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At Least the Bullies Are Incompetent

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | May 25, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | May 25, 2023 |


It is confounding to me that the country is where it is today. In 2017, North Carolina passed a bathroom bill that sparked so much outrage across the country that the state had to repeal it. Five years later, laws have been passed across that country (mostly in the South) that not only deprive trans people of healthcare but in some cases, actively demonize one of the most marginalized — if not the — most marginalized class of people in this country. In Florida, it is literally against the law for a trans person to use the bathroom assigned to their gender. Five years ago, we raised hell and protected the trans community. But because some girl in Bumfuck, Iowa came in third in a track meet, we have become a nation of bullies. It felt like we’d made some progress on trans rights — even during the Trump administration — and now it feels like being gay in the South in 1985 all over again. Politicians are beating up the most vulnerable among us for political points, and they are using their transphobic mobs to enforce their cruel, dishonest worldviews.

Ron DeSantis, obviously, is the ringleader, and he wants to remake the country into Florida, which would mean that trans people in New York City or Portland (both of them) would be subject to the worldviews of that one far-right person you know from the office, or from the synagogue, or that runs for school board every year and gets their ass kicked. It would be a minority rule. Voters in Arkansas are trying to take away drag shows in Los Angeles. Hateful bullies want to force their hate onto the entire country, and they’re picking on a class of people with less power to fight back to propel them. They won’t pick on someone their own size because they can’t win, so they pick on a group of adults that make up all of 0.6 percent of the U.S. population. A nation of bullies.

That’s what is at stake in 2024 — in addition to Democracy — and the second-richest man in the world, Elon Musk, is using the digital public square that he bought to help Ron DeSantis. Elon Musk is rich enough that he answers to no one, so there’s little we can do to pressure Twitter not to support transphobia. The bullies are winning. The only thing here working to our advantage is their incompetence, which they put on full display during DeSantis’ announcement last night when Twitter shit the bed. It was a disaster. This morning, most of the headlines are not about the announcement, they are about the glitches. The Twitter meltdown.

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It’s a beautiful thing.

When, after more than 25 minutes, Mr. DeSantis finally spoke, he declared, “I am running for president of the United States to lead our great American comeback.”

The extended social media hiccup — as more than 500,000 people were waiting — was gleefully cheered on the very platform Mr. DeSantis was supposed to be commandeering for his campaign. Donald Trump Jr. wrote a single word: “#DeSaster.” Mr. Biden posted a donation button to his re-election campaign with the words, “This link works.” The audience when Mr. DeSantis did deliver his remarks was smaller than it had been during the initial minutes when no one was speaking.

And then they lied about it. Badly.

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to always depend on their incompetence to save the rest of the country, and it is on us to fight to protect the rights of the 0.6 percent who just want to live their lives.