A few months ago I received an email from an event organizer at East Tennessee University. He was asking if I’d consider speaking at a protest rally being staged the night before a draconian anti-drag show law was going into effect in that state. I went gladly, of course. I was impressed by how many people from Tennessee and elsewhere could clearly see the danger posed by such laws to our democracy as a whole.
Fortunately, a federal judge yesterday struck down the Tennessee law as unconstitutional . Much to be grateful for there, of course, but there remain hundreds of anti-trans laws being written, voted on, and in some cases passed in states across America.
There are people in this country who apparently feel that if they don’t like someone or agree with their lifestyle, sexuality, religion or whatever – they should be able to limit that person’s rights as an American. Unfortunately, some who believe that are actually people with political power. I don’t know whether they didn’t learn the principles of American liberty when they were children, or whether they just forgot them, but there are certain things upon which Americans must agree to agree. Equal protection before the law is one of them.
None of us can afford to ignore an abuse of freedom directed toward anyone, for as my father used to say, “If they can do it to anyone, they can one day do it to you.” As a Jew I was raised with images of attacks on people for simply being who they are, but those things were described to me as a lesson in history; something that had happened in the past and would not be coming back. That could never happen here, I was told. Here is America we’re the land of the free.
While it should be the concern of every generation to expand the democratic franchise – allowing an always greater number of people to experience the blessings of social, political and economic freedom – now many Americans are having to protect their basic freedoms against proactive assault. Today, the transgender community is under attack. And in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
This week, a restaurant called Dubbs Bar-B-Q in Clovis, California made this announcement on their social media:
At Dubb’s BBQ, we believe in creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all individuals. We strive to provide excellent service and delicious food to everyone who walks through our doors. However, we also recognize that certain circumstances may arise where we reserve the right to refuse service. We exercise this right in accordance with local and federal laws, ensuring that any refusal of service is based on specific reasons such as disruptive behavior or violation of our establishment’s policies or beliefs. Therefor Dub’s BBQ will no longer be serving the TRANSGENDER/TRANSVESTITE community as their malicious “agenda” does not correlate with this team. Starting immediately we will not serve or cater to this group. ALL OTHER MEMBERS OF THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY ARE WELCOMED! ENOUGH is ENOUGH!!! Leave our kids alone.
That “Leave our kids alone” comment is the one that really gets to me. As someone who myself is regularly mischaracterized in the press, I know how a false narrative can take hold and have a life of its own. If you start suggesting that any group of Americans are a threat to our children (other than those who actually are, i.e. pedophiles), you are unleashing upon that group all manner of potential horror.
Never have the “self-evident truths” of the Declaration of Independence meant more than they do today. Either we take seriously that “All men are created equal,” or we do not. Either we take seriously that “God gave all men unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” or we do not. The Declaration of Independence is America’s mission statement. When we are aligned with it we do well, and when we deviate from its principles we falter.
We are faltering now.
America in many ways these days seems to have forgotten who we are. May the era ahead be the age of a great remembering. I will appoint a transgender American to a position in my administration, and I have gladly received the endorsement of my campaign from transgender California Congressional candidate Maebe A. Girl. As president, I will give the transgender community the status of Special Protection, and I will direct the Department of Justice to vigorously pursue any civil rights violations in relation to them. Every group of Americans will know that any attack against them is considered by this president to be an attack against the very foundation of this country. Because it is.