Somewhere off in the distance on a digital soap box Matt Walsh is yammering on about trans* women like they are leper sores on the feet of the hold virgin. His Catholic sensibilities are offended, he tells us, by the mere whiff of gender non-conformity. He cannot get an answer to a simple question, despite many academic experts telling him, so he turns to his wife, who hands him a jar to open and proclaims: Adult Human Female™. He seeks truth and ends up with bromides.
Elsewhere, our heroine sits at a hot keyboard, slaying dragons and falsehoods with the good sword facts. Erin Reed tweets out retorts to Walsh and his cronies, lighting the path for all folk to see the lies and venality behind the right wing distortions. Her work is never done, there is no coffee strong enough in the world, yet she perseveres to shine a light on the darkness beyond her walls.
Both claim to fight a good fight, yet even with all the shady billionaire money in the world Walsh cannot fight fair. He punches down, punches those who have no voice, and uses his platform in attempting to destroy lives just so his far-right paymasters can create yet more whipping boys for the angry mob to target. There is nothing right about this mob, it is all spit and misplaced fury. Erin Reed is often the lone voice putting all the pieces together, and she has become Walsh’s bete noir for speaking truth to his power.
Is there a danger in speaking up? Yes. Erin speaks regularly of the death threats, horrific comments, and trolling she receives. To speak her truth to power she faces hostility far outstripping her rank or position in society. Journalism, especially great journalism, is never without risks, yet there is something about her work that cuts through to the alt-right. They see her as a threat to their message, for why else throw the full weight of the Daily Wire at her? Why else target a trans* woman if she was not speaking an uncomfortable truth?
Of course Walsh could use his platform for anything else. He goes after the vulnerable, the marginalised, and those who have no platform to counter his lies. Then he literally sits around smoking cigars with his white frat boy fascist buddies crowing about just what a good job they are doing punching down. No matter how absurd their position or how shambolic their content, they take perverse pride in puffing out their chests and playing at being big men.
Erin, well, she gets engaged, and slays dragons on the daily. Her battles are fought one tweet at a time, her work only done when the last bill is overturned and trans* rights on parity with the rest of society. This is no Disney princess, more like Ripley in her power suit crushing invasive predators slithering in the dark. If the light of truth is a power flamer let it burn the right wing to the ground.
We want truth, especially truth that is easy to digest, and in Matt Walsh and Erin Reed we have two options open to us. One leads to puffed up egos and slippery half-truths that distort and harm. On the other the fundamental rallying cry that rights matter, truth matters, and in the darkness hate festers — only in the light can we expose the right wing for the pathological liars they actually are.