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Obama’s Lawsuit Against North Carolina Isn’t About Civil Rights. It’s About Crushing Dissent


Some of us care little about the debate over public bathrooms. We do, however, care about the ongoing destruction of federalism, individual choice, and good-faith debate.

One reliable way to quash dissent and force moral codes on others is to liken your cause to that of the civil rights fight. Every liberal issue is situated somewhere on the great historical arc of “equality” and “justice.” If a person stands against even one of these causes—which were once great but are increasingly trivial—they have, according to the cultural imperialists of the Obama administration, aligned themselves with the Klan. Literally.

After U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that the Department of Justice had filed a federal lawsuit to stop North Carolina from passing a “controversial law”—this is the go-to characterization of conservative bills that pass with healthy majorities—requiring transgender people to use public bathrooms matching their birth certificate, she had this to say:

This is not the first time that we have seen discriminatory responses to historic moments of progress for our nation. We saw it in the Jim Crow laws that followed the Emancipation Proclamation; we saw it in the fierce and widespread resistance to Brown v. Board of Education; and we saw it in the proliferation of state bans on same-sex unions that were intended to stifle any hope that gay and lesbian Americans might one day be afforded the right to marry.

Likening a spat over biologically segregated boy/girl bathrooms to the genuine, violent, systematic, state-sponsored, society-wide bigotry that took place in this country for a century is both intellectually and morally corrupt. It’s not all a continuum. Yet this administration peddles these kinds of risible comparisons in the cause of self-aggrandizement all the time. Hans Fiene has coined it Selma envy.

For starters, the scale of these events are no sense comparable. Jim Crow laws passed by states and localities that enforced racial segregation stripped millions of African-Americans not only of their liberty but their dignity. The state punished for their skin color, kept them uneducated and poor. They could not escape their situation without more government interference.

The present situation is significantly different, and in every possible sense less dire. It is the sort of social problem generally worked out amongst people in this country without unelected civil rights commissions punishing business owners for thought crimes. Under North Carolina’s law no one was stopping a private company or coffee shop or big box store from having any kind of bathroom set-up they desire. I’m pretty sure most voters don’t comprehend this fact when they hear the distorted coverage of these laws in the news.

North Carolina and other states have preemptively moved forward with these kinds to bills to head off the state redefining gender. Too late. The fact is that the federal government can simply announce that a man can be a woman and vice versa if they choose. It then compels everyone in country to accept this reality. Yet there is no government definition of what transgendered means, other self-identification, which can mean anything. “Civil Rights” Division Chief Vanita Gupta says: “Transgender men are men. … Transgender women are women.” So sayeth Vanita Gupta, so sayeth we all. Or else. And now 300 million people have adhere to the Obama administration’s relativistic notions about nature and gender.

Under North Carolina’s law no one was stopping a private company or coffee shop or big box store from having any kind of bathroom set-up they desire.

Now, from what I can gather the central anxiety of many people is not that the transgendered will take advantage of their children, but that any man can simply declare himself a woman, put on a wig, and go into a public bathroom. Maybe it’s an irrational fear, maybe it’s not. As a father who’s had to send young daughters into busy public bathrooms, I know one thing for sure: I could not care less what Vanita Gupta has to say on the topic.

In a broader sense, the suit is symbolic of the federal government’s eight-year crusade to decimate any semblance of federalism and streamline progressive morality. The administration ignores state laws that conflict with federal policy when it approves and it sues states when it does not. States that pass law enforcement bills President Obama finds unsatisfactory will see the full force of the Justice Department come down on them. Those with drug legalization laws and immigration laws he does like, even if they conflict with federal law, have nothing to worry about. Whether one agrees in theory with these moves—and I am liberal on drug legalization and immigration—allowing Washington to selectively enforce law conflicts with the kind of republicanism that allows us to be diverse and deal with unique problems locally.

Finally, it takes a special kind of audacity for someone working for Barack Obama, a pretend opponent of same-sex marriage for years, to accuse anyone who stood against “the right to marry” of being modern-day George Wallaces. Not to mention that this woman was first appointed by Bill Clinton, the man who not only signed The Defense of Marriage Act but admired and learned his politics from real-life segregationists. Such an indictment just adds a level of absurdity to these scurrilous attacks onpeople who are making good-faith arguments.