There’s a place where the population is perpetually at war with itself. Two opposite world-views are tearing the place apart. Two cultures are colliding. Battle lines are drawn and both sides are dug into their positions more obstinately than ever.
An entrenched culture that did things its same old way for centuries is being displaced by an alien culture with different values. The first group is not well educated or “cosmopolitan”. They are conservative, religious, rural, agrarian, patriarchal, and resistant to change. They see the intruders as over-educated, cosmopolitan, liberal, infidels, urban, industrial, matriarchal, and changing things that shouldn’t be changed.
I’m speaking, of course, of North Carolina. Can the two sides there live together? Must one be absorbed by the other? Or must they be divided into two states to keep the peace?
North Carolina has been in the news a couple of times this week. First, their legislature met in a last-minute behind-closed door session and passed laws limiting the power of the incoming governor, a Democrat who, after a very close election, is replacing a Republican incumbent. The laws are unprecedented and assure that Republicans will retain power.
This news is really troubling and makes North Carolina seem like a crazy, out-of-control, and very un-American place. If you are a Republican, a Democrat is your enemy, disguised as your neighbor and fellow citizen. If he somehow wins an election, a way must be found to thwart him anyway.
The other news story out of North Carolina was that its legislature met for nine hours, also in a closed door session, and decided not to repeal the absurd “Bathroom Bill”, or HB2, that has been costing the state’s economy a lot of money, and making North Carolina an object ridicule for many people. The bill says, among other things, that you have to use the bathroom corresponding to the sex indicated on your birth certificate.
For people who don’t have much of a stake in this and don’t follow such things very closely (i.e. most of us), HB2 seemed like an absurd and gratuitous shot at the LGBT community, coming out of nowhere and a “solution” to an apparently non-existent problem. Yes, we get that some people are not entirely comfortable using a particular bathroom. And we also get that others would be uncomfortable if they switched.
But is anyone’s life going to be made miserable/tolerable by the passage/repeal of this stupid thing? Can’t these issues be resolved by individuals as needed? Will they have armed guards checking birth certificates at the entry to public restrooms in NC now? Has anyone been arrested over this? Has there been an epidemic of wrong-bathroom use that has harmed the population?
In short, WTF is this really about?
Well, to the supporters of the law, it’s about some things the Civil War was about, and most things the presidential election was about. The federal government was trying to impose its will on the state. Liberals were forcing their agenda on conservatives. People who believed there was no difference between men and women and gender was a made-up thing were bullying people who didn’t. Outsiders were disrupting a traditional way of life that locals liked just fine.
It started in April 2014 when the feds issued “guidance” on sexual assault for schools that receive Title IX funding. The guidance was that “Title IX’s sex discrimination prohibition extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity” and that “the actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity of the parties does not change a school’s obligations”
In other words, transgender people are protected from discrimination under the law.
A few months later LGBT leaders also sought to extend Charlotte’s non-discrimination ordinances to include some new protected classes: marital and familial status, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression. The City Council ultimately votes 7-4 to add the language to the ordinances.
In March, 2016, Republican legislators convene a special session to overturn the Charlotte ordinance. They go far beyond the bathroom issue and, in one day, enact HB2, a bill that basically nullifies every nondiscrimination ordinance ever passed by any local government in the state.
Reactionaries gonna react.
The war of words escalates and positions harden. The ACLU files suit against NC. Bruce Springsteen cancels a concert. The Justice Department tells the Governor that HB2 violates civil rights law. The Governor sues the Justice Department. The NBA announces it will relocate its 2017 All-Star game. The U.S. District court rules in favor of a UNC transgender student who wants the system to refuse to enforce HB2. The NCAA announces it will move scheduled championships to other states. Corporations announce they are reconsidering North Carolina as a site for their operations.
Hundreds of millions of dollars are potentially lost to the North Carolina economy. What to do? Should they repeal HB2? And by doing so give in to the Muslim-Socialist agenda of the illegitimate president, just for a couple of dollars? Tough one.
This week they held a special session of the legislature to discuss repeal. Republican state law-makers and Democratic leaders in Charlotte had apparently struck a deal under which the city would repeal the local ordinance, and in return, state lawmakers would repeal HB2.
But the repeal failed and we’re back to where we started: it’s a Civil War that cannot be won. This time it’s not the Blue and Gray, but the Blue and Red. One side can never convince the other of the rightness of its own position and wrongness of the other. No compromise is possible. Brother against brother. Which side are you on?