Summary: Our Nation’s move from a Democracy of People to a Democracy of Dollars is being accelerated by legislative “Deletism,” the elimination and suppression of rights of Americans who are a threat to the political party in power. Deletists dominate Republican swing states, which since the 2020 election, have gone out of their way to legislatively delete rights of Americans who are not their constituents. These movements must be resisted if we are to preserve our Democracy. Reading time 8-10 minutes.
Democracy of Dollars: When Natural and Constitutional Rights Go To the Highest Bidder, is an analysis of our country’s morphing from a Democracy of People into a Democracy of Dollars. The book’s prime focus is on the suppression of constitutional and natural rights, particularly rights of those of us who are not members of the special interest elites favored within our Democracy of Dollars.
Democracy of Dollars focuses on events through the 2020 election. Since then, I have continued to follow the Republican efforts to deprive many Americans of not only their voting rights, but of many of the fundamental rights that define us as a free society and a democracy. A group of Republican-led states, including Texas, Georgia, Arizona and Florida – electoral “swing states” – dominate the suppression efforts. Charged with the responsibility of managing their states for all of their citizens, these state governments are more than derelict. It would be bad enough if their prime focus was benefitting their fellow elites, which has been their custom; but their focus, disguised with false platitudes of public good, has keyed in on deleting fundamental rights of those citizens who are not members of their voting group or elitist class. These so-called governing elites aren’t “elitists.” They’re “Deletists.”
The July 4, 2021 New Your Times article, Can the Senate Be Saved? Ben Nelson, the Manchin of Yesteryear, Has Doubts is a discussion of Nelson’s coming memoir, Death of the Senate. Nelson is a former Senator. The Times writes: “One main problem, Mr. Nelson suggests, is that too many members of Congress come to Washington determined to stop things from happening, rather than finding ways to make things happen while extracting benefits for their constituents and, hopefully, the nation as a whole.”
That’s what Deletists do, at the Federal, State and Local level. They stop things from happening for everyone but the Deletists and their constituents.
The Delitist’s goal is political domination, not merely as an oligarchical government, but as an unchallengeable autocracy. Deletists have concentrated not only on making voting more difficult, but on suppressing other rights, such as: (i) the right of political expression in public assembly, (ii) the right of people to promote state constitutional amendments, (iii) the right of athletic participation for transgender children, (iv) the right of education institutions to teach disagreeable subjects, and (v) the right of local governments to solve local problems.
The Deletists are morally wrong. They are wrong about what it takes to make a republican democracy work. Neither our nation nor our earth was made exclusively for Deletists and people who buy into their philosophies. Life prospers not because of sameness, but because of diversity. In Democracy of Dollars we talk at length about the importance of diversity of thought, of the importance of understanding the ideas of others, of the importance of listening to each other. In our blog, Our Glorious 4th of July Heritage: Keeping it Working for All of Us, we reiterate these ideas, quoting a Theodore Roosevelt speech:
“In a republic, to be successful we must learn to combine intensity of conviction with a broad tolerance of difference of conviction. Wide differences of opinion in matters of religious, political, and social belief must exist if conscience and intellect alike are not [to] be stunted, if there is to be room for healthy growth.”
A Rights Suppression Example: Women and Trans-Women Athletes
Let’s look at an issue that in form is far removed from suppressing voting rights. Some would consider this a “way out” issue, but it illustrates rights suppression. Mark Steyn, the conservative host of the Mark Steyn Show, on April 26, 2021, delivered a speech at the Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar. titled Our Increasingly Unrecognized Civilization. His talked about “three things we have lost.” For the first point, equality before the law, he raises a provocative point:
“Think of it. Your daughter has been training since she was a little girl to run in school sports. Now at 17, she’s in the state high school track championships, and you are forbidden even to notice that she’s competing against a woman who is 6’2” with thighs like tugboats, a great touch of five o’clock shadow on her face, and the most muscular bosom you’ve ever seen. You’re not supposed to notice the craziness of this, and the craziness is at its craziest right here in America.”
A Newsweek’s March 12, 2021 article titled, Transgender Athletes Are Banned from Sports in These States, says: “On Thursday, Tennessee joined Idaho in banning trans women from competing on teams according to their gender identity only two months after President Joe Biden signed an executive order on his first day of office banning discrimination based on gender identity in school sports and elsewhere.” A few days earlier, Idaho became the first state to prohibit trans women from competing against other women. At the time there were about 20 states, including Florida, in the process of adopting laws prohibiting transgender women from competition on teams according to their gender. Florida’s law, effective July 1st, is titled “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.” The bill specifies athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls may not be open to students of the male sex. A statement of a student’s biological sex on the student’s official birth certificate is considered to have correctly stated the student’s biological sex if the statement was filed at or near the time of the student’s birth.
The transgender exclusion applies to all kinds of athletic events, not merely those events, like track, where a trans women child with male testosterone might have an edge. The legislation is contrary to the diversity found among humanity. Sexual diversity is not black and white or “either or.” There are a lot of shades of grey in between. The simplicity of the language used in the current round of “go by the biological birth certificate sex” does not address the complexity of diversity within humanity. One size doesn’t fit all, and the same can be said for birth certificate classification of human biological diversity.
Sex, like other human characteristics, is represented by a bell-shaped curve. As to the “man” curve, some men are at the far end of masculinity and others at the other end. nearer femininity, with most of us somewhere in between. Women have a similar bell curve for their sexual characteristics. Bell-shaped curves also measure other human characteristic variations, such as longevity, illness propensity, intelligence, muscular strength, visual or hearing acuity, racing capability. The illustrated bell-shaped curve comes from a Wonderlust discussion about these sorts of human differentials.
For example, an unusual amount of fast twitch muscle fibers in his long legs gave sprinter Usain Bolt a unique advantage other athletes could not replicate. There has never been talk of excluding him from races because of his unusual muscle fibers. Nor has there been talk about excluding 7 foot tall athletes from basketball, a game with an immovable 10 foot hoop set decades ago when basketball players were typically under 6 feet. Ted Williams, who in 1941 became the last baseball player to bat over .400 for a season, was never barred from baseball because his visual acuity gave him an unusual advantage in tracking baseballs from a pitcher’s hand to home plate. And, certainly, there has never been talk about banning musicians with “perfect pitch” hearing from writing symphonies or entertaining us.
A Google search can find a plethora of transgender articles, including, Top 15 Famous Transgender Athletes, and 10 transgender athletes explain why its fair to compete. And there are dozens of articles about famous transgender people. Then there’s the 2021 NCAA Board of Governors Statement on Transgender Participation: “The NCAA Board of Governors firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports. This commitment is grounded in our values of inclusion and fair competition.” NCAA rules for trans woman student athletes provide that they may participate on a women’s team after one year of testosterone treatment.
Although Olympic rules permit transgender participation, no transgenders participated in recent Olympics. Olympic racers are subject to the World Athletics testosterone rules, which apply to racing events, but only events from 400 meters through the mile. Yes, some athletes whose birth certificates classify them as “women” have high levels of testosterone, which gives them man-like athletic advantages. These athletes are “cisgender.” Their sense of personal identity corresponds to their birth sex. The International Association of Athletes Federation studies indicates that high testosterone levels in cisgender women can improve performance by 5% or more. These women are near the masculine end of the bell-shaped women’s curve.
The World Athletics organization, which oversees global athletic racing competition recognizes the complexity diversification creates in leveling the field of athletic competition. NBC Sports announced July 2, 2021 that “two of the three fastest women’s 400 meter sprinters this year were ruled ineligible to run in the event at the Olympics due to capping testosterone levels in women’s events from 400m through the mile.”
The Associated Press reports that Caster Semenya, the two-time gold medalist in the women’s 800 meter competition, will not be competing in this year’s Olympics because of elevated testosterone. Under the World Athletics testosterone rules, women athletes can take medications to reduce their testosterone levels if they wish. Semenya refuses to do so. So, like a boxer that can’t or won’t meet a weight class he wants to fight in, she is excluded from 800 meter racing. Unlike the trans women children athletes suppressed by the transgender legislation passed by Florida and other Republican-led states which provide an absolute bar, Semenya had a choice.
Many states have K-12 gender inclusion policies. Research has confirmed the psychological benefits of sports for all students including transgenders, including “emotional regulation, decreased hopelessness and suicidality, fewer depressive symptoms, and higher self-esteem.” The human side of the problem begins with care, concern, and understanding. An article that helps us understand: What it means to be a transgender athlete, fighting Florida’s new ban.
When Florida’s Governor DeSantis signed Florida’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, he claimed the law placed biology over ideology. In reality, the Fairness Act does the opposite. It’s an “either or” law out of touch with the continuum of human differences. It treats transgender children as being less than human. But, maybe that’s appropriate in his mind. After all transgenders only comprise 6/10 of 1% of our national population, hardly a significant voting block.
What Steyn and the Republican Deletists miss are the bell-shaped curve differences in human characteristics, male and female. Semenya has a “girl’s” birth certificate but a boy’s testosterone. She has the physical characteristics Steyn and the Deleters find offensive in girl student athletic competition. But she has the right birth certificate. So, if Semenya was a youngster in Florida schools, she could compete in 800 meter races as a girl. She’s cisgender.
Twilight of Democracy?
Anne Applebaum asks each of us in her provocative book, Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism: “How is a nation defined? Who gets to define it? Who are we?” Questions we must ask ourselves and answer.
She closes with:
“To some, the precariousness of the current moment seems frightening, and yet this uncertainty has always been there….The checks and balances of Western constitutional democracies never guaranteed stability. Liberal democracies have always demanded things from citizens: participation, argument, effort, struggle. They always required some tolerance for cacophony and chaos, as well as some willingness to push back at the people who create cacaophony and chaos.
“They always acknowledged the possibility of failure – a failure that would change plans, alter lives, break up families. We always knew knew, or should have known, that history could once again reach into our private lives and rearrange them. We always knew, or should have known, that alternate visions of our nations would try to draw us in. But maybe, picking our way through the darkness, we will find the together we can resist them.”
Democracy of Dollars closes with:
It’s in the renewal, strengthening, and defense of democracy where you and I come in. It’s where achieving a healthy balance between individual liberty and the common good must be achieved, and we must insist on it being accomplished. No doubt we will meet resistance. Our insistence may be squelched by the Cassandra effect of those unwilling to imagine the frightening damage our fragile democracy is suffering. That’s when we step up and crow like a rooster. It’s when we bolster the Voice of the People until the result is achieved — because we never forget: “Democracy doesn’t happen by accident.”
That’s how we achieve equality. That’s how we protect our rights the Deletists would legislate into nonexistence. That is how we resist the Deletists’ authoritarianism.
Happy Independence Day, everyone.
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