Bells & Whistles

All the News Not Fit to Print

"Your" Bathrooms or "Our" America?

"Your" Bathrooms or "Our" America?

Dear Mr. Reyes,

I write in regards to your recent article entitled “Enjoy your transgender bathrooms. We just lost America.” It’s clear you possess a large amount of anger against your fellow countrymen, so while I understand some of this content was born from rage and fear that does not excuse the wide gaps in fact.

Obviously your title is the most troubling. The article clearly mourns a country that “we” have lost, yet slings complaints and insults at the proverbial “you” who have caused it. Are you trying to absolve yourself of responsibility for this perceived loss?  For being so concerned about an allegedly divided nation, you’re doing an awful lot of finger pointing.

If America faces another World War III, I’d say we are well prepared. According to the SIPRI military expenditure database, the United States is world champion in military spending by a large margin. We spend more than the next ten nations of the world combined, eight of whom are allies. If World War does eventually darken our doorstep, the US would unquestionably dominate. Transgender bathrooms have zero effect on our military readiness, which you must know.

I’ll address your specific list of grievances in order:

We forget that our grandfathers stormed beaches to protect freedom. Instead, we demand that the freedom now come in the form of a shelter from hearing words we don’t like.

How about other things we don’t like? Gay marriage? Letting transgender people use the bathroom of their choice? If you’re not OK with demanding shelter from hearing certain words, why are you OK with demanding shelter from certain lifestyles?

We flip out because our $7 coffee comes in a red cup.

What does that even mean?

We cancel concerts and cost people jobs because we don’t agree with a law that the people of the state passed.

What about the people those laws are targeting? Laws which allow them to be refused service in places of commerce? That has a negative effect on the economy, not to mention perpetuation of the fear and persecution these people have endured for centuries. If you’re in the business of commerce, then conduct commerce and leave your religion at home. Even the Bible says to always pray in private.

We care more about protecting where someone can take a leak than we care about the safety of our children.

I have had first hand exposure to the horrors people are capable of performing against children. I assume you are concerned about the safety of children because the bathroom law allows transgender people to choose the bathroom that they align themselves with. I’m sure the thought of Caitlin Jenner, or whoever, taking a leak next to your daughter is frightening. Your assumption that transgender people are more prone to violence against children is completely unfounded--your daughter is in the same amount of danger if you let her go to the bathroom alone regardless of whether her stall mate is transgender or born a woman. Look at the numbers--you will find the perpetrators are likely central figures in the young ones life and do not skew towards any gender. In fact, according to the Justice Department, only 10% of child sexual abuse perpetrators are strangers. I doubt that state laws would impact much of a change in the behavior of deranged psychopaths who prey on women in public. It’s not like they were all huddling outside the woman’s bathroom waiting for the law to change so they could finally go in. 

We give out trophies to kids who come in 8th place. Eighth freaking place.

8th or Eighth? Be consistent. 

We dig up the graves of people who have been dead for a hundred-plus years because they had something to do with the Confederate flag, and that offends someone NOW.

I assume you’re referring to this story, in which the Memphis city council voted to dig up the grave of Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest so it could be moved to another location. Dylan Roof deliberately aligned himself with the Confederacy and executed a horrific attack targeting black churchgoers in Charleston. Thus a large movement developed in the south for the removal of Confederate relics as symbols of hate. You have no idea what it’s like the be black, and neither do I, but taking down any public relic worshipped by mass murderers seems like a compelling state interest to me.

We pick sides and parties and teams and defend them to the ends of the Earth, ignoring the facts, pointing the fingers and hoping someone else will cover the cost of our skyrocketing and borderline pointless health insurance.

I don’t think anyone would agree with you that health insurance is pointless. As far as picking sides and ignoring the facts, all you have to do is look in the mirror.

We ignore the simple facts about our dangerously open borders and the lack of a vetting process for refugees, then we stand in horror as ISIS attacks and we ask our politicians how they could have let this happen. And then, of course, we put a fast lane in for more to cross the border.

There’s a lot to unpack here, but I’ll address the major theme which is that ISIS militants are crossing the border in waves. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, and you know it. The process with which refugees are screened by the United States is among the most stringent in the world. After displacing, by conservative estimates, 3.5 million people with the Iraq war, sheltering a sliver of that number is the absolute least we could do. San Bernadino and Orlando were not orchestrated by refugees. In fact Omar Mateen and Syed Farook were both American citizens. Instead of thinking about how to isolate ourselves we should ask the question that no one has--WHY are they radicalizing, then address that underlying issue. Happy to elaborate if you write back.

We put in place more gun laws to prevent the bad guys from doing bad things. Because for some reason, we believe that bad guys give a damn about laws and that giving them an open shooting range on a military base or school campus will somehow protect our citizens. But then we completely ignore the massive problem of mental health in this country. We’re more worried about the tool than we are the person.

33,169 gun related deaths in the US last year, or just over 1 percent of total fatalities in the nation. 11,208 deaths by homicide (3.5 per 100,000), which is just about the same as Iran. More restrictions on gun accessibility necessarily means it’s harder for bad guys to get them and commit crimes with them. Not a hard equation to follow.

We cry out that police are our enemies … and then we beg them to protect us from the likes of ISIS.

So far the only American forces to engage with ISIS fighters are warplanes and special forces in a limited capacity. Any police department sending men to fight in Iraq and Syria would be news to me, and I’m sure it would be news to the Department of Defense as well.

We celebrate court rulings with rainbow flags that speak volumes about how far we’ve come and how inclusive we are as Americans … then we tell our neighbors to remove their American flags and stop saying “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukkah” because it offends us.

Can’t find any story where neighbors had to remove American flags. As far as “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hannukkah” I’d love if you could elaborate.

We fight tooth and nail over whether someone dying of stage four pancreatic cancer should be allowed to use medical marijuana while drugs like heroin are running rampant in our schools.

While I totally agree heroin is a huge problem and needs to be more aggressively addressed, not sure where the connection is between medical marijuana and schoolyard junkies. Medical marijuana is regulated by the government and has killed exactly zero people. Regulation of heroin ranges from extremely poor in the form of prescription opioid pills to not at all in the case of street products. Let’s not muddy the pond with two topics that are completely different.

We teach kids that there should be no boys section or girls section at the store, but our kids notice that we won’t sit down with our neighbor for a beer because they have a different skin color and we’re too busy fighting over what is and isn’t racism.

I don’t have children so I can’t address this one, but I will say that as a father I would consider tolerance and acceptance of your fellow man as the most important message I could teach. Can you say the same?

We hold massive rallies demanding $15/hour for flipping burgers … but we sit quietly on the sidelines when our men and women protecting our country who make $11/hour aren’t getting paid because Congress is debating their funding.

I assume you’re referring to the movement to raise the federal minimum wage to $15/hour, which is barely enough to support a family. It seems you forgot that if the minimum wage was raised, then those men and women in uniform making $11/hour would stand to benefit as much as the guy flipping burgers.

We change our profile pictures to colors that represent solidarity with a country that was attacked by terrorists … then we attack our neighbors for being concerned that the same could happen here.

If only we showed solidarity with every country victimized by terrorism, not just one of our Western allies.

We’re terribly focused on what matters to us as individuals. Marriage. Cell phones. Birth control. On and on and on. We’re so worried about what matters to “me” that we forgot that in order for us to have a “me” … we have to first have an “us.” A safe “us.” A unified “us.” An “us” that can at least find some kind of middle ground.

Couldn’t agree more. What do you mean, though, by “us”? Does that include transgender people? Gays and lesbians? People who have the deck stacked against them? Or does it exclude the “you” so divisively targeted in your article’s title?

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