Why do Republican primaries always seem to be contests as to who can be the biggest jerk? Not that I think Democratic politicians are altruistic, but they at least pretend to care. With Republicans, it’s all about how much they can marginalize women, minorities, immigrants, poor people, gay people, and non-Christians. Even the ones who are PART of these groups have this rhetoric. Bill Maher was talking recently about how Rand Paul, who seemed to want to differentiate himself from the other candidates at first, spoke in front of an aircraft carrier and at a prayer breakfast. The thing is, aren’t there already plenty of pro-war religious fundamentalists in the race? Why do we need another guy whose views are practically indistinguishable from those of all the others?
His father Ron Paul was, by most accounts, a total racist; but I liked his presence in the Republican primaries simply because he actually had some different views on things, particularly military intervention. By the way, remember those signs that said “Rand Paul Revolution,” with the backwards word “love” highlighted? Or were those only in my area? Come on, he might not have been as much of a hawk as other Republicans, but he was hardly a hippie.
Looks like they’re now using the same logo for Rand.
And Rand’s goal in life seems to be to make his dad seem sane by comparison. Maher was more positively disposed to Rand Paul in the past, perhaps falling back on his old identification as a libertarian, although he’s since admitted that he’s mostly just a liberal who supports the legalization of marijuana. Pretty much everything I’ve heard about the guy has been bad. He made up a license for his ophthalmology practice to make it seem like he was more qualified than he was, expressed opposition to the Civil Rights Act, thinks universal health care is tantamount to slavery for doctors (does he think food stamps give you the right to go to a farmer’s house and demand a cow?), is against gay marriage (so much for the libertarian thing), and supports a flat tax. Even when he seems to be on basically the right side, like with his recent opposition to the Patriot Act, he appears to be more interested in making a spectacle of himself than promoting any real change. And I don’t like to judge by appearances, but is he trying to save taxpayer money by not having a hairdresser on staff or what?
My hair is a mess too, but I’m not running for public office. I don’t know that there’s any truth to the rumor that he’s a Satanist; what I’ve seen about this simply states that his views and those of Anton LaVey were both heavily influenced by Ayn Rand. I do, however, recall a story about his claiming to be an Aqua Buddhist, which I hope includes some sort of underwater meditation.
Then there’s the infamous aw-shucks former minister Mike Huckabee, who seems determined to put his foot in his mouth at every opportunity, as evidenced by the recently released comments about how he thinks men would try to identify as women so they could shower in the ladies’ room. Actually, he made this comment earlier this year, but a conservative news outlet posted it last weekend, perhaps to coincide with Bruce Jenner’s sex change. He meant it as a joke, but it’s telling that this is where his mind goes when considering transgender issues.
Isn’t that a lot of hassle to go through just to see some naked women? (I guess they’d have to be the equivalent of that guy who spent all his time cracking Press Your Luck, except a bigger pervert.) And what about lesbians? Aren’t they already getting a free show by his logic?
I can’t speak for all cisgendered people, but I’ll admit the issue isn’t one I thought about for much of my life. It does seem a bit weird to me that the people who come down against transsexuality are the same ones who support rigid gender roles. From my perspective, while there are obviously physical differences between men and women, much of what we associate as masculine and feminine are largely cultural constructs. Hence, I’m not entirely sure why what reproductive organs you were born with is a particularly big deal. Men and women are equal in most ways where it really counts. Still, what I’ve heard about transgendered individuals is that they honestly don’t feel comfortable in their own bodies and feel that they would in the body of the other sex. They aren’t just boys who feel like they should be girls because they prefer Barbies to Hot Wheels. As such, even if it’s not something I fully understand, why the hell would I be against it? It’s hopefully making someone else happier with no ill effects on anyone else. The argument that conservatives love to make is “Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the children?”, which is odd as I would think children wouldn’t have the preconceptions that lead them to think of a man identifying as a woman as especially unusual.
I remember Bill O’Reilly saying it would be confusing for a kid’s teacher to leave as Mr. X and come back as Ms. X, despite the fact that such things often happen in fairy tales. I think some kids would just be disappointed that Mr. X didn’t come back as a dinosaur. As for the bathroom thing, I can’t help but feel the rape culture thing applies here. Unless someone has expressed that he or she WANTS someone else to see them in the nude, isn’t it a violation of their rights to stare at them regardless of your gender and sexual orientation? Ogling people against their will doesn’t become acceptable simply because you aren’t turned on. If someone born male identifies as female, that’s presumably going to include normalizing showers with other women. Huckabee’s hypothetical high school student presumably isn’t just showering with women, but actively leering at them. So, yes, the potential President of the United States admits that he’d consider taking advantage of other people’s serious identity issues in order to get a cheap thrill. And don’t forget, Caitlyn Jenner, that this is someone from YOUR political party saying this. Which isn’t to say that she needs to answer for Huckabee, just that a transsexual Republican kind of seems like a paradox.