GOP Rep. Mary Franson has a well-documented fear of young people.
Back in December, the state representative from Alexandria refused to meet with a group of politically active high school students, kids who live in her district, because the small outfit was made up of Democrats. In shutting down the teens' request for dialogue, Franson demonstrated a limited view of what an elected official owes her constituents -- but a top-notch understanding of how to make that little shrugging-face guy in a tweet.
This past weekend, Franson offered a clearer understanding of why she might be afraid to interact with young progressives. She fears they might be Nazis.
As a couple million Americans took part in March for Our Lives rallies across the country, Franson observed these frightening gatherings from the safety of her keyboard. Around 9 p.m. that night, something moved Franson to speak out.
Finding her voice in a moment of political courage, Franson wrote angrily on Facebook about teens.
There she is highlighting another person's post referring to David Hogg, an 18-year-old survivor of the Parkland, Florida school shooting, as "Supreme Leader Hogg." It's a curious construction, and one we can assume carries a negative connotation. The original poster there is David Benner, a business analyst at Ameriprise Financial Services, who, in his spare time, has very strong opinions about the Constitution, the Founders, and himself.
Note Franson's seamless incorporation of the raised eye emoji. If you set aside all her thoughtless and hateful content, she really is quite good at social media.
Some 23 minutes later, Franson posted again, this time to condemn a statement from Delaney Tarr, another Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student, who said Saturday that a ban on bump stocks for rifles should be only the beginning of reasonable gun control in America.
Franson carried Tarr's statement to its illogical conclusion.
Having laid this sturdy foundation for her beliefs -- namely: Man your battle stations! The teens are coming! -- Franson rounded out her Saturday evening with one more post. The frosting on her little conspiracy cupcake arrived via a quote about "indoctrinating youth." It's from Adolf Hitler.
The above Facebook posts were captured by the Douglas County DFL, which shared them with local activists on Sunday; Franson, for her part, seems to have deleted the "Representative Mary Franson" account.
Who is it Mary Franson thinks is "indoctrinating" these young people? Didn't they become vocally active in this movement very recently, and only after another teenager walked into their high school and started murdering their classmates? For all her internet savvy, has Franson ever heard of Godwin's law?
If there's an alliance of wealthy private industry and government officials -- bribed, bullied, or both -- plotting the unending reign of a culture of violent death ... and some people are saying that's a bad thing, does that make them... Nazis?
These are some of the questions we might have asked Franson, had she responded to City Pages' request for comment. Alas, she didn't. Then again, she's got a big day today, with hearings in three of the House committees she sits on, and she might be presenting as many as three of her own bills. Maybe she couldn't comment on her Hitler Youth analogy Monday because she was too busy working as a lawmaker for the people of Minnesota.
This is not a comforting thought.