Betty White, Daughters of the King, & “Let’s Go Brandon!”
America’s Beloved Golden Girl & Conservative Hypocrisy
By now, most everyone has heard about the comedy of errors that resulted in the conservative catchphrase “Let’s Go Brandon!”.
If you have a boomer relative that frequently shared images of Trump with Jesus (or Charles Manson) hovering over his shoulder or walking beside him on the water, you’ve probably grown tired of the memes being shared on social media.
At this point it’s become ubiquitous, overheard at sporting events at every level and appearing everywhere from right-wing politician’s masks (at least they’re wearing one?) to bumper stickers to custom children’s boutique clothing BST groups.
It’s the last one that was the final straw for fellow blogger (and speaker, and best-selling author) Mary Katherine Backstrom. In a recent Facebook post, she lamented the fact that this sophomoric phrase, this ridiculous example of the very childish, hate-based insults that Trump normalized during his tenure in office, has become so commonplace in spaces frequented by the very same people who claim to love Jesus.https://holyhotmess.com/
In particular, it was a shirt similar to this one, which reads, “Give us Betty back & take Brandon”. Aside from the cringe-worthy grammar, the sentiment itself is staunchly contradictory to what these women, who frequently declare themselves “Daughters of the King” on their social media profiles, claim to stand for.
Setting Betty aside for a moment, it’s hard to get past these professed Jesus-lovers literally wishing someone dead.
After all, these are the very same people who proudly call themselves “pro-life” — though in reality, they’re usually only pro-birth, because they rarely support life-sustaining policies like welfare and healthcare and see these children and their mothers as a drain on society, a poor use of taxpayer money, once they’re born.
They seem to be missing (perhaps willfully?) the overarching commands of Jesus (to take care of the poor and sick; to be a voice for the marginalized; to simply love God and love people) in favor of espousing Old Testament-inspired condemnation of anyone who is different from— and therefore deemed less than — themselves. Many of them also proudly perpetuate a Joel Osteen-esque prosperity gospel that is completely antithetical to anything Jesus preached.
In fact, Jesus himself never wanted to be a king.
In the story of the loaves and fish, when Jesus multiplied the meager offerings of a boy in the crowd to feed the multitudes (and never asked who among them could pay for their share, or was worthy of receiving such a gift from the Messiah), it was said:
When the people saw the sign that Jesus had performed, they began to say, “Truly this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
Then Jesus, realizing that they were about to come and make Him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by Himself.
— John 6: 14–15
He rode into Jerusalem for what became his final days on Earth on a humble donkey rather than a majestic white horse…he never wanted to be an earthly king of earthly things.
That, it seems, is what these Daughters of the King are forgetting in their eager participation in the “Let’s Go Brandon” proclamations, expressing their discontent with the policies of the Biden administration.
Then again, maybe that’s where the biggest issue lies here— instead of increasing their bottom lines like Trump’s tax cuts did, Biden’s policies have elevated children, the elderly, and people with disabilities out of poverty in record numbers.
It seems what they really should be saying, then — you know, as followers of Jesus — is thank you, Brandon.
Inherent in the “Let’s Go Brandon!” asininity is its underlying meaning, “Fuck Joe Biden!”. The Daughters of the King are always quick to criticize and condemn liberal sources of profanity, decrying them as immoral and unacceptable — especially in the context of their impressionable children’s preciously innocent ears.
If it wasn’t so infuriatingly maddening, I would find this hypocrisy hilarious.
To borrow from Golden Girls’ repertoire, picture this: Texas, 2018. Beto O’Rourke took the stage in El Paso on live TV to deliver an impassioned concession speech after receiving 48.3% of the votes in the race for one of Texas’s seats in the U.S. Senate to Ted Cruz’s 50.9%.
He said of his call to Cruz:
What I pledged on behalf of all of us is that in this time of division, with the country as polarized as I can remember it in my life, all of this bitterness, if there is anything we can do to help him in his position of public trust to ensure that Texas helps lead the country in a way that brings us back together around big things we want to achieve, whether that is making sure we face any threat against this country or that we are there for every single person who needs a helping hand so we can let your full potential, the ability to see a doctor and receive medication you need, I want to work with him. I will work with anyone to make sure we lead on that.
— Vox Transcript
After thanking El Paso (his home town and where he began his political career on the city council in 2005) and his family, he said to his campaign, a massive, modern grassroots effort supported almost solely by volunteers:
I want to thank this amazing campaign of people. Not a dime from a single PAC. All of you showing the country how to do this. I am so fucking proud of you guys.
Afterwards, my news feed was filled with expressions of indignation from my conservative acquaintances, most of whom have since unfriended me.
Some called it “terrible”; others, “hypocrisy at its [sic] finest”…I’m not sure exactly what part was hypocritical, though — Beto has never shied away from dropping F-bombs. Maybe their proclamations were self-revelatory rather than genuine criticisms.
Whatever the case, I took the opportunity to point out that the same people who were currently expressing outrage over the F word never commented on Trump’s foul comments, especially the ones that indicated inappropriate sexual actions, like his now-infamous taped conversation with Billy Bush of Access Hollywood.
At this point everyone in the United States (and most of the rest of the world as well, if I ventured a guess) is familiar with these disgusting lines, but far be it from me to not share them at every given opportunity as a reminder of what roughly a third of the country still supports:
Of Nancy O’Dell, Bush’s co-host at the time, Trump said:
I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it.
I did try and fuck her. She was married.
And I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping. She wanted to get some furniture. I said, “I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.” I took her out furniture — I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.
Of Arianne Zucker, actress on Days of Our Lives, on which Trump was making a cameo, he says:
I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.
Wholly unsurprisingly, my comments were deleted and I was promptly blocked. Apparently the “my First Amendment rights are being violated because it isn’t publicly acceptable to say hateful things anymore” crowd doesn’t like to have their pharisaism pointed out to them.
Ted Cruz himself is also guilty— in 2018, he frequently decried the unsuitability of Beto O’Rourke’s rallies for kids specifically due to his use of the F word.
“Beto O’Rourke wants to be a senator,” the ad starts with, followed by a short clip of O’Rourke saying “f**k that” at a campaign event. The ad continues, broken up in certain parts by four more short clips of O’Rourke cursing at various speaking events on the campaign trail.
“So, he’s showing up across Texas, sharing his wit … his wisdom … and his character,” the ad says. “If Beto shows up in your town, maybe keep the kids at home. Beto O’Rourke, he’s showing the f**k up.”
It appears that he changed his tune by 2021, though, as he enthusiastically embraced the Let’s Go Brandon/Fuck Joe Biden catchphrase.
The Twitterverse was quick to rib Cruz for his juvenile tweet, with several pointing out that while he fled to Cancun during Texas’s ice storm and electric grid failure last February, “Brandon” has passed a critical infrastructure bill — and, you know, won a presidential election.
Prior to that, Cruz Tweeted a video of himself chanting the tired phrase with a fan at a Houston Astros game — which he attended with his 13-year-old daughter Caroline. It really begs the question of whether using a euphemism for the F word is really appropriate for suggestible young ears, doesn’t it? (/sarcasm)
Incidentally, Caroline herself recently took to Tik Tok to express her frustrations with being associated with her father and his political views, which she said she mostly disagrees with.
She also said that her crop top, which ended several inches above her belly button in a photo she’d shared of herself earlier in the day, was photoshopped longer to fit her father’s conservative stances and audience for the Cruz family’s 2021 Christmas card. In it, her expression personifies every Texan who is currently (and unwillingly) subject to Cruz and Abbott’s lunacy.
Her Tik Tok account has since been made private after going viral.
Now back to Betty.
Betty White was a national treasure. Like a recent Facebook post said, we should all live our lives so that if we die at 99, it will be universally declared too soon.
Betty was forever quick-witted and possessed a gift for humor that frequently bordered on what was deemed “acceptable” at the time, yet was typically readily and joyfully accepted because of her persona as an innocent grandmotherly figure — so many of us tend to associate her with her character Rose on Golden Girls, but her jokes often tended more toward her more risqué counterpart, Blanche.
Aside from her beloved exuberant personality, however, she was also an outspoken advocate for the rights of the least of these and the persecuted — namely, animals, the LGBT community, and others who are marginalized.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center recently Tweeted the following story about Ms. White:
She broke her silence on political matters in 2012, when she was 90, to endorse President Obama for re-election.
The same President Obama that conservative comedy often portrayed as a monkey, or worse, lynched, during his eight years in office.
Conservative comedy, of course, might very well be an oxymoron considering that it relies so often and so heavily on racist, sexist, and homophobic jokes —in other words, the very antithesis of Betty White.
No, I don’t believe for a second that Ms. White would have ascribed to the fundamentally juvenile, asinine, and lazy joke that is “Let’s Go Brandon!” and all it encompasses.
In fact, I find it supremely hard to believe that she would have ever supported Donald Trump or ascribed to his xenophobic views in the first place — the same views that are too often wholeheartedly embraced by the so-called “Daughters of the King.”
It seems much more likely that she would have aligned herself with the likes of Beth Moore, who has become quite vocal in her views on subjects like this in recent years. In March, Moore publicly split from the Southern Baptist Church of her roots, saying,
“I am still a Baptist, but I can no longer identify with Southern Baptists,” Moore said in the phone interview. “I love so many Southern Baptist people, so many Southern Baptist churches, but I don’t identify with some of the things in our heritage that haven’t remained in the past.”
— Washington Post
Moore has joined the ranks of outspoken progressive Christian voices and church critics like the late Rachel Held Evans, Sarah Bessey, Jen Hatmaker, and her fellow beloved star, Dolly Parton, along with their male counterparts John Pavlovitz, Rev. William J. Barber, II, and Rev. Dr. Chuck Currie — even Pope Francis, in more recent times — and churches like the Clackamas United Church of Christ in Milwaukie, Oregon, whose refreshingly candid signs inspire left-leaning Christians around the globe.
No, Betty White certainly wouldn’t have found humor in “Let’s Go Brandon!” — though it isn’t a stretch to imagine her candidly saying, “Fuck Trump!” — or referred to herself as a Daughter of the King, unless it was in jest.
Instead, she used her platform to do the work of loving others as they were and advocating for their free existence and acceptance…kind of like Jesus commanded of us.
We need more Betty Whites in the world.