Loretta Lynch, it’s about bathrooms. Specifically, government-owned bathrooms. Nothing more. Nothing less. Period.
If a space alien landed on earth in time to hear the Attorney General at her press conference (on Monday, April 9) announce the federal government’s law suit against North Carolina over HB2, the alien would have slithered back into his flying saucer and fled for his extraterrestrial life. Saturday Night Live couldn’t have produced a parody that sounded as silly as Lynch’s “the sky is falling” declaration.
There aren’t enough adult beverages at an average liquor store to make Lynch’s statement any less Dwight Schrute than it was.
Sorry, HB2 threatens no one. And no, North Carolina in 2016 isn’t equivalent to Selma in 1965. Doesn’t matter how many hashtags are used to repurpose the former into the latter, the two are not the same. Even if activism is graded in such a way to pretend that a microaggression is no different than being blasted by a fire hose or attacked by a police dog, North Carolina and Selma are decidedly separate and in all ways unequal.
The only way the Attorney General’s rhetoric, and indeed the manufactured outrage over HB2 makes any sense at all, is when Obama’s legacy is factored into the equation. His Presidency is a failed one in search of a legacy. There has to be something that grandparents in the 2050s can tell youngins the man Main Street or the local elementary school is named for actually accomplished:
“Nana, who was Barack Obama”, the little boy asked pointing towards the sign.
“Well, young man”, granny takes in a deep drag from her federally legalized joint, “a long time ago LGBTQ people used to be rounded up like cattle, forced to drink water and eat prunes, and then stand outside public bathrooms and actually choose which ones to go potty in”.
“Oh my, Nana, they couldn’t just go in there and go potty all by themselves?”.
“No”, granny wistfully explained, “they had to look at a sign and then figure out which one they were most like. It could take days sometimes before they could figure it out and go to the bathroom”.
“Did any of them die, Nana?”, tears welled up in the child’s eyes.
“Yes, my dear, some did. And they secretly took the bodies out to Crawford, Texas in the dead of night and buried them in mass graves at George W. Bush’s ranch. But don’t worry, Barack Obama fixed all that”.
“Yay, Nana”, the little boy cheered, “I want to go to Barack Obama Elementary School and Barack Obama Middle School and Barack Obama High School and then study Barack Obama at Barack Obama State College on Barack Obama Avenue in Obamaville when I’m old enough”.
“Yes you can, young man”, the old lady smiled.
“No, Nana”, the boy smiled back, “yes WE can!”.
That’s how it’s supposed to work out anyway.
The jobs thing didn’t work out. Nor did a carbon exchange. In Cuba, the Obamas couldn’t get a single Castro whether Fidel, Raul, or otherwise to meet them at the airport. In Riyadh, the local governor met them at the airport (imagine if a foreign head of state landed in Washington D.C. and the only one there to meet him/her was Muriel Bowser). Getting us out of wars somehow turned into a broad array of diffuse, shadowy engagements in places we’re not supposed to be involved in anymore and/or at all. (Didn’t Richard Nixon get into a whole lot of hot water when secret US involvement in Cambodia and Laos was revealed; oh what a difference fifty years makes). There aren’t oodles of green jobs here, there, and everywhere. Where there are green jobs, they often come with provisions that allow power plant operators to kill more than the recommended daily allowance of endangered species. Nobody’s buying Chevy Volts or Obamacare insurance coverage. Secretary of Personality John Kerry’s chief accomplishment abroad is a faulty deal with the Iranians that followed media reports describing Kerry as cowering in fear whenever Foreign Minister Javad Zarif “bullied him” during the negotiations. All the isms that were supposed to melt away when Obama descended from the heavens to lead us mere mortals away from our own depravities instead are worse than they’ve been since The Simpsons were a short feature on The Tracey Ullman Show.
So HB2 emerges as the administration’s latest and greatest shot at having a legacy that outlasts Barack Obama’s eight years in office. It’s like that has-been rock star from 1984 who’s always on a comeback tour waiting for the day when big hair, face paint, and chaps comes back in style.
When the space alien comes back, hopefully he’ll land at a public restroom. He can slither inside and talk to the truly exploited partisans of this non-issue issue. The toilets. What if a urinal isn’t feeling very urinal on any given day and would rather be treated like an automobile? What if a BMW in the parking lot wants to be a urinal? Who has the right to say? How does a toilet feel about being objectified morning, noon, and night?
#PorcelainLivesMatter! So do stainless steel ones. And the temporary plastic ones found at construction sites and outdoor music festivals.
What if North Carolina wakes up and decides they feel like being Rhode Island? Loretta Lynch’s Justice Department is suing North Carolina, not Rhode Island. Doesn’t that get The Tarheel State off the hook for HB2? Seems that way to me.
Then again, Rhode Island’s official name is “Rhode Island and Providence Plantations”. Yep. Plantations. Places where real oppression took place against a population of ruthlessly exploited human beings. That a deep blue state like Rhode Island maintains “plantations” in its name and not a single liberal cares suggests there are bigger problems to explore than HB2.
Ben Rhodes? Anyone? Anyone?
Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/izik/3213479560 (CC BY 2.0); Isaac Wedin