeballing Trump to see if he’ll fit in the Grand Jury cauldron. Wiccan or pagan influences are on the rise in the former Bible Belt, as you will see.

Big Pimping 2: Transgender Boogaloo

Exactly three years ago, I wrote an essay for this publication called Big Pimping, about the way a certain type of aspirational mother lives vicariously through her young daughters by grooming them into early promiscuity.

Just a few years later, this impulse has mutated into something even worse: mothers who groom their children into the deformative and deeply destructive gender cult.

Last month a video appeared on Twitter that illustrated an unpleasant side effect of the trans outbreak in red states. In it, a man is arguing with his grandson’s preschool teacher. He demands that she tell him why she forced his young grandson to put on a dress at school—twice. The teacher is a middle-aged, nice-looking white lady. There is a cross on the wall of the preschool classroom, so presumably this is a Christian school. Both adults speak in southern accents, so I am going to hazard a guess that this is somewhere in the Bible Belt; perhaps the south, maybe the midwest. Likely a “red” state. 

The teacher attempts to shut him down by telling him that he’s going to have to “speak to her director,” Karening him to death to get him to leave her alone. 

The nice Christian preschool teacher lady who hung the cross on the wall is now busy buck-breaking this man’s four-year-old grandson, little by little, and there is nothing his grandfather, or any of us, can do about it.

Or how about this typical hinterland American family: a plus-sized Kentucky mother who calls herself  “@paganwarriormama” on Tik Tok introduces her three children as her “nonbinary” daughter, a little boy she calls “trans,” and her “cis” gay child.  She quizzes the kids on camera and forces them to define the new sexuality buzzwords she herself has only recently learned. Gender indoctrination starts in the home, folks. It’s as American as apple pie! 

She’s got all the bases covered—she has secured a spot for eternity in Rainbow Heaven. When she’s not indoctrinating other rural moms into her pagan lifestyle, she’s railing against religion.

She ends one video by interviewing her hapless husband as he grills a pizza—so urbane, so sophisticated—and gloatingly asks him: “how does it feel to be the only cis straight person in our family? Does it bother you?” “Not really,” he mumbles. She has selected a sophisticated, bespoke new identity for herself and her children, even though from the outside she could step smartly into any Dairy Queen in Kentucky. 

In another TikTok posted recently on Twitter, we meet an older version of @paganwarriormama. This particular hicklib is a middle-aged white mother who wears heavy eye makeup as she preaches to the camera:

“My 12-year-old daughter recently came to me and said she was transgender and wanted to be a boy. As a Christian mother, there was only one thing I could do. And that was help my son [sic] transition, so he could be the young man that God always intended him to be. Support your kids—it’s what God wants you to do.”

She then grabs her daughter and pulls her into the video. The girl has her hair cut short and a wan smile on her face. 

This woman, Jill Wallace, has 63,000 followers on TikTok and a rainbow profile photo. In some of her videos, you can see a cross on her wall; a common theme among these good Christian ladies. 

In a 2020 video, “Mama Jill,” as she calls herself, says, “if you’re LGBTQ and your parents don’t accept you, I’m your mama now.” Then a disturbingly creepy looking bald man with a long white beard leans into the camera and says, “And I’m your daddy.” He looks like the guru of a trailer park tantric sex cult, complete with dead eyes and strange nose piercings. 

He posted another video where he practically begs gay and trans children to let him be their father. I keep waiting for them to offer children a glass of cold, refreshing Kool-Aid. In video after video, Mama Jill, in her Little Mermaid t-shirts and rainbow painted eyeshadow, implores “queer” children to come out, and let her be their mom.

You will not be surprised to learn that Mama Jill also posted a video about her grown child, an older girl, enjoying her last night at home before her “no more boobies” surgery. That makes two girls who, under her tutelage, “decided” to become boys.

Mama Jill and her creeper husband are TikTok Pied Pipers to an army of gender-confused kids. She has used her children to cash in on a newfangled form of clout—so rare and precious in her downmarket small-town community, the kind ravaged by decades of globalist trade practices.

There are real-world consequences to mothers indoctrinating children like this. In November 2022, a 22-year-old “nonbinary person” (a man) killed five people and injured dozens more at a gay nightclub. One story revealed that “Colorado Springs shooter Anderson Lee Aldrich said their mother, Laura Voepel, is nonbinary and forced them to go to LGBTQ clubs.”

Manifest Degeneracy 

Hicklib U.S.A. is where all our most elite academic ideologies—critical race theory, transgenderism, climate change—flow down into, pooling and forming fetid swamps that subsume all who encounter them. Maybe we should cheer this; after all, once a trend gets big in middle America, it’s over on the coasts. 

Dalrymple wrote, “If I paint a picture of a way of life that is wholly without charm or merit, and describe many people who are deeply unattractive, it is important to remember that, if blame is to be apportioned, it is the intellectuals who deserve most of it. They should have known better but always preferred to avert their gaze. They considered the purity of their ideas to be more important than the actual consequences of their ideas. I know of no egotism more profound.”

The nice Christian Midwest mamas and memaws are no longer going to protect what’s left of “America.” A cooler, more sophisticated, “edgy” ideology has broken through the Thin Apple Pie Line, which proved more fragile than any of us thought.

I hate to ask this, but what are American values? For a long time now, they have not included anything close to a moral code, or a commitment to wholesome child rearing. Is it carpet bombing a far-away country for 20 years and leaving a trail of bodies at the airport as we flee? Is it our President bringing a TikTok-famous trans “woman” to the White House to talk about child genital mutilation? Is it “American values” to falsely imprison nonviolent political prisoners and hide exculpatory evidence of their innocence? Is it bringing the full weight of the federal government to bear on regular people and scientists who dare to post tweets about the virus Dr. Fauci himself funded? 

What code of conduct should we live by? If you choose not to adopt the mores of your corrupted town or city, and even the flags at your City Hall seem to have sprouted new rainbow stripes, to what, then, should you pledge your allegiance to? 

I am holding out hope for a Trumpian or Muskian Freedom City in my future. I will happily zip down the town’s neoclassical Main Street in my flying Tesla minivan to watch the annual Bride parade that celebrates couples who have proudly come out—as happily married newlyweds. 

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

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