Culture war’s ghost hunters

Young-At-Large
by John Young

If this is “woke,” bring it.

Add my voice to those calling on the NCAA to stick it to states that marginalize transgender individuals.

That could mean pulling tournaments based on the NCAA Board of Governor’s April 12 statement that “firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender athletes to compete in college sports.”

The action of taking business away from those states requires newfound spinal fortitude from the NCAA and would allow it to show its expressed policy of being committed to sites “free of discrimination.”

Like mastodons ahead of a thunderstorm, red-state legislatures have stampeded to make life even more miserable for those who don’t identify with their birth genders.

This includes “bathroom bills” based on wild claims about the ridiculous threat when someone who is transgender meets nature’s call.

Their miserable actions create horrific and unconscionable restrictions against gender-affirming medical care, and require schoolchildren to compete in high school sports based on the gender of their birth.

That’s the one that has the NCAA’s attention.

With all this action – bills in 20 states – you’d think that transgender athletes are coming in like waves of sword-bearing Cossacks.

Actually, an Associated Press analysis found this to be a ghost pursuit – almost no examples of transgender students stepping into the fields of prep athletic pursuit, citing but two – one in Hawaii and one in Alaska.

That leaves 48 states to be plundered.

This is in keeping with Republicans’ forever efforts to do anything but meet the needs of the commonwealth – instead to posture and engage in the culture war maneuver of the moment.

This is what has made Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz what he is – a man in search of a new offensive. Hear him huff against “wokeness.”

Let highways crumble. Let schools gasp for resources. Let the working poor despair for the lack of health coverage. Let’s create a menace and alarm the troops. Down, Ted. Down.

Years ago in Texas, then-Gov. Rick Perry, another Republican culture warrior, put a lot of miles on state vehicles campaigning for a state constitutional ban on gay marriage, which – ahem – was already illegal there. In other words, it was posturing and nothing more.

A raft of court rulings on behalf of gay rights have cut off avenues of discrimination against people based solely on their sexual orientation. With the religious right clamoring for something to discriminate against, the Republican Party has chosen transgender individuals.

The most phantasmagoric of all threats remains the so-called specter of voter fraud. No matter how hard Republicans search, they can’t seem to find it.

That hasn’t stopped waves of “ballot security” measures.

Of course, as several federal judges have observed, the one and only reason for these measures is to boost Republicans’ advantages at the ballot box. More pertinently, it is to make voting more difficult for the aged, the poor, the people who need help voting and their helpers, and people of color.

Now these bills are papered around the newfound imperative to do anything to posture one’s self before the Golden Calf, the con of Mar-a-Lago.

What do Republicans stand for anymore? Observe the national debate over leadership. By and large, they stand for the Big Lie and a big liar. Only a few of those Republicans who know the Big Truth have spoken up.

The rest have found an issue in “woke” initiatives aimed at making states and people in power pay for policies that harm those with the least power, seeming to ignore the fact that some voters who are Republican actually like easier voting.

Understand that “woke” has its roots in black slang, a statement about not submitting to injustice.

That should tell you everything about today’s Republican Party. It was once the Party of Lincoln. Now it is the party of pettiness, motivated by phantoms and fallen idols.

Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado.

jyoungcolumn@gmail.com

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