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.