Can we just agree that there are certain issues that belong at the local level?

One of the breathless news reports I heard on the way in to work this morning discussed President Trump’s latest action to lift Obama-era “guidance” on the transgender bathroom issue. The “guidance” strongly suggested (“those federal funds look nice, it’d be a shame if anything happened to them…”) that school districts which implemented policies restricting bathroom use to that of one’s sex would be in violation of Title IX, the anti-sex discrimination law that, by the way, has nothing to do with the concept of gender identity.

Trans advocates and even teacher’s unions have blasted the decision, but theirs is a very instrumental and unprincipled argument. In their view, process, the role of the Federal government, and respect for varying norms and approaches across our vast nation are set aside for their preferred outcome (which really is a hallmark of leftist politics these days, isn’t it?).

The fundamental question of politics is “who decides?”. In a country of 300 million people spanning a continent and change, we have and need a system that localizes decision-making for issues like this. The transgender issue has moved so rapidly through the culture, with little in the way of scientific or factual consensus about what it even is, let alone a shared understanding of how to deal with it. The last thing that needs to happen is a Federal mandate, a top-down directive imposing a one-size-fits-all approach to the issue. States and localities need time to work through it, experimenting based on the unique set of cultural norms, views, and priorities of their constituencies.

And that’s all this action does–return decision-making to the state and local levels. Where it belongs.


  1. While i agree with ya, i find that once some kind of “right” has been solidified by the federal government and blanket enforced over the whole of the nation, any attempt to send it “back to the states” bring howls of rage from the usual suspects.

    One side wants a “one size fits all” approach, and any opposition is labeled as hate and stripping rights away, enumerated or not, to them it doesn’t matter. all must compile on pain of ridicule and hate.

    The Concept of Federalism is scoffed at, with the complaint that having a patchwork of laws is counterproductive and is confusing. With one set of actions or behaviors being legal and accepted in one state, and not so in another. Tehy say this is unacceptable conditions for any one to live in, and not proper for a civilized society. These are the same people that promote diversity for the sake of diversity, but will not allow for diversity in laws. The Founders intended each state to be laboratory’s of the operation of democracy, each states residents finding their own way to live their lives with one another. sadly we have gotten so far from that ideal.

  2. Unlike weed. That decision the States cannot be trusted to make for themselves. Jeff Sessions’ gonna ride in and enforce federal law, no matter what your little referendum decided.
    I am cool with federalism when it is not applied selectively to enforce a particular agenda.

  3. Oh, fun, do you frequently make the same point when it comes to local law enforcement and immigration issues?

  4. Nope. Immigration control is firmly within the powers of the federal government and the federal government has the authority to set the terms for any funding it provides localities and states.

    If localities and states don’t want the money, don’t comply. It’s no different to me than how the states all agreed to raise the drinking age to 21 over highway funding.

  5. Even if the funding is completely unrelated to the issue? So you are ok with immigration enforcement being a condition of Medicare funding?
    Separate to that, what’s the difference between enforcing a set drinking age and enforcing some fire arm restrictions? Why is one in the purview of the federal government and the other isn’t? If Obama tied universal background checks to highway funding, you’d support it?

  6. Sure, make the fight about Medicare. If any state or local governments actually want to endanger their own tax-paying citizens for the sake of people who are in the country illegally, that’s a fight I’m perfectly comfortable having. I’d relish it, even. It would be political suicide for the states to try it. Easy win.

    For the other type of restrictions you mention, such as firearms in exchange for federal funding, I wouldn’t exactly “support it”, but I’d acknowledge that the states have the option of taking the money or not complying and having to make the case to their citizens for tax increases or shitty roads in exchange for playing along with background checks. Turnabout’s fair play, I guess.

    Let people make their choices, right?

  7. Medicare was just an example of something ridiculous and unrelated. It came to mind because I remember being shocked when states refused the Medicare expansion funds. But the argument is not even about protecting illegals, it’s about using law enforcement resources to round them up. This costs money and man power, and in most places the resources are already stretched thin.
    Man, i would have loved to see the NRA’s reaction if Obama tied gun control to federal funding.

  8. See, I don’t think it’s necessary to round them up. Trump can just say, “We’re going to pass an amazing–amazing–immigration reform. The immigrants we want can live here legally if they go through the process; but if they are living in the country illegally after the date I sign the legislation, they will be permanently banned from the program.”

    There’s a number of things he can do to encourage them to self-deport. It’s way better than the optics of sending out goon squads to drag Latino kids out of their homes.

  9. Well, sure and that was sort of the idea behind the Dream Act. But that’s not an idea that’s popular with your side of the isle.
    Deputizing local police and deporting people left and right seems to be the direction now. The threat to cut off funding to sanctuary cities literally translates to ‘we won’t give you money if you refuse to round up illegals for us.’

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