Posted by: Donna
Late Wednesday afternoon, the Arizona House of Representatives Appropriations Committee made a large group of people wait several hours before they could hear testimony and comment on committee chair John Kavanagh’s “bathroom bill”. Kavanagh’s bill is basically retribution for the recent Phoenix City Council vote to include gender expression and disability in the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance, which gave Cathi Herrod of Center for Arizona Policy a big old conniption fit.
The vast majority of the audience were there in opposition to the bill. When it was finally brought up for hearing, they filed up to the dais one after another to tell their stories as best they could in the short time each were permitted. Many were transgender individuals describing what a harrowing ordeal using restrooms and other public spaces is for them. One speaker reminded the committee that transgender people are the minority group most likely to be murdered in hate crimes. But there were touching expressions of hope and dignity and humor in much of the testimony too. Also, I’m pretty sure this hearing was the first time the word “cisgendered” was ever heard in the Arizona Legislature, which I have to say was very cool.
There was one speaker in support of the bill, small business owner Nohl Rosen, who felt that Phoenix’s ordinance trampled on the freedom of business owners. Fun fact about Mr. Rosen: Last November he signed a petition along with thousands of others disgruntled about the results of the Presidential election to have Arizona secede from the union.
Nohl Rosen describes himslef as an Independent, disappointed in the Obama Administration, and he is one of more than 14,000 Arizonanas who want some space.
“This is not the country I was born in and grew up loving. It’s turned into something completely different,” Rosen said.
They’ve signed this petition on the White House Web page, asking that Arizona peacefully secede from the Union. And we’re not alone, thousands of people 40 states, from Rhode Island to California, have signed petitions for their state to separate. Texas has more than 82,000 signatures alone, each one saying ‘”I want out.”
“When we decided to break off from England people thought those people were nuts. These people were the forefathers of our country!” said Rosen.
With that, I’ll give Mr. Rosen’s opinions on this matter the full consideration they are due. Here’s his business, in case you don’t want to patronize it. (I will give him points for being a big cat lover, though.)
Sadly, Kavanagh’s bigoted bill passed the committee 7-4, with the four Democrats (Campbell, Alston, Mach, and Sherwood) voting no and speaking eloquently against it. Republican Representative Kavanagh made a spectacular jerk of himself at the hearing. He condescendingly referred to “so-called transgendered people” at one point, suggesting that trans people are faking their identities (for what reason I cannot imagine). He claimed he wasn’t accusing transgender people of being predators but was concerned that male predators would pretend to be trans-women so as to gain access to women’s restrooms (oh wait, maybe that’s why he thinks transgender people are faking it?). When Kavanagh explained his yes vote he made this astonishing statement: “This is not about civil rights, it’s about civility.”
I grew up reading the columns of the wonderful Judith Martin, AKA Miss Manners, in the Washington Post. Contrary to what you may assume about Miss Manners if you’re not familiar with her work, she is not a fork-obsessed snob. She abhors using conventions of decorum to assert one’s social superiority at the expense of others. Miss Manners has always stressed that the point of etiquette is to increase happiness and to make social interactions as uncomplicated and comfortable as possible. This is why so many of the calls for “civility” in politics today leave me cold. All too often it’s what John Kavanagh and Cathi Herrod are doing, which is using “civility” to do the exact opposite of promoting happiness and comfort.
As for the forks, use the one farthest from your plate for each course.
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