Walking through the Kentucky State Fair with my kid and The Husband, we did what most folks do. We ate junk food, looked at farm animals and took pictures of the kid on all of the toddler rides. It was disagreeably wholesome and expensive. But …
We saw Gov. Matt Bevin at the fair. The most egregious person in Kentucky, and there he was — polo shirt and shorts — just some dude at the fair with his little boy. No one was talking to him, and no one but me sneered, and then, I think, even that was more internal. The Husband contemplated saying something rude, and, to my surprise, when he made the suggestion, I said, “Nah, he’s just a dude at the fair with his kid.” Compassion kicked in. Not only compassion but also my crippling fear of public embarrassment.
On top of my phobic reaction to the idea of yelling rudeness at someone in public, I generally find being kind in the face of adversity is often best. I’d never run up to the governor and tell him what an ass I think he is, or how his policies are putting lives at risk and hurting people. I very much dislike confrontation of that sort, despite the fact that I do think he lacks thoughtfulness and dislike his policies very much. I would, also, find it horrible to accost Bevin while his child is standing with him. In this little boy’s eyes, his father is a king, taking him somewhere magical.
As I’m now thinking about this, I remember that what I believe isn’t everyone else’s belief and that, maybe, even in disagreement, it’s OK to see someone’s humanity and to give him or her a moment to exist. Perhaps being rude isn’t really worth it, or justified, and that despite how I feel about Bevin’s policies, maybe he really just needs a day off with his kid.
That’s the kind part of me talking.
There is another part of me that feels Bevin should know better, and that he shouldn’t be such a dick when he’s going to leave his children, and those of others, a state in trouble and potentially sick, as he justifies the destruction of healthcare and education.
Then, I read that he is rainbows and sunshine about the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor that places an injunction on the Obama administration’s guidelines, which say a school should allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their gender identity, or face legal action. The judge is wrong, putting the lives of actual people at risk by allowing government-supported entities to be paid to discriminate. When Bevin cheers such a decision, it makes me wish that I had ignored his dude at the fair regular-ness and said, at the very least, “Your beliefs affect real people.”
What he calls an “absurd policy,” is one that protects a vulnerable population at the age when forming an identity is critical and when that vulnerability is amplified by being different. But this isn’t about protection. It’s about the fear that somehow a person who is transgender is using the restroom with nefarious purposes instead of relief.
For these things, Bevin deserves no peace. No Sunday at the fair. He deserves the reminder that his cheers over this injunction affect actual bodies. In our own community, people who are transgender are not characters on TV. They are first responders, military personnel and educators — people we need in our communities. They can’t be reduced to some vile misinterpretation of what it means to be transgender.
I guess I’m sort of kicking myself for being silent, but his child was young. Being the mother of a young kid, I know seeing a child scared is never fun. And some angry weirdo yelling from across the fair at your father, whom you dearly love, would probably be upsetting. I probably should just get over the missed opportunity, because, ultimately, I’d embarrass myself and then be angry about it.
I really hope that Donald Trump never takes his grandchildren to a fair near me. If he did, my own son would likely take it upon himself to let Trump know that his parents really find him distasteful. He also wouldn’t care how embarrassed I was. He has no filter for that.