A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

“While I support the pro-life policy in this legislation, I fear the novel civil enforcement mechanism will in short order be proven both unconstitutional and unwise.” That’s Idaho Gov. Brad Little on his state’s Texas-style abortion law “that relies on private citizens, not the state, to enforce it through the threat of ruinous financial penalties. When the Idaho law takes effect in 30 days, anyone who performs an abortion after the detection of fetal cardiac activity can be sued for at least $20,000 by ‘the father of the preborn child, a grandparent of the preborn child, a sibling of the preborn child, or an aunt or uncle of the preborn child.'” While Little had some little misgivings about the bill (unconstitutional and unwise pretty much covers everything), he still signed it into law, because, in certain quarters, today’s politics have nothing to do with either the constitution or wisdom. Maybe we should have a law that allows citizens to sue government officials who cravenly sign bills into law even when they admit those laws are both stupid and illegal?

+ In Utah, Gov Spencer Cox was presented with a bill limiting the participation of transgender kids in interscholastic sports. Unlike Gov Little, he vetoed his legislature’s bill, and had the guts to publicly explain why. “I must admit, I am not an expert on transgenderism. I struggle to understand so much of it and the science is conflicting. When in doubt however, I always try to err on the side of kindness, mercy and compassion. I also try to get proximate and I am learning so much from our transgender community. They are great kids who face enormous struggles. Here are the numbers that have most impacted my decision: 75,000, 4, 1, 86 and 56. 75,000 high school kids participating in high school sports in Utah. 4 transgender kids playing high school sports in Utah. 1 transgender student playing girls sports. 86% of trans youth reporting suicidality. 56% of trans youth having attempted suicide. Four kids and only one of them playing girls sports. That’s what all of this is about. Four kids who aren’t dominating or winning trophies or taking scholarships. Four kids who are just trying to find some friends and feel like they are a part of something. Four kids trying to get through each day. Rarely has so much fear and anger been directed at so few.” Now why would a state legislature be wasting its time targeting one child? We know why. For the same reason people like Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Lindsay Graham turned this week’s SCOTUS hearings into Q-Anon-esque (and Q-Anon loved) disgrace focused on pedophilia and critical race theory. For the same reason that at least 35 states have passed or considered legislation on race education. They put the cult in culture wars because culture wars sell. And the culture wars use fear and rage to distract voters from what they should really focus on: Whether their elected officials are voting for things that benefit them and their families. But that’s not what people like Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Lindsay Graham vote for. They vote to give guys like me tax breaks while giving their constituents the satisfaction of knowing that a handful of transgender kids will be less of a perceived threat and the pleasure of watching SCOTUS hearings in which they deny racism while performing it.

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