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Far-right Extremism

Butker’s misogyny is not unique, it’s the conservative agenda


First published in The Hill.

One of the highlights, or maybe lowlights, of this commencement season, happened at Benedictine College in Kansas, where Kansas City Chiefs player Harrison Butker made some unforgettable comments that quickly went viral.

Addressing women graduates, he said they were being told a “diabolical lie” about pursuing their dreams of a career, and that “the majority” of them would find their true purpose as wives and stay-at-home moms.

Butker is a kicker for the Chiefs, and women in the audience, who presumably had worked hard and paid a lot in tuition, could be forgiven if they felt like they were getting kicked around in that moment.

But is Butker just one dude with some backward ideas? Is he just a fanboy for the “tradwife” craze happening on social media? (As some observers posit, it’s men, not women, who are the real audience for that content anyway.)

And why should we care what one pro athlete at one small college graduation says?

Because there’s too much evidence that Butker is not alone. His views are emblematic of not just one cultural attitude but a policy agenda that could be coming to a legislature — or even a White House — near you.

One of the best-known and most vocal antifeminists today is Nick Fuentes, who famously once said women should not work, vote or be educated, and should wear veils in church. Fuentes has dined with Donald Trump, and his America First movement aims to infiltrate GOP infrastructure from the local level up.

Fuentes is an extremist among extremists. But he’s part of an increasingly vocal contingent promoting a vision of the past in which marriage was always between a man and a woman, where women always stayed home and cared for kids and men always were breadwinners. In this idyllic past, there was practically no crime, domestic violence, or substance abuse.

And that’s the real “diabolical lie.”

Not only was that never how the world worked, but it was also a fantasy that caused desperation and pain for millions of people.

Another lie? That the social problems we have today are caused by the “breakup” of the so-called traditional family, which was set in motion by contraception, abortion and no-fault divorce.

So now, the MAGA movement headed by Donald Trump is going after all those things.

Just days ago, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) vetoed a bill to protect access to contraception.  The bill was considered an important test by advocates hoping to protect contraception in other states.

At the federal level, House Republicans have twice blocked a national Right to Contraception Act, which would have codified the right to access birth control.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump is trying to walk back remarks he made saying he was “looking at” the issue of restricting access to contraceptives.

Perhaps most ominously, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has written that the court should revisit its decision establishing a right to contraception, as well as its rulings affirming same-sex marriage and relationships.

He did that at the same time the Supreme Court packed by Trump handed down its decision overturning Roe v. Wadeupending 50 years of legal abortion nationwide and setting the stage for a rash of state-level abortion bans.

Divorce is on the table, too. A number of MAGA politicians want to turn back the clock to the days before no-fault divorce, including several members of Congress and former presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, now a Trump campaign surrogate.

So while some argue that Butker should be ignored, that he’s just one ultrareligious guy giving a speech at an ultrareligious college, there’s a reason that his remarks struck a nerve among so many.

Americans are already losing our rights. We don’t like it. We’re deeply concerned about losing more of them.

And that’s legitimate. Donald Trump, a former president whose administration rolled back civil and human rights, is running again. His legacy is felt every day, including at the Supreme Court, which continues its cascade of harmful decisions.

There’s a good chance a second Trump term, run according to a Project 2025 blueprint that prescribes a “biblical” worldview to guide the federal government, would be worse.

So yes, in this environment it’s hard to shrug it off when you hear remarks like Butker’s. There are far too many people seeking power who think just like him.