A furry problem: how Republicans weaponize their lies to hide their own prejudice


Iris Libson

Art by: Iris Libson. Scott Jensen has repeatedly spread the lie that elementary school students are allowed to use litterboxes in certain schools.

Lexi Han, Section Editor

Campaigns used to exist as the fight to win the hearts of Americans in order to improve their lives. But recently, campaigns exist as a vicious race to brainwash Americans. Over the past few years, Republican politicians have spread misinformation, turning citizens against each other and polarizing our country. 

At his campaign stop in Hutchinson, Minnesota on Sep. 29, Dr. Scott Jensen, the Republican candidate for Minnesota’s gubernatorial election, spoke of litter boxes placed in schools to accommodate children who identify as furries. Furries are those who identify as anthropomorphic animals and develop a “fursona.”

“What are we doing to our kids? Why are we telling elementary kids that they get to choose their gender this week? Why do they have litter boxes in some of the school districts so kids can pee in them because they identify as a ‘furry’? We’ve lost our minds,” Dr. Jensen said at one of his campaign stops. 

 In the now-viral video reposted on numerous social media platforms, Dr. Jensen completely disrespects the LGQTQ+ community and the significance of gender identity. Dr. Jensen attacks school systems that strive to allow children the freedom to explore their true selves, and in doing so he completely demeans the impact of gender identity.

The Minnesota Department of Education says there is no evidence of classroom litter box use. When asked to cite specific evidence, Dr. Jensen’s campaign replied with “no comment.” His Democratic opponent and incumbent in the race Tim Walz responded that “if Scott is talking about things, there’s misinformation in it.”

Dr. Jensen’s lie reflects a Republican trend across the country. Republican misinformation isn’t just reserved for anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment, their hoaxes cover dozens of topics ranging from the Jan. 6 insurrection, COVID-19, sexual assault, and even racism.  

Racist politicians, have repeatedly attempted to suppress discussions of racism in school under the guise of Critical Race Theory (CRT). The primary claim of CRT is that systemic racism has been embedded in U.S. institutions throughout American history. 

Yet, these right-wing politicians falsely claim that CRT is child abuse, oppresses white students, and pushes Marxism. They have even labeled CRT as “the cancer” in schools.

Right-wing politicians including Dr. Jensen, mainly in Virginia, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi, remain opposed as they push their own narrative surrounding CRT. Since 2021, 42 states have introduced bills to restrict teaching of CRT and discussions of sexism and race, such as introducing bills, restricting teaching CRT, and even the discussion of sexism. 

“Another talking point is that, it teaches our kids to hate one another and feeds a destructive false narrative about our country’s history. Can we strive to be better when it comes to equality? Absolutely. Trying to indoctrinate our kids with this garbage won’t do us any favors!” Dr. Jensen said on Twitter

Unfortunately, in the battle against CRT, conservative politicians are actually winning. 

A study conducted by Monmouth University in November of 2021 discovered that most people supported the ideology of CRT but not when it was called “critical race theory.” 75% of those in the study supported educating the history of racism but when asked about CRT, approval fell to only 43%. 

Since CRT continues to be twisted, the debates all over the nation in school boards, news outlets, and by politicians over the issue are pointless. What people fail to see is that CRT is rarely included in K-12 curricula and instead in higher education courses and law schools. 

Politicians are aware that they are completely going against the definition of CRT and that’s precisely their intent. All they want is to increase their power by controlling the amount of information accessible to their constituents. “We will eventually turn it [CRT] toxic, as we put all of the various cultural insanities under that brand category. The goal is to have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think ‘critical race theory,’’ Christopher Rufo a conservative activist and reporter tweeted in March of 2021.

Right-wing politicians know they can get away with it because so far, a solid portion of America believes the lies they have been fed. Those with authority and power in society break our trust by feeding us misinformation. Young and adult minds will bend towards corrupt agendas and America will no longer be free of righteously individual thought. 

Misinformation will continue to worsen America’s polarization even more, pulling political groups and policies farther and farther apart until the nation is beyond unity. We need to stop trusting politicians that have continuously proved that they can not and should not be trusted with power.