Many people are disappointed with the Trump administration rescinding Obama’s guidance on transgender students in public schools. But the reaction is over the top and missing the big picture.
Some people are asking how what the Trump administration has done is supposed to work, even suggesting there’s some new law in place. That gets the issue entirely backwards, cutting to the heart of the entire problem with how the previous White House operated. People who supported the policy should be venting their frustration at Obama for using a memo rather than getting legislation passed. All Trump has done is restored the status quo ante, i.e. we’re back to how people have used toilets since the invention of male and female restrooms.
The very reason Obama’s transgender actions created so much division, so many lawsuits, and more is there was no debate or discussion before they were implemented. Indeed, no one seems to be disputing the reasons the current administration cited for rescinding the Obama guidance; it didn’t “contain extensive legal analysis or explain how the position is consistent with the express language of Title IX, nor did they undergo any formal public process.” Indeed because of that, people were correctly asking how it worked when the guidance was issued.
Other people are calling this a civil rights issue. Well then let’s address it the same way we outlawed discrimination based on race, skin color and more. In other words, propose legislation, lobby and get a bipartisan coalition together (73% of senators supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act). Yes, doing that is difficult in today’s climate. But you can hardly call what JFK and LBJ did in the 1960s easy. It was a hard slog and Democrats should take up this sort of challenge again, on this issue or any issue for that matter.
Unfortunately there’s been little sign of it these past 8 years and no sign of it at all since Trump was elected. Democrat Ted Van Dyk wrote in an excellent column on Thursday that in order to win again, Democrats need to engage Trump on policy grounds and propose alternatives. He’s right. The current strategy isn’t a winning one.