Deconstruction of Equality
“Deconstruction of the administrative state” was a term coined by Steve Bannon, during a speech to the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) earlier this year. CNN reporter Gregory Krieg wrote, “The process began with presidential hires…’ If you look at these Cabinet appointees, they were selected for a reason and that is the deconstruction...in an agency,’ Bannon said.” While Mr. Bannon is no longer on the White House staff, he remains on speed dial with the President.
Over the last nine months, we can see clearly what steps various Cabinet appointees have taken to deconstruct LGBTQ equality. Consider the following…
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos stated that she would defend the rights of LGBTQ students. Her parents’ foundation has given extensively to the Family Research Council, and her husband has written large checks to Focus on the Family. Both groups are ardent anti-LGBTQ organizations that also support conversion therapy. Then, when asked as to whether she would protect LGBTQ students who were discriminated against in the education system, she replied that it was a state issue, not a federal one.
Over at Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Ben Carson is quite consistent. Going back to 2013, Carson has held a position of intolerance toward the LGBTQ community. Referencing the efforts for same-sex marriage, he stated that he is not against gays, he is only against those who want to redefine marriage as being anything other than between one man and one woman. But that wasn’t enough. “It’s a well-established, fundamental pillar of society and no group, be they gays...be they people who believe in bestiality. It doesn’t matter what they are. They don’t get to change the definition.” Additionally, in May, 2017 Carson spoke to a global conference of anti-LGBT activists.
Ironically, the offices of Attorney General Jeff Sessions are located at 1800 Martin Luther King, Jr Ave. SE. Not one to leave his prejudices in check, Sessions recently issued new guidance that allows religious groups and individuals the ability to discriminate based on their religious beliefs. Misconstrued as “religious freedom,” this movement across the religious right is now the mantra for Sessions. Your faith tells you that homosexuality is a sin? Fine, you may now discriminate. You can even refuse service to, or fire, homosexuals and transgender persons. The irony is compounded when we realize that this directive came on the nineteenth anniversary of the attack on Matthew Shepard that led to his death six days later.
And, of course, President Donald Trump has done his part for deconstruction of equality. He raised the stakes among the anti-LGBT crowd by speaking at the Values Voter Summit. He is the first sitting President to address this gathering of multiple right-wing groups. Trump, of course, has paved the way for transgender troops to be removed from active military service. While this has not taken root among the generals and commanders who run the military, the plan is in for them to be escorted out. Trump has surrounded himself with those who will “deconstruct” any and every advance in LGBTQ rights that Obama and others put in place.
I invited several friends to share their thoughts on what “Deconstruction of Equality” meant to them. Linda Gregory wrote, “Our country is in crisis! Many of our leaders have been given the ‘green light’ on affirming their own personal thoughts and discriminatory actions against LGBTQ persons. Many have forgotten that they were elected by the people— to represent the people, not themselves or their agenda.
Prejudice is alive and thriving in America under DT!”
David Hagelin wrote, “So many policies that the Trump administration is trying to initiate, terminate, or otherwise change from the Obama administration fly in the face of equality. A prime example...the effort to prohibit transgender folks from military service. Rights for the “T” part of LGBTQ seem particularly under attack today. Then there’s the Charlottesville tragedy with the president suggesting there are “good people” in the white supremacist faction...pitting white nationalists against people of color. Pitting one group against another to further divide people along ethnic, racial, and religious lines seems to be a hallmark of this administration.”
Lastly, David Dagenais shares, “Given its young age, the sexual revolution that resulted in legal-only LGBTQ equality is still tentative, as many of the rights of homosexuals are still subject to unacceptance and outright active resistance by a wide variety of Americans. This is being driven largely by many religious leaders and their political affiliates.
This leaves LGBTQ equality (still incomplete) in a tender state as rights so recently won are easily and swiftly withdrawn by the courts and those who carry out their decisions.”
We live each day wondering what new laws will be ignored or overturned, giving people permission to discriminate. This is not making America great again. It divides us and makes us weaker. Wouldn’t it be more constructive to try to understand one another and in the spirit of collaboration, become united?