When fear mongering is your main argument

It is hard to back away from an erroneous point, when fear mongering is your argument. Let’s face it, fear sells. This is why politicians use it and why it is used in commercials to push product.

Politicians tend to use it most when their arguments are poor or the data goes largely against their points. Some of the Presidential candidates have said the Affordable Care Act will cost us millions of jobs, when, in fact, it has not and is working pretty well, but could stand a few improvements. Same with the economy, as some Presidential candidates say it is horrible, yet it is doing pretty well.

In my home state of North Carolina, our General Assembly passed an unconstitutional law that restricts the rights of LGBT citizens, in general, but specifically targets transgender people by restricting them to the bathroom based on their birth gender.

This law was passed and signed in twelve hours in an especially called General Assembly session. It was designed, but went further, to overturn an ordinance in Charlotte which mirrored 200 similar laws nationwide permitting transgenders to use the restroom of identification.

To sell the law, fear was used. Direct fear that any man could choose to go in the restroom with your little girl. Indirect fear is implied that transgenders must also be perverts, which is not based in fact. These are people trying to find themselves. They are discriminated against based on lack of understanding.

Yet, in 200 cities that have these laws, examples of inappropriate use are hard to come by. The fear has been sensationalized to the point it is hard to reason with someone. It also made it difficult for the General Assembly to back away as they know they screwed up.

A similar law was ruled unconstitutional by the Court of Appeals in Virginia, which would oversee an appeal of the lawsuit against the state. The Attorney General for the state refuses to defend the law in court, which he has done before on laws that were ruled unconstitutional passed by this GOP led Assembly.

The law has received a huge backlash from business with canceled expansion plans, canceled conventions, canceled shows and reduced turnout at the spring Furniture Market in High Point. It is expected that the fall market will be decimated as the designers had  already committed to the spring show.

Even with these concerns, the law will make things worse on the restroom issue and is unenforceable unless each restroom will use a policeman. Many transgender people look like their gender of identification, so being required to use the restroom of gender birth will be a problem. Also, some have had their gender legally changed and they would run afoul of the new law.

This law was rushed through in twelve hours. Many folks did not know the LGBT restrictions were added, which are discriminatory by themselves. It was passed on fear. So, these lawmakers who know they screwed up have boxed themselves in.

20 thoughts on “When fear mongering is your main argument

  1. Pig-headed individuals who love to railroad their agenda through due process; who have such pride that they are beyond listening to reason that would question their decisions, and who practice hypocrisy as if it were an acceptable aspect of human nature, now want your vote.
    Sadly, many of the candidates have all those traits…. but if they get elected, then the population should do some deep thinking. Simplifying that, if you/we vote for someone who “lies, cheats and steals”, then you/we should not be surprised when they “lie, cheat and steal” in office! Voting is not a science, but rather just responding to simple logic.

  2. There was a twitter post indicating that more legislators have been arrested in bathrooms for inappropriate behavior than transgender people. And when you consider that in the context that ALL of the trans people were arrested merely for being trans not for ACTUALLY inappropriate behavior, but the legislators don’t have that context… it becomes ludicrous.

    There has never been a single reported case of sexual abuse perpetrated by a transgender person in a bathroom.

    Now consider the context around the cases of GOP legislators arrested in bathrooms. They are acting in this ridiculous manner because their party has made being gay into something that must be hidden and acted on in dark corners. So they end up in public restrooms acting like idiots.

    This entire thing has not just been morally reprehensible but reminds me of the behavior of three year olds who willfully act in ways that they have already experienced as bad but can’t connect the dots to the consequences.

    • Truly awesome and compelling comment! I remember the US Congressman who was nabbed in an airport bathroom known for hook-ups, who said after touching an undercover cop’s foot, “I have a wide stance.”

  3. Unfortunately, fear sells… and gets politicians votes. They wouldn’t pass these laws if they feared a voter backlash that would effect their political jobs. Unfortunately, many states are gerrymandered to such an extent, they are safe whatever they do. I don’t know what the situation is in NC. Has the backlash made any difference yet (other than to make them look bigoted and stupid)?

    • Janis, your comment describes NC as well. In fact, an appellate court said the gerrymandering needed to be fixed in two districts for the US Congressional seats and all districts were redrawn.

  4. Note to Readers: Rivaling fear mongering is blaming folks, especially when it is for problems you created. The NC GOP led assembly and governor know they screwed up. The reason you can tell is they are doing all they can to blame the Charlotte City Council as the reason they had to pass unconstitutional legislation. The bathroom part of the legislation would be overturned in appeal, but stripping language to protect the civil rights of LGBT was one bridge too far, as was taking the right for all citizens to be able to bring an employment lawsuit against am employer as was denying the right for a city to institute a higher minimum wage, which had absolutely nothing to do with the transgender law.

    The blame is akin to saying I am mad at you for not playing with me after I stole your sand toys.

  5. “Politicians tend to use it (fear) most when their arguments are poor or the data goes largely against their points.” The whole gender agenda is based on fear. We fuss over bathrooms while real criminals and perverts deal in drugs and guns, which are a lot more dangerous.

  6. Push back against this type of politics is indeed necessary Keith, but we’re in for a long and pitch battle. So I think it important, as I mentioned in a post today, that in our push back we come to realize that we are now the new political conservatives pitted against right-wing authoritarian revanchist, and their politics of recapture via retaliation. It’s about payback, not policy at the blush level of political instigation. With Anarcho-capitalism Koch Brother types playing puppet masters.

    And I think it mindful to consider that change is hard and unsettling during the best of times, even to those most open to it’s potential and possibilities. To those who fear change, imagine what they must be feeling when gender roles mesh, and marriage is re-interpreted, and the possibility of a women President following a black POTUS mix with the high-tech and low-wage shake out of a evolving global economy, and all of that in the blink of a generation going through a demographic restructuring.

    Some nullification, Katie bar the door, and to hell in a hand basket, while whistling Dixie pass the graveyard is to be expected.

    So it’s the left who must embrace the conservative call for the tried and true, and constitutional order.

    Fine points in a good post.


    • Thanks Doug. I feel much of the angst in the changing demographics and disenfranchised folks gaining access to their rights. This dissonance to the current majority is unsettling and the vacuum has been filled by a carnival barker who cares little about the truth. Great comment, Keith

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