Never has there been more consternation, hand-wringing and wails of demagoguery. We live in a country faced with profound issues.
Yet in North Carolina, massive demonstrations are being held. The U.S. attorney general is taking Gov. Pat McCrory to court, and the governor is taking the federal government to court. And countless organizations and entertainers won’t enter the state all over access to – a loo.
At issue is a recent North Carolina law restricting access to restrooms, changing areas and locker rooms for transgender individuals.
Because of the North Carolina law, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and McCrory have sued each other. The Justice Department is arguing North Carolina is following a “facially discriminatory policy.” Are there no more mafioso types to chase after? North Carolina fired back that the federal government is radically reinterpreting the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
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Thus the stage is set for a massive legal war that will likely reach the U.S. Supreme Court, all over answering nature’s call.
Think of United States vs. Quilted Northern as a courtroom battle pitting hundreds of lawyers, costing millions of dollars and wasting thousands of hours to haggle over an issue demographers and the U.S. Census Bureau suggest affects only 0.3 percent of the population who identify as transgender.
You have a better chance of standing next to North Korea’s Kim Jong-un in a public lavatory than Caitlyn Jenner.
Do transgender people have rights? Absolutely. Should they be treated with dignity and respect? This is even a question? Still, in a nation as advanced as the United States, one would think the subject of where 0.3 percent of the population can hit the head could be resolved without all those law school degrees.
Recently The Prairie Home Companion’s Garrison Keillor noted the bathroom drama could be resolved if only everyone adhered to fundamental Midwest good manners. Simply put, isn’t it a time-honored powder room etiquette not to look? And in the case of women’s facilities since everyone is using a – ahem – stall, isn’t one’s gender pretty much proprietary information?
All this caterwauling over the prospect of a transgender person using the accommodation of their elective choice to relieve themselves is grounded in an opaque public safety predicate. Allow transgender folks to tinkle where they may and we will see an epidemic of Peeping Toms and Terris.
And that can only lead to anarchy of the privy.
We sure have an addled view of what constitutes a clear and present danger to public safety.
Across the country more states are allowing open carry of firearms.
And increasingly toddlers are pulling triggers. Last year it is estimated at least 43 adults across 24 states were shot by rug rats who got their hands on a gun irresponsibly left within their reach by an alleged grownup.
In fact, depending on what methodology you use, there were roughly 355 mass shootings in the United States in 2015.
Yet the North Carolina legislature and McCrory went into a full froth over where a transgender person might want to go to the bathroom? There hasn’t been a single verified case of anyone getting killed as a result of transgender bathroom voiding.
It’s debatable how much political capital the governor can gain by standing in the bathroom door proclaiming, “Give me liberty, or give me a commode!”
But this is probably the inevitable result for a politician flush with ambition.