If you followed the recent court case wherein the State of Washington took the Trump administration to court concerning the administration’s (Not a Muslim Ban, but yes, actually a Muslim Ban!) Executive Order 13769 you might have noted that the administration argued that a state had no legal standing to challenge an executive order. So, in layperson’s terms, the Trump administration wants to do something related to shutting down travel and immigration from the seven countries named in the EO. Washington State, in turn, takes the Trump administration to court over the order, challenging the EO’s lawfulness and constitutionality. The Trump administration responds: ‘You’re a state! You can’t challenge the actions of the federal government on such matters!’
So here we have a Trump administration and members of the House and Senate GOP who support the President* saying that when we want to ‘fix’ something we think is broken – in this case the illogical fear that a small Muslim child or an 80-something year old Muslim grandmother will somehow lead a terrorist attack that will destroy the America we know and love, then that’s our right to do so under the Constitution. Got that? That’s an important point. When the President* and his administration see something they don’t like and want to fix by way of an Executive Order, then get out of the man’s way: he’s on a mission to save the country!
Administration and GOP Playing States’ Rights Shell Game
Now let’s juxtapose that with President* Trump running as fast as he possibly can away from an issue that is sure to inflame his conservative enablers: maintaining federal guidelines that protect the rights of transgender students as it relates to their having the right to use the public school restroom that matches their gender identity. Guess what civil liberty fans? The Trump administration suddenly decided that – miracle of miracles! – this belongs in the category of….states’ rights! If you’re scoring at home, Muslim bans belong to our President. Protecting transgender kids from discrimination and giving them the same rights as other children? Yeah, not so much…
This is going to be a long four years but you can now skip ahead to the part where you’re utterly horrified at what the world will look like courtesy of the Trump administration and the GOP: items on the GOP hit list that they abhor such as LGBTQ rights, the ACA and that pesky thing about helping all Americans have access to affordable healthcare, and likely a litany of other items including possibly abortion rights (if they can’t figure out a way to stack the Supreme Court and get it done at the federal level) will be shunted off to that category of states’ rights where, depending on the misfortune of your mailing address, you’ll get the rights your state is willing to give you. So, if you live in Alabama or some other deep-red state, good luck getting a civil liberty that doesn’t align with the values of the nice narrow-minded folks currently ensconced in your State House, but which will be enjoyed by those fortunate enough to live in a blue-state such as California.
That’s a fascinating approach by a man elected by the people to represent….all the people. On the other hand why should we be surprised that the Trump administration is playing a game of Three-card Monte with issues such as these? This crew of alternative fact-spewing bullies would make a crew of hardened grifters blush with their audacity and only fleeting acquaintance with honesty.
You know, we can have policy discussions. Everything is a policy discussion of some sort or another: Lord knows the GOP leadership is willing to make the American people data points when it comes to their continued ability to gain life-saving access to affordable healthcare. And, in certain cases such as the decision to move forward with the construction of pipelines as abhorrent as they may be in environmental terms, one guesses we just have to come to grips with that. Put on our big boy pants and suck it up. All that we can probably do. But here’s the thing: are we as human beings going to fail other members of our society by telling a transgender child that they have no rights when it comes to their bodily functions? Are we going to tell other human beings that their lives and their financial wellbeing don’t matter and here’s some highly partisan train wreck of a solution we’ve concocted to replace the ACA just so we could say we kept our promise of repeal and replace?
If we can do that: if we can take these essential elements of human kindness and understanding out of the equation of how our leaders in Washington govern, then what’s left? What good does any of this do? Can you effectively govern if one portion of the population viscerally hates you as a human being? In the past, despite their differences, our leaders have found a way to work together. We now have a Senate Majority Leader who has thrown down the gauntlet on bipartisanship in Washington: ‘winners make policy, losers go home’. But home to what, Senator McConnell? My home is the United States of America: I still live here. I still need a government that is intent on crafting laws and policy that works for all of us whether we live in Mobile or Los Angeles. Can you really expect me to go ahead and utilize my healthcare benefits or enjoy my civil liberties completely oblivious to the fact that the GOP would seek to take these things away from my neighbors? Is that what it means to live in America now? Quality of life as defined by luck of the draw….or zip code?