The runaway train may have stopped just short of the proverbial cliff.
Last week’s election in all likelihood derailed a fast track train wreck.
The federal Education Department under the Obama Administration opined that Gloucester County in West Virginia was violating federal sex-equity laws by requiring students to use school bathrooms based on their biological gender.
Should the Trump Administration Department of Education rescind their guidance or take the opposite position, the Supreme Court might toss aside a federals appeal court ruling on the subject without taking verbal testimony.
Before you start a run on Wal-Mart buying safety pins and loading up the car to drive to Oakland to riot, California law will still stand.
It also means society’s mores can evolve. Sweeping government edicts on social standards by themselves rarely, if ever, establish lasting change that becomes accepted by society.
It is kind of like the danger of governance by executive order. Lacking the approval of the people via Congress, executive orders can be easily rescinded by subsequent presidents.
By bypassing the people, a court imposed social change can be jarring and trigger more severe backlash.
You may argue that’s what happened with same gender marriage, but it isn’t even close. The push for same gender marriage spanned a much longer period and didn’t have the feel that the federal bureaucracy was trying to ram it through.
In the long run the odds of a transgender individual’s use of a bathroom that doesn’t reflect their birth gender will become a non-issue. Just like the Victorian Era standards were credited in the move toward separate gender public bathrooms in much of the West, the current era we are in when it comes for peer pressure driven social standards will likely to lead to a wider acceptance of transgender bathroom use.
Try to speed up the process of societal acceptance by government fiat is a sure recipe for backlash.
Whether you agree with people who are transgender using bathrooms that clearly don’t match their biological body functions, the right way to go about it is as California did through the legislature. Even if you don’t like the state law it wasn’t forged by bureaucratic edict.
Real and lasting change comes from the bottom up and not the top down.
Sidelining the bullet train for the changing of social mores doesn’t mean America is heading toward a world populated by government-religious edicts such as in certain areas of the globe where gays are stoned to death and women treated like property. It’s just a breather.
The train will continue down the track with people taking everything at a much slower pace. The journey across country by car is much more educational and provides one with more insight and understanding of the nation than going from New York to San Francisco at 575 miles per hour at 30,000 feet encased in an aluminum tube. The same is true of social change.
You may view the debate as much ado about nothing especially if you view a bathroom as just that — a bathroom. And you may be transgender or a sibling, parent, or friend of a transgender and you may view the train slowing down as a betrayal.
But what would you rather see — acceptance or edict?
Some might argue that being able to use whatever bathroom you want is a constitutional or Huffington Post-given right. The opposite is also a reality — those who argue the constitution makes no such guarantee.
Given that such a right doesn’t appear word for word in the Bill of Rights means it is open to interpretation or adoption via the crafting of laws through Congress. The making of a law requires public debate with its requisite give and take as well as the need to understand the other side’s concerns in order to craft a new law that often requires employing compromise so you can keep moving toward a goal. Those critical baby steps that are essential to making lasting change when it comes to shifting social mores are bypassed when the burecarcy is used without Congress’ — read that the public’s — consent to ram change.
The Constitution and the original Bill of Rights was crafted in such a manner 240 years ago that it has worked to guide the new republic after the Revolution, survived the Civil War, worked to steer the country through the Industrial Revolution, kept the country going during the Great Depression and World War II, kept the country grounded in basic values during the Space Age, and still resonates in the Internet Age.
Despite the fears of those college professors from coast-to-coast that cancelled classes, cried with stressed students, and even made exams optional for students accustomed to being awarded trophies even when they lose that were struggling to cope with Tuesday’s election results, the world is not coming to an end.
America is going through one of those well-documented reset periods where the pendulum is now changing direction. Such a change has never taken America back to where it was before. Instead it gave the country time to pause, heal, melt a bit more in the proverbial melting pot, and then go on.
What really counts with social mores is buy-in.
And it’s much more likely to happen when it isn’t force fed by bureaucrats that bypass the legislative process.