Commentary: Moms for Liberty, What Have You Gained Through All of This?

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Davis, CA – Beth Bourne has asked multiple times, “How I could be more effective in communicating with Davis parents my concerns with our public schools promoting gender ideology in K-12th grades?”  She adds, “I believe this is the biggest social and medical scandal of our time.”

She has said a number of times that she would like a forum hosted by the school district on gender identity.

On the surface that ask doesn’t seem unreasonable—the problem that she doesn’t seem to understand is that that ship has now long since sailed and the bridge has been burned.

Many in the community who find themselves somewhat in the middle on this issue might have been open to have a public discussion last spring before all occurred that has transpired in the last month.

But that was before.

That was before a public meeting was shut down.  I continue to believe that the librarian erred in doing so.  That free speech is of fundamental importance to a free society.  And that we should have an open airing of differing opinions—even ones we don’t particularly like.

I believe that critics were absolutely in the right to complain about the meeting being shut down and I believed at the time it was a mistake.

But none of that justifies what has happened next.

There have been at least six public threats to the library and school facilities throughout the community.

There have been people who have personally received threats at their home.

Our kids have had their education disrupted.  Many are now dealing with anxiety and concerns about their safety.

Teachers have their safety threatened and their workplace impacted.

Parents have had to disrupt their days and worry about the safety of their kids.

I have spoken to more than a few parents who worry about what happens next.  Who worry about what happens after the threats grow stale—will the individuals grow tired and give up or will they start to take action?

This notion of false flags are a diversion.  I don’t believe it for a second.  There is nothing new about false flag allegations.  Sixty years ago this month when four children were blown up at the Birmingham Church, people claimed the civil rights movement was behind it trying to engender sympathy for their cause.  Turns out it was the KKK.

Regardless, what is unequivocally true is that at this point a community discussion is out of the question.  Even if we were inclined to do so, now is not the time with passions running as high as they are.

But, more importantly for my purposes here, the tactics of the last month have been counterproductive to whatever initial purpose Bourne and Mothers for Liberty had back in August.

She got the community’s attention all right, but not in a way that she probably wanted and not in a way that is productive for community dialogue.

People who might have been willing to listen even in July, are now angry and frustrated.

The community does not want to have dialogue at gunpoint.  That’s not dialogue.  That’s terrorism.

Even the relatively moderate establishment, the Davis Enterprise, this weekend in a rare editorial called out “Moms for Liberty.”

As they wrote: “Their neighbors, your neighbors, are under threat and there are others in this community who are complicit, at the very least, in identifying and targeting them. They can’t plead ignorance at this point. However naive or uninterested they were in the beginning about the consequences of their actions, they can no longer ignore the obvious.”

They concluded, “EVERY TIME someone publicly and baselessly accuses local school or library staff of harming children, then the lunatic fringe is going to pounce. It only takes one, and they’re out there looking for targets.

“So if you’re wondering why your kid’s school had to be on lockdown, remember that it takes a chain of anger to get to this point. And one end of that chain is anchored right here in Davis.”

The bridges have been burned.  At this point, everyone is afraid to speak out.  People are getting threats at their home.  Police resources have been diverted into finding out who is responsible.  And no one cares any more about the issues that were at the center of this back in late August.

“The important thing to remember is bomb threats are almost never real,” Chief Pytel said recently. “They are designed to threaten people, cause intimidation and fear.”

There’s real fear out there—and it’s not going to lead to the kind of results Moms for Liberty would like to see.

Pytel himself was quoted by the Bee saying that in his forty years on the force, “I don’t remember anything like this happening.”

I certainly don’t in the 25 years I have lived in this community or the 17 years I have run this publication.

Fear is not a good way to motivate dialogue.

In short, the only thing that Moms for Liberty has done is turn the community off to them and their message.  Even people who are otherwise aligned.

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Walter Shwe

    The Moms for Liberty are blackmailing the Davis School District to get their way. In exchange for their followers to stop emailing in bomb threats all the District needs to do is hold a so-called forum on gender identity. This is nothing less than blackmail. My District and my City should never give in to any form of terror and intimidation, least of all this one. This is just a precursor of things to come if a Republican gains control of the White House next year. See Project 2025. This is the Republican plan to trample the US Constitution to turn the United States in to their own ultraconservative Christian Nationalist banana republic regime. This right wing plan should strike fear in the minds and hearts in any unbiased, level-headed and sane individual.

    Project 2025

    President Kevin Roberts, in a section of Project 2025’s manifesto, claims that under the Biden administration:[12]

    “children suffer the toxic normalisation of transgenderism with drag queens and pornography invading their school libraries… Pornography, manifested today in the omnipresent propagation of transgender ideology and sexualisation of children … is not a political Gordian knot inextricably binding up disparate claims about free speech, property rights, sexual liberation, and child welfare. It has no claim to first amendment protection.”

    Roberts goes on to claim that those who produce and distribute pornography and LGBTQ+ content “are child predators and misogynistic exploiters of women” and should face jail time. This includes educators and librarians being registered as sex offenders, and the closing down of telecommunication and technology firms that “facilitate its spread”. When discussing the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Roger Severino, the Heritage Foundation’s vice-president on domestic policy, calls for the rescinding of regulations “prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, transgender status, sex characteristics, etc.”

    Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025 aims to reduce, reshape government if conservative wins president

  2. Keith Olsen

    I continue to believe that the librarian erred in doing so.  That free speech is of fundamental importance to a free society.  And that we should have an open airing of differing opinions—even ones we don’t particularly like.
    I believe that critics were absolutely in the right to complain about the meeting being shut down and I believed at the time it was a mistake.

    You’re right here David.  If the librarian had simply let the group speak none of this would’ve happened.  And the subject of the forum was about trans women competing in women’s sports, something that a vast majority of this country have concerns about.  So you could’ve just as easily have written an article titled:

    “Commentary, Shutting Down Free Speech, What Have You Gained Through All This?

        1. Keith Olsen

          You’re basically saying that if someone makes a mistake, people are justified in threatening their home and family.

          Where did I say that?  Here you go again, implying what someone meant when it was never stated.  You know that’s crap, why do you do it?  Responses like your’s is a reason why many people don’t want to comment on your blog.


          1. David Greenwald

            You said if the librarian “had simply let the group speak none of this would’ve happened.” So in effect, blaming the victim. Am I wrong? If that wasn’t your intent, what was the point of making the comment?

        2. Keith Olsen

          You said if the librarian “had simply let the group speak none of this would’ve happened.” So in effect, blaming the victim.

          What are you even talking about.  Are you saying the librarian is the victim?  You’ve got yourself so twisted now that you’re making zero sense.

           Am I wrong?


           If that wasn’t your intent, what was the point of making the comment?

          My point is if the group was allowed to speak as was their right that would’ve been the end of it.  By denying their free speech it devolved into a national issue and brought in some lunatic doing bomb threats.


          1. David Greenwald

            “What are you even talking about. Are you saying the librarian is the victim? ”

            Yes, the librarian has received death threats. That makes him and his family a victim. This is not video games, we are talking about people’s lives here and the impact on it.

          2. Don Shor

            My point is if the group was allowed to speak as was their right that would’ve been the end of it.

            No it wouldn’t.
            This individual felt it was reasonable to go to her kid’s back to school night and make a scene in the classroom to the point of being escorted from campus and then banned for two weeks.
            She felt it was reasonable to post pictures of teachers’ classrooms, with identifying information, and to name names, on social media.
            It is most likely that she or one of her associates felt it was reasonable to forward screenshots of all of this to a known provocateur on Twitter, an account whose posts have led to vicious cyber bullying and other bomb threats around the country.
            Her supporters on social media routinely call our fellow citizens groomers and pedophiles. She was directly called out on this and refused to disassociate from those comments.
            What on earth makes you think that a person who thinks those are reasonable actions would stop accelerating her behavior after being “allowed to speak”?

        3. Kendra Smith

          “My point is if the group was allowed to speak as was their right that would’ve been the end of it.
          No it wouldn’t.”
          The thing about neo-fascists and authoritarians is that they don’t stop. Ever. They will continue escalating until something or someone stops them.

          We *know* this from history.

          To claim otherwise is to be disingenuous in an attempt to soft peddle what is happening here and in this country, or to be completely deluded.

        4. Keith Olsen

          My point is if the group was allowed to speak as was their right that would’ve been the end of it.

          If the group was allowed to speak that would’ve been the end to it as far as the library incident went.  That’s what I was referring to.

    1. Walter Shwe

      The Moms for Liberty goaded the Library by purposely violating Library policy to garner maximum publicity and to provide a pretense for right wing attacks and blackmail on the Davis community from people like Keith Olsen and other conservatives from around the world. Otherwise that original event would not have been known far and wide. The Moms for Liberty representative that reserved that meeting room was informed of Library meeting room policies.  Their first attempt at the Library failed to gain much traction nationally, so they went back a second time.

      Not only that, but Keith is unwilling to stand by his own comments. That’s typical conservative double speak.

      People that stopped commenting on this site switched over to that other site. Look where that has gotten them. The site is no longer available to the public and has effectively banned itself. Poof went the magic dragon.

      1. Keith Olsen

        “Otherwise that original event would not have been known far and wide.”

        Right – should have just accepted it and kept it “quiet”.  First, shut down the speech itself, then shut down pointing it out.

  3. Brian Williams

    Fundamentally, Beth and the rest of “Moms for Liberty” may talk about wanting to have a dialogue, but everything we’ve seen over the past months has demonstrated that those statements are not made in good faith.  They’re really just looking for an opportunity to get their point of view to become the dominant policy, by any means necessary, and have no interest in actually listening to any other perspectives.  Taking any of their claims at face value is at this point irresponsible.  It’s exactly like dealing with religious zealots of any stripe, or anyone else who believes that their cause is righteous enough to justify using any means possible to achieve it.

    1. Keith Olsen

      They’re really just looking for an opportunity to get their point of view to become the dominant policy, by any means necessary, and have no interest in actually listening to any other perspectives.

      So do the people pushing back against Beth and M4L have an interest in actually listening to their perspectives?  I don’t think they do.

      1. Kendra Smith

        Their perspectives and the “evidence” they bring have been debunked time after time as misinformation or outright lies.

        Why engage with that any further? Why engage with someone who SCREAMS at the HS back to school night that “they” are “giving young girls masectomies” (a thing that isn’t happening).

        There is no engaging with that. Reasonable people should not legitimize that, fullstop.

        If they had reasonable positions, that would be another thing. 99% of their perspectives are lies and misinformation.

        And they can’t be reasonable and hear *the other side out* on the remaining 1% that could have been a topic of reasonable, civil discussion.

    2. Kendra Smith

      It is neo-fascism is what it is and people really need to get a whole lot braver in calling it out before they continue to escalate to what they *really* want: the eradication of LGBTQ+ people from public life.

        1. Kendra Smith

          Neither I nor anyone else gives a rotten, runny fig about their “stated goals.”

          Watch what they do and not what they say.

          You are an appeaser or in alignment with them. Disingenuous AF.

        2. Keith Olsen

          Neither I nor anyone else gives a rotten, runny fig about their “stated goals.”


          Watch what they do and not what they say.

          Have they eradicated anyone yet?

          You are an appeaser or in alignment with them. Disingenuous AF.

          I’m in alignment with some of their policies, like trans women should not be playing in women’s competition.  But I don’t back every policy they pursue.

          Disingenuous AF.

          So you revert to this?  David, why is this allowed?



        3. Kendra Smith

          You have the disingenuous notion that clearly malevolent actors should be taken at their word.

          I’m done engaging with you and your disingenuousness and then the pretense that you’re somehow the victim here. It’s ridiculous on its face.

        4. Kendra Smith

          I am of the belief that neither I nor anyone else owes any civility to neo-fascists or their appeasers.

          I subscribe to the paradox of tolerance. And I will always side unabashedly with the oppressed over their disingenuous oppressors.

        5. Walter Shwe

          David, why is this allowed?

          Why are any representatives from the recognized hate organization the Moms for Liberty allowed to comment on this site? This site is privately owned, thus is not subject to the 1st Amendment. Just like that other site (no longer exists), it can be moderated if the owners deem it appropriate.

  4. Dave Hart

    David, you continue to be wrong about the Librarian’s decision to shut down the event.  The event was not a deliberative or fact finding event sponsored or endorsed by an elected or appointed government authority.  It was only the use of a public building with rules and conditions of use.  No smoking, no alcohol, no vandalism and no disrespectful language to other members of the public.  If these M4L people want to stand on a soapbox in Central Park, they have that right, but they don’t get to pick and choose the rules for the use of public buildings.  The fact that they intentionally, and after warnings, broke the rules for use of the room demonstrates their lack of respect for the concept of debate or conversation.  They could have easily had their discussion and aired their point of view and still followed the rules.  They deserve no further hearing because they have an inner script that they are following and will lie to get any additional chances to slam their imaginary foes, their bogeymen and scary others not like what they want.

  5. beth bourne

    I am a lifelong Democrat and consider myself a liberal. After my family was impacted,  I became aware that the Davis school system and other entities were promoting a set of beliefs I do not agree with and believe are indeed very harmful to the young people exposed to them. I am not alone in this belief, and I am not alone among left-leaning lifelong Democrats in this belief. I wanted to do something about it because I have always believed that it is important to speak up when something is not right, and people are being harmed.
    I thought an effective means of communication would be to hold open public meetings which anyone could attend and respectfully listen to and question the point of view that was being left out of the conversation in Davis schools and in Davis generally.
    In order to do that, I joined an organization – Moms for Liberty – that had similar concerns to my own. I needed to be part of an organization to best organize the events I envisioned and to have access to the public library space in Davis.
    With the help of Moms for Liberty, and other concerned mothers in Davis, including Allie Snyder, we were able to bring in experts, including scientists, attorneys, feminists, and athletes to discuss these issues, free of charge, for the benefit and education of anyone in the Davis community who wished to attend.
    At every event, activists who did not like what was being said at these events attempted to disrupt the proceedings, but they never succeeded in stopping an event until the event about women’s sports on August 20th.
    There, our very first speaker, a young female athlete, was told by a representative of the Davis library that she had to leave the library rather than talk about the facts of what was happening in women’s sports. When other speakers attempted to speak factual language, the event was officially closed down by that library representative.
    Many people were filming and these moments went viral, understandably. The result was a great deal of commentary expressed about the fact that our event was improperly shut down.
    We wanted to hold a peaceful event, and we did. If our planned event is all that had happened, the event never would have gone viral and become, for a few hours, a national news story.
    The shutting down of the event had nothing to do with me. I did not want that to happen, and I did not make it happen.
    After the shut down of our event went viral, public opinion was obviously very strongly on the side of the women who had been silenced and kicked out of the library. A day after the event, a bomb threat came in to local media, followed by more bomb threats now even weeks later.
    No one knows who made the bomb threats or where in the world they are originating. No one knows the true motive behind the bomb threats.
    After the initial bomb threat, I and Moms for Liberty released a statement, denouncing the bomb threats and all threats of violence that would disrupt and jeopardize the safety of the community.
    The bomb threats are appalling and do not help Allie or me, nor do they help Moms for Liberty. They do not help the cause we are fighting for.  

    Beth Bourne and Allie Snyder

    1. Joseph Wisgirda

      The chain of events that led to the threats is crystal clear.

      This would never have happened had Riley Gaines chosen to keep her mouth shut. Instead, she dog whistle triggered the “Silent Majority” into action with her social media posts.

      That never would have happened had Moms For Liberty not contacted FOX NEWS and the right wing propaganda machine.

      Clear as crystal.

  6. Sharla Cheney

    I responded to Beth’s comment before and will do so again here.  Beth and Allie fail to note that the “young female athlete” was the Outreach Coordinator for the California Family Council – a right-wing religious organization that promotes a “biblically faithful” view for State government. This speaker immediately ran to her connections with right-wing media and bloggers to complain that her 1st Amendment rights of free speech had been prevented by an “abusive man.”  (Beth appreciated this and posted the resulting spread of the story on her own social media accounts.) It was a mistake to invite this speaker give the Welcoming remarks and into our community who then seemed to want to exact the most harm possible to our community, while increasing her status. Beth chose to join Moms for Liberty – an anti-government extremist group. I warned early on that her association with this group and its association with fringe extremist hate groups would not be well-received. I don’t want to have anything to do with Moms for Liberty. I will not attend any of their events. Beth should quit Moms for Liberty and disband the Yolo chapter.

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