The people of Ohio voted Tuesday, Oct. 27, to keep marijuana illegal.
If that’s not upsetting enough, there’s something else.
The people of Houston voted to get rid of a non-discrimination clause. In other words, they’re going to remove from their already existing laws something that said “Hey, if you own a business, you can’t refuse service to someone because they identify as a man, are from Zimbabwe, or like penis. Don’t be assholes, Houstonians.”
Even more confusingly, this vote took place in a city that was the biggest ever to vote an openly gay person into office.
What’s worse is that the people who opposed this law, which included the Lt. Governor of Texas, good ‘ol mega church pastors, and Lance Berkman, (freaking Lance Berkman… I get that he was good at hitting a ball, but you’re choosing him to judge your morals on?) relied on a single phrase to get 60% of people in Houston to promote the values of 1950s Alabama:
“No men in women’s bathrooms.”
WHAT. the. FUCK.
Alright, let’s just put aside the blatant disrespect for transgender rights, the complete omittance of any acknowledgement about how this amendment would function in this city, and let’s focus on the tiny, irrelevant complaint these people brought up, and how ridiculous even that is.
One example: Colorado. Statewide, they have had a similar law in place for the last seven years, has reported (drumroll please) ZERO sexual assault problems as a result of anti-discrimination clauses for transgender individuals. The spokesman for the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights, in a state which has also had similar laws in place for four years, reports, you guessed it, ZERO issues because of the law.
And do you know why these laws haven’t caused any issues?
Because the complaint makes absolutely no sense.
What sexual predator is gonna be like “you know how I’m gonna take advantage of girls? I’m gonna get me a dress so that I can sneak into the bathroom of this Applebee’s where a large group of women are all behind locked doors only a few feet from plenty of people who can help” ???
The premise of the argument isn’t even feasible, but you have people like Lt. Governor of Texas Dan Patrick saying it’s about “protecting our grandmoms, and our mothers and our wives and our sisters and our daughters and our granddaughters.”
Yes it is, Mr. Patrick.
It’s protecting them against having to serve gay people in their restaurant.
As my favorite commentator on this case, Mr. Patrick also gave us this gem:
“I’m glad Houston led tonight to end this constant political-correctness attack on what we know in our heart and our gut as Americans is not right.”
At least this time he sounded a little more honest in his transphobia, making hating peoples’ gender choices a moral battleground instead of hiding it behind a ridiculous fear of sexual assault.
But while the Lt. Governor upsets me, I’m more upset with the people of Houston.
There will always be politicians hiding their agendas with fear mongering, (see: Trump, Nixon, Hitler) it’s an easy tactic:
Make people feel like your option is the only one that will keep them and their families safe, and they’ll give you all the power you want.
But what the people of Houston failed to do, what all the citizens of the U.S. must do to maintain our tenuous hold on Democracy, is get past our gut reaction, and get past the surface level of issues.
Ask why the person in front of you is saying what they are saying, why the person on the other side believes what they do, and what empirical facts are available on the topic. Then, and only then, can you be secure in your opinions and their validity. It is easy to be scared, but facing the consequences of that fear down the road is a much worse option.
Don’t let fear of change rule your political outlook.
And remember to empathize, because
we’re all human.