Ogden Nash once remarked, “We’ve made a lot of progress lately. I’m not certain that it is always in the right direction.”
I often think of that remark when I consider the so-called liberal-progressive movement in the United States.
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Benjamin Carson recently visited California as the Federal government considers possible intervention in that state’s growing homeless problem. During his visit he heard from many women’s groups about the difficulty they were having in women’s shelters because sometimes men would claim to be women and demand entry. In a subsequent meeting with local staff, Secretary Carson said that this made many of the women feel unsafe, and one of the groups described a situation to him in which ‘big hairy men’ would come in and have to be accepted into the women’s shelter even though it made the women in the facility very uncomfortable.
Several people present at that meeting interpreted Carson’s remarks as an attack on transgender women. A leading LGBT advocacy group denounced Secretary Carson for his comments, and liberal opinion makers in some newspapers branded him as “transphobic.”
But the imbroglio reveals a real conundrum. There is no doubt that some evil men will use any means to gain access to female victims, even to the point of claiming to be transgender. These women shelters were established as a refuge for battered women. It would appear that the protection of these women should be the paramount concern.
Benjamin Carson is an honorable and compassionate man. He harbors no ill will toward any group. He has communicated with LGBT advocates and requested that they come forward with some practical suggestions as to how the dilemma might be resolved. How might a center verify that one’s claim to be transgender is valid? Thus far, Dr. Carson says, there has be no response.
It seems that Benjamin Carson’s opponents are more interested in calling him names than striving for an equitable resolution to this very real problem.
In the current political climate, virulent attacks from liberal/progressive commentators, actors, and comedians on conservatives have become commonplace. President Trump seems to enjoy the verbal battle, and he responds in kind. But Trump is tough old bird. It makes me sad to see a good man like Ben Carson subjected to such abuse. It makes one wonder how we can attract the best people into government service.