In the latest bit of Republican skullduggery, the Trump administration is considering “narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth.” The horror!
In my own twisted fashion, I like this piece over at the New York Times. It demonstrates how a skilled writer can craft a piece in which no particular statement is a lie, and yet the whole article is a farce.
Consider this first sentence, which I’ve already quoted from above:
The Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, the most drastic move yet in a governmentwide effort to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law.
The sentence contains no factual inaccuracies per se. The authors probably pride themselves on their journalistic integrity, and consider that they’ve risen above smear-job journalism. Nevertheless, whether knowingly or unknowingly, the Times has approached an ongoing debate not as though they’re arguing for their position, but rather as though the argument is long settled. They’re simply explaining the fallout of this latest decision of The Mad King.
Everyone does this, of course. But liberals do seem to regard it as a virtue when they do it, and as the worst of sins when conservatives do it. Consider the sentence written from a different perspective: “The Trump administration is considering a return to the traditional and biological definition of gender, another brave move in the governmentwide effort to govern according to moral and natural law.”
Admittedly, I don’t have a gift for journalistic writing, but how would such a sentence be responded to by the left had it appeared in a conservative article? Can you imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth? The word “bigotry” would take another uptick in Google’s search trends. Until you get to the far right, however, conservatives are too afraid to write like this. We’ve been shamed into a silent aquiesence, not in action, but in evaluation.
My point is not to complain about how unfair life is for poor old WASPs, or to sound a call for revolution. That’s not going to get us very far. Change will occur (slowly) as we enter into calm and rational discussion with those with opposing viewpoints, calmly questioning assertions made without basis. “What do you think a right is, and how is this proposed change going to affect your rights?” “Do you think the Trump administration is defining gender, as if this is a new thing, or are they disagreeing with the Obama-era redefinition of gender? Which came first?”
I think that instead of accepting the leftist narrative that conservatives are the bullies that need to defend their every action, we should winsomely ask the left to defend their views. Can a defense be made for why, a few years ago when homosexuality was the big issue, genetics was everything, but now that genetic research fails to validate gender dysphoria it has become a form of bigotry and control?
Compassionate engagement and rational persuasion is key here. The good news, despite what godless historical revisionism would claim, is that Christians have generally been very good at this.