A political ad from a Republican candidate for governor of Virginia is causing waves online. GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin had a mother speak about her efforts to control what books are allowed in a school curriculum.
Her reasoning? Her son was terrified by a book assigned in one an AP senior English class.
However, that wasn't the whole story and it gets weirder from there.
Youngkin's new ad features Laura Murphy, a Fairfax County mother who lobbied for a change to state policies regarding certain books in the school curriculum. She embarked on this journey, she claims, after her son suffered night terrors from reading a bookm assigned in class.
What Murphy does not mention in the ad is that the book in question is the Pulitzer Prize winning Beloved by Toni Morrison.
The book does have mature themes, and can be intense, but is also a highly acclaimed story about the psychological effects and pain of slavery. There are scenes involving rape, and the murder of an infant.
As the political ad was shared online, people realized they knew who Murphy's son was. Blake Murphy is a 27-year-old lawyer for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
His fear over the book about the horrors of slavery was so great, it's still being used as a political tool nearly ten years later.
This, of course, led to many ridiculing the situation.
Murphy sought to have school policies changed and have the book banned while she lobbied for more control over what is involved in school curriculum.
However, there are some important details being left out of her version of events.
To start, Blake was 17 or 18 years old at the time, old enough to see R-rated movies, including the one made based on Beloved. Additionally, the book was only assigned for an A.P. English class, a college level course, where one might expect the discussion of mature themes.
Finally, students had the option to opt out of any book they read if they felt uncomfortable with it.
So what was the point of Murphy's crusade?
Youngkin's stances don't end at literary censorship. The Republican candidate has also been accused of promoting election fraud conspiracies over the 2020 Presidential Election, rubbing shoulders with far-right extremists, and engaging in culture war fights over the pandemic response.