Well, 45’s “administration” showed more of their true colors in the last twenty-four hours. To offer up a little background, the Obama administration contended that Title IX protects transgender students, including their right to use bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identities. Nearly half of states have sued over the issue and Supreme Court case arguments are scheduled for March.
White House Press Secretary Sean Sphincter said Tuesday, “The president has maintained for a long time that this is a states’ rights issue and not one for the federal government. So while we have further guidance coming out on this, I think that all you have to do is look at what the president’s view has been for a long time, that this is not something the federal government should be involved in, that this is a states’ rights issue.”
“States’ rights” is the code phrase to the gates of Discrimination City. It’s a dog whistle for racists, bigots, and homophobes. It always has been, and it always will be. It was used by the South in their efforts to maintain slavery and later to justify Jim Crow laws. Ronald Reagan even trotted it out in his 1980 campaign (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=450DA4AZG6U), when in a speech in Mississippi, he said, “I still believe the answer to any problem lies with the people. I believe in states’ rights. I believe in people doing as much as they can for themselves at the community level and at the private level, and I believe we’ve distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended in the Constitution to that federal establishment.”
What made Reagan’s speech, which followed Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy, even more symbolic was that it was delivered approximately seven miles from Philadelphia, Mississippi – the site of the 1964 murders of civil rights workers. Following Reagan’s death, Washington Post columnist William Raspberry noted of the incident, “It was bitter symbolism for black Americans (though surely not just for black Americans). Countless observers have noted that Reagan took the Republican Party from virtual irrelevance to the ascendancy it now enjoys. The essence of that transformation, we shouldn’t forget, is the party’s successful wooing of the race-exploiting Southern Democrats formerly known as Dixiecrats. And Reagan’s Philadelphia appearance was an important bouquet in that courtship.”
So when the White House press secretary, speaking for an administration that features at least two white supremacists in key positions, utters the phrase “states’ rights” from the briefing room podium, it’s a significant event. It is significant because it indicates this administration’s willingness (and, by all appearances, eagerness) to engage in discrimination of all kinds. After all, anti-LGBTQ legislation is just Jim Crow painted with a rainbow brush.
Bigotry is always wrong, and whether a person’s rights are protected shouldn’t be an issue of geography. A transgender teen in California should not have different rights than a transgender teen in Alabama. Title IX should protect these people.
45 apparently disagrees. Today, he was poised to put crayon to paper and sign an executive order lifting federal protections for transgender students put in place by President Obama. 45 and his “administration” are bigoted, cowardly, utterly disgusting, and quite hypocritical. Do you remember when President Obama’s executive orders were criticized as dictatorial and examples of executive overreach?