Like that creepy crossdresser seeking admission into your bathroom stall, no never means no for the Left.
Grounded denizens of Space City rejected the spaced-out Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) on Tuesday by a 61-39 percentage margin. Immediately talk commenced among the rule-or-ruin losers of stripping the Super Bowl from NRG Stadium and shopping for a judge to issue a better verdict than the one handed down by the voters.
The trouncing, sloganeering, and subsequent boycott proposals surrounding the “No Men in Women’s Bathrooms” campaign recalls Anita Bryant’s 1977 “Save Our Children” triumph in Dade County and the ensuing treatment of Florida orange juice as Everglades swamp water. “Hitler danced a jig when his troops marched into Poland,” Harvey Milk claimed in pushing the OJ prohibition. “Bryant danced the same jig when she won.”
Houston is the new Miami. And instead of the reductio ad hitlerum, the city’s detractors invoke Jim Crow. Indianapolis, bludgeoned after its state’s legislature passed a religious freedom law earlier this year, thanks the city 1,000 miles to its southwest for taking the target off its back.
The New York Times, not heretofore read as the bulletin on all things Houston, offered a MadLibs editorial that predictably predicted the future looking back at HERO’s prominent opponents “as latter-day Jim Crow elders.” The headline contended that “hate trumped fairness” and the opening sentence more bluntly blamed a coming suicide of a transgender teen on people who do not share the newspaper’s enlightenment. The Old Gray Lady—cis or trans, one dares not say—offered that transgenders “should take comfort in knowing that history will not be kind to the haters who won on Tuesday.”
Leaving aside the question of whether 61 percent of Houstonians fall into the hater category, there seems an abuse of language, albeit a fairly common one, in masquerading a speculated future as the recorded past. Like confusing Milton Berle for Marilyn Monroe, imagining prognostication as hindsight requires a degree of obtuseness.
It’s hard to envision actual history—people who lived and died rather than imagined people not yet born—looking upon the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance as anything but an act of insanity. Judging transsexualism as a disqualifying characteristic in a kindergarten teacher or cocktail waitress morphs from common sense to crime under HERO. Regarding employment, the repealed ordinance states that “a person who violates a provision of this article commits a criminal offense.”
Human rights law heretofore focused on immutable characteristics. This new wave of civil rights rests its case on mutable characteristics, the idea that surgeons can override God and transform males into females and vice versa. Surely the passage of decades cannot transform mutable characteristics with immutable ones no matter how many people come around to that idea. We are all entitled to our own opinions, as the saying goes, but nobody is entitled to his, her, or zir own facts.
G.K. Chesterton’s “democracy of the dead” works better than the Times editorial board’s “history will not be kind to the haters” standard. Surely Sam Houston, to say nothing of Harris County’s subterranean electorate, would cast a “no” vote on HERO (assuming the existence of no third “WTF” option). It’s hard to imagine Hanson Baldwin, Scotty Reston, or any other distant Times travelers mistaking a rejection of the ordinance for the reinstatement of Jim Crow. Times change.
The sprinter’s pace of cultural transformation since the early 1990s leaves voters, such as those in America’s fourth largest city, asking: Where does it all end? When does the rejection of the romantic entreaties of a transwoman, the use of pronouns tethered to one’s biology, and restrictions on athletes bearing xy chromosomes from competing in women’s sports become proscribed by law, too?
Harris County, which voted for Barack Obama in the last two elections, and sanctuary city Houston, the most populous metropolis in America with a homosexual mayor, hardly strike as bastions of intolerance. But for the intolerant who cannot abide the will of the people, projection works as the order of the day.