- - Thursday, June 2, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

President Obama is suddenly tired of being the nation’s permanent latrine orderly. He insists, against all the evidence, that he didn’t ask for the job and he doesn’t understand why everyone thinks he wants to monitor the soap and toilet paper in the nation’s toilets.

“Somehow people think that I made it an issue,” he told an audience in Indiana this week. “I didn’t make it an issue.” He told a questioner that he agrees that other presidential concerns are more important. “There are a lot of things that are more pressing, you’re absolutely right.”

Mr. Obama sometimes shows a conveniently short memory. It was his “directive” to the nation’s schools that they must accommodate the transgendered among us in the way that the transgendered — who account for less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the population — insist on being accommodated. If the schools don’t, he will withhold the millions of dollars of federal money they have coming to them.

This is getting to be a little too much interference for 11 states that have sued to prevent his nuclear option, and even for some of the president’s ideological and partisan allies. The director of the Georgia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has resigned to protest the president’s directive. Maya Dillard Smith said she parted ways with the ACLU, which wholeheartedly supports the directive, after she saw the light in what was once called a ladies’ room in Atlanta, where her elementary-school daughters felt threatened when “three transgender adults” over six feet tall, “with deep voices,” entered the loo. “My children were visibly frightened, concerned about their safety and left asking lots of questions for which I, like many parents, was ill-prepared to answer.”

She says the ACLU makes it clear that there can be no discussion or dissent of the directive, and expects everyone to salute and move on. The president, who, it seems safe to assume, never encounters threatening visitors with deep voices in his own toilet off the Oval Office, has made it equally clear that there can be no discussion of his directive.

Mr. Obama insists that he was just trying to be friendly with his directive to the schools to make sure than anyone, whether feeling like a boy or a girl, could enter any restroom or locker room without feeling bullied or even strange. “You have transgender kids in schools, and they get bullied,” he says. “And the question then is, schools are asking us, the Department of Education, for guidance. And my answer is, that … we should try to create an environment with some dignity and kindness for these kids. That’s sort of the bottom line.” (So to speak.)

His dignity and kindness is for some, but not for others. If Mr. Obama wants to be the nation’s latrine orderly, he should make sure there’s dignity and kindness for all. The 99 and nine-tenths percent deserve something, too, even if they aren’t contemplating changing their sex. Or “gender,” as the squeamish insist on calling it. He’s the president of everyone in the place.

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