Would Someone Help Republicans Find Their Way Out Of The Bathroom, Please


From comments, Candy nails something that Mr. Beale and I have discussed at length:

And those companies who decide not to bring jobs to NC because of the bill…. well, that’s just good riddance to liberal businesses they didn’t want there to begin with.

This is exactly right. It’s a type of hippie-punching we see in the South, where our legislatures are dominated by rural right-wingers but our states’ economic drivers are in the liberal urban areas. I don’t think Rep. Susan Lynn or Sen. Mike Bell, both from the hinterlands, give one fat whoop over whether Google Fiber leaves Nashville or if conventions flee our Music City Center. They’d think we’re just getting what we deserve! They would be perfectly happy if every liberal left Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga and Knoxville. They don’t care if our cities lose jobs, hell they applaud it.

These are not ordinary Republicans. They are radical ideologues, drunk on self-righteous indignation at liberal values. They are only too happy when Bruce Springsteen cancels his Greensboro concert and PayPal decides not to expand in Charlotte. This is what they want, after all.

They don’t feel the pain. For that, some Amazon.com fulfillment center in Murfreesboro (home to Sen. Bill Ketron) would have to close. VW would have to leave Chattanooga, and take all of their parts suppliers with them. The Gap distribution center in Gallatin would have to leave. The blowback would have to hit some of these job-strapped rural communities, the very places who elect the Fundiegelical Neanderthals to our legislature in the first place. Don’t punish Nashville, we’re not the ones who elected Susan Lynn to the state House!

But even then, would they change? Hell, no. They’d still blame liberals for “ramming our values down their throats,” even though it’s their own backwards over-reaction causing the pain. Why? Because there is no political solution to a psychological problem. Conservative ressentiment is a real thing. From that old chestnut by Julian Sanchez, gone from the internet but still surviving in the odd excerpt one can occasionally find on the blogosphere:

Even if conservatives retook power, they wouldn’t be able to provide a political solution to a psychological problem, assuming they’re not willing to go the Pol Pot route. At the same time, it signals a resignation to impotence on the cultural front where the real conflict lies. It effectively says: We cede to the bogeyman cultural elites the power of stereotypical definition, so becoming the stereotype more fully and grotesquely is our only means of empowerment.

Just let that thought sink in for a moment. Powerfully true, and unfolding before our very eyes.


The last time Tennessee Republicans were worried about the state’s bathrooms, they had mistaken a mop sink for a Muslim-Sharia prayer thingie.

Now they’re back in the toilet with two ridiculous bathroom bills making their way through the state House and Senate:

Bathroom restriction bill: House Bill 2414/Senate Bill 2387

Sponsors: Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, and Rep. Susan Lynn, R-Mt. Juliet

Purpose: This bill would restrict bathroom use in public schools and colleges based on the sex listed on one’s birth certificate. The state faces a $1 billion federal penalty for Title IX gender discrimination violation.

Status: This had been set aside to summer study but was revised by a House committee. It will next be considered by the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday.

I haven’t read either the House of Senate version of these bills, and I probably should. The legislation was written to attack transgendered people, but it seems to me that it affects everyone. What about caregivers of the elderly and disabled, parents of small children, etc.? If you’re going to a game or sporting event at a public college and your wheelchair-bound parent, spouse, child, whatever needs to use the restroom, what do you do if you’re not the same gender? I think about this stuff because my mom was in a wheelchair for a few years before she died. She still went out and participated in community activities, and that meant using public restrooms in public places. Yes, I’ve changed adult diapers. What if it had been my dad? Which bathroom would we use? Or would we have had to shove the wheelchair in the bathroom and say, “you’re on your own, pops!”

Parents of young children deal with this issue all the time. Dads take their toddler girls into the men’s room, moms take their young boy children into the women’s restroom. Nobody has freaked out, near as I can tell. I see little boys in public restrooms with mom, I’ve managed to survive. What’s mom supposed to do with her 2-year-old now? Break the law?

What I don’t want is to be using the public bathroom and have someone with a full beard walk in, and not know if this is a man with a creepy bathroom fetish or some poor transgendered person forced to use the women’s restroom. What am I supposed to do, ask this person to drop trou so I can check under the hood? No thanks, Republicans. That’s waaay above my pay grade. This was a ridiculous “answer” to a non-existent “problem.”

So I don’t get how this is supposed to work. But I feel pretty confident that our governor is going to veto it, based on what’s happened to other states which have passed similar legislation. North Carolina’s governor didn’t veto that state’s bathroom bill, and now the NBA is moving the 2017 All Star Game out of the state.

And that’s not all:

Since Governor Pat McCrory signed HB2 into law last month, well over 1,000 jobs have been moved out of state, and over 100 companies, including Facebook, Apple and Stop Pack, have expressed concern or anger, warning they may move or cancel plans to expand, costing the state millions of dollars. In addition to that, by not hosting the 2017 NBA All-Star game, the state stands to lose even more. It is uncertain the exact figure, but in 2014, the All-Star game in New Orleans generated $106.1 Million and in 2015, New York generated approximately $195 million in economic activity.

On Sunday, Bruce Springsteen cancelled his concert in Greensboro because of North Carolina’s controversial new LGBT bill stating, “With deepest apologies to our dedicated fans in Greensboro, we have canceled our show scheduled for Sunday, April 10th. Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them. It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.”

In case you wondered, it seems bathroom bills targeting transgendered people are all the rage among Red State Republicans these days. Not just in Tennessee and North Carolina, but also in Florida, South Carolina, South Dakota, Michigan, Indiana, etc. If you’re wondering why the sudden interest in which bathroom people use, well, this is what happens when you outsource your legislating to interest groups like the Family Research Council.

And while I concede some of this may be a result of state actions clarifying guidelines on transgender issues, I think most of it stems from an increasingly panicked conservative movement, which has watched helplessly as religion continues to die as America’s dominant cultural force. I don’t for a second think anyone really cares which bathroom people use. I do think conservatives are reaching the bottom of the barrel, however. Their key issues used to be abortion and gay rights and prayer in public schools. These were the issues that kept the donations flowing and the mailing lists refreshed. But those issues have pretty much been decided already. Those battles are, for the most part, over. The number of issues which will keep Aunt Edna sending in her $10 check to the FRC, or keep Uncle Elmer voting Republican, or make for a tasty election-year soundbite are running thin. We’ve gone from the big stuff to the increasingly ridiculous. 10 Commandments statues at the courthouse? Umm, okay, maybe that’s important to someone. Or an increasingly small group of someones (personally, I could give a shit. If that floats your boat, no skin off my nose, but it doesn’t mean jack shit).

But now we’re talking who uses what bathroom? How is this not an example of desperation? Of a movement which has completely run out of ideas?


Filed under Tennessee, Tennessee politics, TNGOP

9 responses to “Would Someone Help Republicans Find Their Way Out Of The Bathroom, Please

  1. Democommie

    Oil and water don’t mix; hatred, racism, sexism, tone deafness and misogyny, otoh, combine perfectly to cause that brain death inducing syndrome known by its letters, “GOP”.

  2. Kosh III

    “But I feel pretty confident that our governor is going to veto it, based on what’s happened to other states which have passed similar legislation. ”

    I’m not. Remember this governor defended and signed HB600 which overturned Metro’s law requiring non-discrimination.

  3. Larry Lewis

    While it’s not your post’s main point, the report about the NBA cancelling its All Star game appears to be a hoax. I wish that weren’t the case. http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/davidbadash/no_nba_did_not_cancel_north_carolina_repeal_anti_lgbt_law

    Also, your link to the Florida legislature’s attempt to mirror NC’s law refers to bills in the FL House & Senate which died later in 2015. However, there are now revived attempts this spring to push such a law, here in the Sunshine State.

    • the report about the NBA cancelling its All Star game appears to be a hoax.

      Thanks for catching that. God I hate fake news sites. I don’t get the point of spreading lies on the internet. It’s not even funny, so it can’t be called satire. It’s just bullshit. Who does that? For shits and giggles?

  4. Candy Seagraves

    I am originally from NC and now live in Nashville. I am friends with (although I continually ask myself why) people who are supporters of HB2 (NC’s “bathroom” bill). What you must know is that the real crux of their support has nothing to do with with the bill itself and everything to do with the fact that they don’t believe LGBT is anything short of sin. They’re using “fear of the scary man dressed as a woman in the bathroom with my daughter” as the excuse. But what they really believe is it’s a choice that’s being made by a sinner who is an abomination of God. And those companies who decide not to bring jobs to NC because of the bill…. well, that’s just good riddance to liberal businesses they didn’t want there to begin with. And oh my goodness, the vitriol I’ve read about Springsteen cancelling his NC concert was pretty severe. It reminds me of the Dixie Chicks backlash. To try to reason with them is a waste of breath.

    • Yes, you nailed it. That is 100% correct.

    • Democommie

      They don’t care about those liberal jobs until the ripple effect costs them THEIR job–at which point it turns into a commie plot.

    • The one difference I’d posit this time is that they’re fuckin’ with The Boss, not some corporate-grown country-pop project. Bruce has been picking fights with these kinds of people since a lot of them were no more than itches in their respective parents’ inguinal areas. As such, he’s got a =big= stick with which to start whomping should he choose to, as he recently did. They’ll =never= admit it, but he just left a BIG ol’ welt on their foreheads.

  5. Katydid

    In Europe they have floor-to-ceiling walled cubicles, like side-by-side closets, that anyone can use in privacy. That would have come in handy for me, two decades ago, when my five-year-old son insisted he had to go to the men’s room, thank you very much. I am forever grateful to the men who saw the worried-looking woman lurking outside the men’s room and realized I was not a person with a bathroom fetish, but a mom. When I am in the ladies’ room, I am focused on my own needs and not anyone else. It’s entirely possible I’ve used the facilities alongside a transgender person and never even noticed, because they’re in there for the same purpose I am.