Donald Trump said something that makes sense. It shouldn’t be a headline, but it is (which says more than the rest of this column, really).
It was about an issue that is, at best, peripheral — not a federal question, more the stuff of school board races than hotly contested primaries. The issue was bathrooms. Seriously — bathrooms? ISIS is targeting us; the world seems more unstable each day; we may be destroying the planet; and I’m writing about a peripheral comment on a peripheral issue as if it were the news of the week. It is.
I mean no offense. I understand that for the parents of transgender girls and boys the question of whether they will be able to use the bathroom of their choice or will be subject to daily ridicule raises serious mental- and physical-health issues. Not to mention questions about why we harbor so much hate for those who are different.
I wrote last year about this issue when it surfaced in a local race between two Republicans in Virginia, one of whom chose to use his opponent’s tolerance — that is, his unwillingness to participate in the torment of a child — as a political attack point.
This time, it was Donald Trump who walked into the issue, in a “Today Show” town hall forum. He was asked about the North Carolina law that now puts the government in the bathroom business.
This is what Donald Trump said: People should “use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate.”
Let me repeat: Donald Trump said that people should use the bathroom they feel is appropriate. Sexual identification is a personal, not governmental, issue.
Every parent of a transgender child is silently thanking him tonight. Donald Trump. The Republican Party has gone so far right that common sense seems a miracle for which to give thanks.
And no wonder. Take one look at Ted Cruz: The statistical loser and single-most universally hated politician I have ever even heard of, much less met, can’t stop using the issue for his own purposes. He doesn’t care about the little girl who would be required to pull up her dress and use a urinal in front of the boys. Whose child would we do that to? I can’t imagine any of us wishing it on our own child. Why would we wish it on the child of a neighbor? “Stark raving mad” is Cruz’s line of the day on Trump’s common-sense decency. He believes it’s “stark raving mad” to respect privacy and the difficulties of living across gender lines.
Let schools deal with it. Build unisex bathrooms. Ever notice that after beating the Equal Rights Amendment with fear-mongering about single-sex bathrooms and loss of privacy, places have found all kinds of ways to accommodate the need for family bathrooms? Amazing how easy it is to solve a design problem when you don’t encumber it with politics.
Cruz went after him all day. “That’s not a reasonable position,” he told Glenn Beck, who I don’t think would for a minute claim to be the arbiter of reasonable positions. “Grown adult men — strangers — should not be alone in a bathroom with little girls,” he said at a rally.
Who sends little girls into bathrooms alone? And believe me, when people do, the rest of us watch those children like hawks, protective instincts kicked into full gear.
What does that have to do with whether a girl who identifies as a girl and dresses like a girl should be required to use a urinal? And what are we doing talking about this in a presidential campaign?
To paraphrase Joseph Welch, outraged by Joe Mc- Carthy’s allegations against Fred Fisher (who, like Cruz, was a young Harvard Law graduate): Have you no shame, senator?