So that people will not assume I have gone off the deep end, let me explain that my reaction to Trump’s not rescinding former President Obama’s 2014 executive order protecting GLBT federal employees is not so much based on a dislike of Trump, but more on experience with politicians.
In the over 30 years I have been involved in working for GLBT rights, I have seen one tactic used repeatedly and to great effect.
A politician, governmental body, including school boards, and companies have made promises about somewhere down the road, or that if the GLBT Community were to support them they would do right by us, only to be told after an election or some sort of decision making meeting that we would have to calm down and accept that while we did not get what we were assured we would, because of any number of obstructions that occurred their hard work and any promised progress was halted.
This often hid the reality that they had done nothing beyond making the promise.
His Honor James Michael Curley, the famous mayor of Boston in the 20th Century, once said that the collective memory has only 21 days.
Basically, a politician just has to give it some time, and the bait and switch can be effectively repeated, and the victims will have forgotten the previous instance.
This strategy has been very effective when applied to the GLBT Community.
Many times politicians have made promises over the past years knowing full well that they have no intention to fulfill them while also knowing the promise alone will have the GLBT Community happy and mollified.
The latest possible instance of this historically successful strategy followed reports over the last few days that the Trump administration was considering a draft of a potential executive order that called for overturning former President Obama’s directive barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the federal workforce and by federal contractors.
The potential draft had some provisions in it that were troubling, such as exemptions allowing adoption agencies and groups receiving federal funds to deny services to GLBT Americans based on the personal beliefs of employees.
On Tuesday the White House said it would keep the Obama administration protections.
“President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of L.G.B.T.Q. rights, just as he was throughout the election. The president is proud to have been the first ever G.O.P. nominee to mention the L.G.B.T.Q. community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression.”
But my experience makes me wonder why the statement omits the qualifying words in the acceptance speech “from foreign ideologies”. That was very specific at the time, so the White House statement is either not complete, or purposely misleading.
The protection is also needed from domestic ideologies such as those that are supporting the First Amendment Defense Act that could allow for discrimination based on an individual’s claimed strongly held religious beliefs that may not be consistent with those of their chosen religion, but are merely personal.
It is important that Trump also oppose any executive or legislative actions that would allow government employees, taxpayer-funded organizations, or companies to discriminate.
He may have protected a segment of the GLBT Community by not rescinding the existing executive order, but he could throw the whole GLBT Community, including federal employees, under the bus with his support of FADA.
Eliminating discrimination in one form of verbiage does not guarantee opposition to the actual substance.
Trump is answerable to his base, and his base wants anti-GLBT discrimination to be allowed in spite of present law
Originally when he was asked this week if the White House was going to issue what is in effect an anti-GLBT executive order, rather than give a definite answer, Sean Spicer indulged in some tap dancing,
“I’m not getting ahead of the executive orders that we may or may not issue. There is [sic] a lot of executive orders, a lot of things that the president has talked about and will continue to fulfill, but we have nothing on that front now.”
Note the word “now”.
The GLBT Community feels good, relaxes its vigilance, and then, there it is.
We cannot let ourselves fall victim to that ploy again.
The conservatives and the so called religious base will not be silent, but will continue to demand an exemption for religious organizations that contract with the government.
Such an executive order that will satisfy that demand may be fought in court, but with the executive order that is keeping people with Green Cards from being able to come home, we have seen this administration’s contempt for the courts, and Trump will have a few Supreme Court benches to fill anyway.
So while we feel good now, we should not assume everything is fine from this point and forever.
They are still fighting and passing laws to get around Roe v Wade.
We may have dodged this bullet, but we should not be that dog who really thinks his owner has thrown the ball.