14. The Reactionary Crusade Against Trans Rights Is an Assault on Democracy – and Some Thoughts on the Idea of a “National Divorce”
After an unexpected hiatus, we are back! And we focus on what is undoubtedly one of the most pressing democracy and civil rights issues in America today: The escalating assault on trans rights, the reactionary crusade against one of the country’s most vulnerable communities. We talk about the situation of trans people in the U.S. and do our best to address the confusion, misinformation, and anxiety that are constantly being weaponized. We look at the unprecedented wave of anti-trans bills, the efforts to legislate trans people out of the public square and out of existence, and why all this is happening now; explore the longer-term historical context of crusades against the LGBTQ community in general and examine what’s changed from the more recent, and mostly unsuccessful, wave of “bathroom bills” from just a few years ago to what we are currently witnessing; and situate this attack on trans people in the broader context of the reactionary attempts to roll back the post-1960s rights revolution. We also explore both the tactical, opportunistic as well as the ideological reasons for why the attack on trans people is, even by the standards of today’s rightwing politics, so particularly aggressive and vile. Finally, we discuss why much of the mainstream media coverage has decided not to present this as the struggle for equality and civil rights protections it is, but is overwhelmingly focused on the entirely misleading idea that too many kids and teenagers are being pushed into transitioning, that there is a “trans problem” that constitutes a national emergency: A coverage that exemplifies the worst of neutrality theater journalism and displays all the hallmarks of the ways in which an ostensibly liberal media covered past moral panics – We also look at the idea of a “national divorce”, of dissolving the country into red states and blue states, that, interestingly, quite a few people on both sides seem to find attractive, at least in theory. We discuss what to make of this “national divorce” discourse, whether or not to take it seriously, and why it is predicated on a misleading view of America’s political geography that is not so much shaped by “red states vs blue states,” but by a sharp urban vs rural divide. We end on a rather sober note: While a “national divorce” cannot be the solution, the fact that a shrinking minority of white conservatives is consistently being enabled to hold on to power against the will of the majority of voters does indeed constitute a rapidly worsening political crisis that will have to be resolved - one way or the other.
This episode was produced by Connor Lynch
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