Thursday, April 21, 2016

"A Special Kind of Ignorance" Infects the Ashe County Commission

On Monday night, the Ashe County Commission, which apparently didn't want The Guv and the General Assembly to feel lonely in their quest to become the laughing stock of the nation, unanimously passed a resolution of support for HB2. The meeting was full of the kind of "out there" statements that Phil Berger, Roy McCrory, and other supporters of HB2 have spread around -- that somehow grown men, a.k.a. "sexual predators," were by the grace of God and the passage of HB2 now being prevented from going into women's rooms to molest small girls.

That fantasy is so far off the known gravitational pull of earth as to be laughable, but the Ashe Commissioners were eating it up, and the preachers were slopping the hogs.

We wouldn't necessarily have noticed the overwhelming aroma of self-righteousness and self-induced hysteria emanating from Ashe County had not a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel took pen to paper and sent in a letter to the Jefferson Post blasting the "special kind of ignorance" that had propelled the Ashe elected officials into the netherworld of the culture wars.

"It takes a special kind of ignorance to waste time on a frivolous resolution rather than focusing on improving the lives of their fellow Ashe Countians," Ken Lynn wrote. "It takes a special kind of ignorance to inflict this craziness on fellow citizens. How do the county commissioners intend to enforce this law? Will we be required to carry a copy of our birth certificate? Will a new Bathroom Compliance Officer position be created so body parts can be checked against our birth certificate before we enter the restroom?"

Having known a few dozen preachers in my time, I feel fairly certain that self-reflection will fail them yet again, and Mr. Lynn is more likely to be the subject of their sermons this Sunday, rather than their own ignorant and destructive crusade against some of their fellow citizens.


Mike said...

As the cliche goes: "You can't fix stupid."

James said...

My sister in law lives in Crumpler, and I have used her as a resource for Christmas tree buying for several years.

Not any more. There are lots of options for getting a Christmas tree that don't include supporting a county whose elected officials are so blindingly ignorant.


Anonymous said...

It really shows how far Ashe County has fallen into harsh, right-wing nonsense if you think back thirty or forty years and remember that there was a transgender person that was well-known and liked there for many years.

I won't use her name because I don't know how her family would feel, and I'm referring to her as "she" since she never sought medical treatment to transition that I know of. It was a time when being transgender wasn't well understood and you really only heard about people transitioning from female to male in some of the bigger cities.

She was born female and, for her entire life, from the time she was a small child, she dressed and presented herself as male. She worked at and retired from one of the local factories after many years and even won a national award for her volunteer work. I understand she passed away in her 70s about fifteen years ago, living with some of her family out of state.

She was a common site around West Jefferson when I was growing up. People that worked with her and knew her just accepted her for what she was and she was a long-standing member at at Baptist church there. No one gave a damn what bathroom she wanted to use.

I don't live in Ashe anymore. Going back for visits with family, the thing I've noticed is how close-minded and judgmental its gotten. Sure, there was some of that when I grew up there, with a few people verbally bashing Blacks, gays, or immoral liberals, but they were looked at as the crazy uncles that weren't well educated a little "touched in the head". People seemed more concerned with getting their kids a good education, bringing new business to the county, and building something better for themselves.

Now when I visit, it's not unusual to hear conversations at the next table in a restaurant lamenting the state of the world and blaming Obama for everything. You're more likely to see some ranting op-ed in the "Jefferson Post" from Civitas that's blanketing every other small town paper in the state, rather than something from a local with an education about some project to improve Ashe County's future. Even the local movie theater has taken to playing an endless parade of those evangelical "God Isn't Dead" movies that SNL made fun of a couple of weeks back.

The sad truth that I see with Ashe is that many of the moderate and tolerant people who had enough gumption to get themselves an education just moved out of the place to another part of NC or the country where they could find a job and raise a family. The people that are left spend their time figuring out how to take out as many traffic lights out of downtown to lower taxes and fret over something like HB2, rather than figuring out how to attract some decent jobs there.

There used to be a time when tourism was only a small part of Ashe's economy. Now, it seems to be all that's left. Knowing the extreme negative reaction to HB2 from people in Charlotte, the Triad and Triangle, the county is just digging its own grave a little deeper by supporting this bill.

I thought about retiring to Ashe since I have a family and the old home place there, but not any more. I'd rather spend my last remaining productive years somewhere I could volunteer and socialize with people who are looking forward, rather than backwards at a past that never was.

J.W. Williamson said...

Thanks for writing, Anon 5:49. We appreciate the little piece of history you bring and the clear, well written perspective on the toxic turn of events that has swept across all of the American landscape.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:49 - what a lovely post.

When Congress passed a special law to give Rupert Murdoch citizenship so he could start buying up broadcast media in this country, that's when ignorance and lies became so culturally accepted again. We HAD been moving in a progressive direction until then. I have to say that we have made our home here, in the area we love, for many years; but we are seriously considering where to move when I'm finally ready to 'hang up my spurs' and retire.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:49
Do you want me to help you pack? You move here, in the heart of the Bible Belt, and then you complain because the conservative Christians here don't want men going into the girls bathrooms with young girls?

You would probably be happier in Chapel Hill or Carrboro.

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:46

I was born in Ashe County and grew up there, living there until my twenties. I initially moved away to find work.

I _was_ happy there and wanted to move back until hateful, bigoted, holier-than-thou asses started trying to turn it into some kind of reactionary right-wing enclave.

My ancestors moved to the mountains to get away from religious persecution and I suspect many of the families there now have the same background in their family history. The area, for most of the country's history, has been about the ideas of independent living, watching out for your neighbors, and, most of all, minding your own business.

Perhaps you and the county commissioners should take a history lesson from the old-timers that built a life for their families.

As for the fear of "men dressing up as women to get into girls bathrooms", I have to ask - are you nuts?

The cases of this are so rare that, nationally, it might happen once or twice every year or two. And the incidents where it does happen are covered by existing sexual predator laws that have been on the books for probably a hundred years.

This is a manufactured issue. All it is doing is allowing a small minority of extremist evangelicals to bash transgenders as sexual deviants and deny that they even exist.

If you're huddling in fear that someone like Catlin Jenner is waiting to pounce on your wife or daughter in a restroom, you really should pull your head out of that crevice where the moon doesn't shine and learn a little bit about the outside world beyond the borders of Ashe County.

Anonymous said...

A County Board passes a resolution in support of a state law that seems to make common sense to many of us, and Anon 8:59 asserts that the county is composed of "hateful, bigoted, holier-than-thou asses…" Anon 4:46 thinks Ashe County "has fallen into harsh, right-wing nonsense" and has cancelled plans to retire there. James thinks County elected officials are "blindly ignorant" and will no longer purchase Christmas trees from Ashe County tree farmers.

Talk about rank hypocrisy, I ve seen no better example that these vitriolic slurs on the population of an entire County. Who is really exhibiting hateful, bigoted left-wing nonsense? Liberal ideologues who lie and distort the purpose and impact of a common sense law. I am a former resident of Ashe County and still visit there on occasion. I have never seen or heard a resident of Ashe County express an opinion as hateful, intolerant, mean-spirited and just down right ugly than those who have posted hate speech on this thread.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:19...
Hate speech is threatening speech, usually directed at large groups of (often() disenfranchised individuals. Most of the comments here are directed at a small group of schoolyard Ashe and in Raleigh.....who are trying to divert attention from what is REALLY happening in our state (higher taxes for working families, lack of good jobs, and worse conditions for teachers and students in our schools) to a non-issue (men dressing as women to go pee). It's not the majority of people anywhere in this is a small group of hateful, vocal bullies. And they are tarring the reputations of places like Ashe, to the detriment of the majority of good, honest, hard-working people here.

And yes, we all moved here - whether in this generation or 7 generations ago - because of "the ideas of independent living, watching out for your neighbors, and, most of all, minding your own business'.

(I'm Anon 9:09)

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:19 is concerned about "bigoted left-wing nonsense".

What about the Texas police officer who has threatened to beat senseless any transgender person that uses a restroom with his daughter?

What about the same threats you see against transgenders in comments on news stories or on Facebook posts by McCrory, Berger or the NC Values Coalition about HB2?

In 2015, twenty-one transgenders were killed in hate crimes across the US and countless more were subjected to violence and threats of bodily harm. And that's _without_ a law like HB2.

Is is "common sense" for a law to force a transgender, under the care of a doctor and living life as a woman, to use the same restroom as men? Don't you think that this will just increase violence against transgender females?

On the surface, it's easy to see gender as just plumbing. It isn't - what makes us male or female is a complicated mix of body chemistry. And sometimes that body chemistry doesn't match the plumbing someone is born with.

Isn't it "common sense" to actually help someone with a medical condition, rather than passing a law that puts them in situations where they are subject to violence?

Is HB2 "common sense"? Or is it simply a political scare tactic to detract from far more pressing issues facing our state?

Anonymous said...

If the vote by the Ashe commissioners helps to prevent more liberals from moving here, then I support the initiative!
There are dozens of cases of men "peeping" in ladies rooms, locker rooms and showers. Case after case of perverts filming women who thought they were in "safe" areas. Why would you want to make it easier for these perverts to gain access to these private places.

If a transgender with a penis doesn't want to share rest room facilities with other people with penises.....why in the world would you want to force biological women to do it?

Democrats seen to be confused about gender identity. Here's a hint - Look in your underwear!

Anonymous said...

If the vote by the Ashe commissioners helps to prevent more liberals from moving here, then I support the initiative!
There are dozens of cases of men "peeping" in ladies rooms, locker rooms and showers. Case after case of perverts filming women who thought they were in "safe" areas. Why would you want to make it easier for these perverts to gain access to these private places.

If a transgender with a penis doesn't want to share rest room facilities with other people with penises.....why in the world would you want to force biological women to do it?

Democrats seen to be confused about gender identity. Here's a hint - Look in your underwear!

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:09: Your definition of hate speech is very constrained and self serving. When liberals accuse those of us who support HB2 of being "hateful, bigoted, holier-than-thou asses," that's hateful speech in my book. And your assertion that is it a small group of "hateful, vocal bullies" is absurd. Polls indicate a majority of North Carolinians oppose the Charlotte bathroom ordinance. The "hateful, vocal bullies" are on your side.

Anon 9:52: Many of us have no desire or intention to discriminate against trans gender individuals, but we believe it is common sense for our public schools to maintain separate male and female locker rooms, showers and even restrooms. School administrators should be able to address the special needs of students with mental illnesses without subjecting the vast majority of teenagers, especially females, to the loss of their privacy and to the potential for perversive behavior.

Anonymous said...

A Public Policy Polling poll released yesterday shows that HB2 doesn't have strong support from NC citizens.

45% of those polled oppose the bill, while only 36% support it.

54% think it has a negative impact on NC's economy. Only 11% think it has a positive impact.

53% think it has a negative impact on NC's reputation. Only 22% think it will have a positive impact on the state's image.

44% of voters think that it doesn't have a positive impact to make NC safer. Only 37% think it makes the state safer.

HB2 is supported by Rising America and the NC Values Coalition, two political fundamentalist evangelical organizations that also pushed the legislature to pass Amendment One. Since that law was passed and overturned by the Supreme Court, Public Policy Polling has found a shift in opinions about gay marriage, with opinions about evenly split, as opposed to around 60% supporting Amendment One at the time it was passed.

HB2 is opposed by a number of groups, including different LGBT organizations, the NAACP, student and educator's organizations and mainstream churches including Baptists and Methodists.

Journalists and fact checkers have found _no_ instances of sexual predators using laws protecting transgenders as a cover for activity in bathrooms. Current laws on sexual predators cover this type of activity. NC's bathroom panic is simply a myth.

Finally, when you have comments here and elsewhere hoping that liberals leave Ashe County or North Carolina and op-eds condemning supporters of HB2 as "perverted", such as the one published over the weekend in the Raleigh News and Observer by the NC Values Coaltion, who is being the bully here?

Anonymous said...

How many supported the Charlotte ordinance? The latest poll I've seen show 64% think it was bad policy. And another recent poll conducted by Meeting Street Research shows a plurality in NC supports HB2, 49% to 42%.

Journalists and fact checkers can find no instances of sexual predators using such laws as cover? That just shows how biased the MSM is. All one has to do is a Google search to find instances of sexual predators having easy access to female facilities in Washington state and in the City of Toronto. These are the only two jurisdictions that have laws on the books similar to what was proposed in Charlotte.

The bullies were evident in Raleigh yesterday. Several thousand supporters of HB2 rallied peacefully and no arrests were made. Later, several hundred HB2 protesters demonstrated at the General Assembly and 45 were arrested for violating city and state laws and one for resisting arrest.