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    Ann Rostow: Focus Everyone!

    By Ann Rostow–

    Focus Everyone!

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Our only priority as a community and as Americans is to win the election—both for the presidency and for the Senate. According to one article I read, Biden’s team has already analyzed the fastest way to annul Trump’s most recent executive orders as well as some older ones. Further, the transgender military ban is reportedly easy to reverse in that no further studies or investigations will be required. The Obama administration already commissioned a lengthy study on transgender service from the RAND Corporation that was shoved aside and replaced with some puck hockey by Trump and company. Reversing the trans ban should therefore be straightforward, so to speak.

    Likewise, since Trump has not managed to send much of anything through Congress, all of his anti-GLBT interpretations and other nasty policy initiatives can be erased and rebuilt. That said, it’s important that a Biden administration and a Democratic Congress formally vote GLBT rights into law, bulwarking the profound victory handed to us by the Supreme Court last month. As Trump has demonstrated, any president can reverse policy or issue orders. A law by contrast, must be repealed by lawmakers, which is not an easy prospect. Enact the Equality Act and we will have a chance to salvage our civil rights movement from what looked, just a few months ago, like generational damage.

    As for the Senate, not only do we need a Democratic Senate (and House) to pass progressive legislation, but I imagine I’m not the only one that has a panic attack every time my wife (who is quicker than me on the news draw) announces that Ginsburg has gone into the hospital, announced another cancer diagnosis, or suffered some other scary medical emergency. I’m obliged to down several cocktails before Mel reassures me that the situation is under control and that the Justice is resting comfortably.

    I know we always see the High Court in terms of a liberal wing and a conservative wing, with the mysterious John Roberts now vacillating between the two. But within our liberal wing we also have a left/right split of sorts. Much as I love and admire Kagan and Breyer, they are closer to the center than are Ginsburg and Sotomayor. To lose Ginsburg would be a tragedy. To lose her to a Republican Senate would be horrific. 

    At any rate, I’m sure you all agree that November 3 cannot come soon enough. As Biden maintains his polling advantage, we are holding our breath as if we placed our life savings on the horse that just now turned into the stretch with a two-length lead. We’re not simply holding our breath; we’re starting to scream his name from our trackside seats and our Champagne is spilling out of our glasses. (If we’re going to create a metaphor, it might as well be enjoyable.) 

    Trump Will Leave, Don’t Worry

    Here’s something that bothers me: it’s all this talk about how Trump might not accept the results of the election should he lose. Some of the scenarios people have bandied about are simply absurd, particularly the notion that he’ll just stay at the White House. 

    Ladies and gentlemen, the minute Joe Biden takes the oath of office, the Secret Service will be pledged to his security and the American military will be under his command, period. Barack Obama and George Bush are not free to roam around the West Wing based on their status as former presidents. Nor will Trump be allowed to sit around watching TV in the family wing while Biden delivers his inaugural address. And no, not even Trump would make the Secret Service remove him by force, because he knows they wouldn’t hesitate. (I think they would sedate him if necessary and take him out through the basement on a stretcher.)

    As for shenanigans with the electoral college, the High Court has just ruled that electors do not have free will and must follow the dictates of the state they represent. Will Trump contest the results of narrow losses in certain states? Um, maybe. But if the states voted for Biden, the courts will quickly uphold the results. I suppose we could see a reprise of the 2000 election where the overall winner is dependent on the results of a single state and the vote is leaning to Biden but effectively tied. How likely is that? Not very. And should such a dilemma arrive at the Supreme Court, do you really think John Roberts will let this goon defy the will of the people? 

    Finally, as Trump’s niece has told us, Trump’s instinct will be to run away from a loss and hide somewhere. With the writing on the wall, would he really want to lose twice, once at the ballot box and again in the courts? 

    Ketchikan Can

    Let’s see. A piece on LGBTQ Nation informs us that the town of Ketchikan, Alaska, has passed a gay rights ordinance that covers employment, housing, and public accommodation. The law, which takes effect next month, came in response to a local florist who refused a same-sex wedding customer. 

    “Marriage is one of the seven sacraments where the Lord Jesus Christ is present,” Heather Dalin of Heavenly Creations told the city council. “For you to pass an unnecessary ordinance to try and force myself to participate in a ceremony that violates not only God’s holy truth, but also strips me of my rights as an American tax-paying, law-abiding citizen is unreasonable.” 

    Whoa Nelly, Heather! I write about this story for numerous reasons. First, the town (pop 8,000) seems like a nice place. Not only did it pass a gay friendly law, but it looks very pretty and has the distinction of being home to many, many totem poles. I was also surprised that Alaska’s tail extends so far southeast. Ketchikan is the southernmost population center in the state, and is halfway down the coast off British Columbia. 

    Second, Heather’s ability to refuse our custom may or may not be “stripped” in her words by the new ordinance. For all of our success in the courts, the question of whether or not Christian business owners must obey GLBT civil rights laws remains unanswered. 

    Further, the current High Court has shown a willingness to chip away at the wall between church and state, recently ruling that the Affordable Care Act may not force employers to violate their religious convictions by providing contraceptive insurance, and indeed may not even require said employers to fill out a form on the subject. In another case decided last month, the justices said religious employers were not bound by Title VII, ruling that the “ministerial exception” that allows churches to hire and fire preachers and the like extends to teachers and other employees who serve no “ministerial” role in the church. 

    Next term, the High Court will decide whether or not Philadelphia can refuse to work with a Catholic group that discriminates against prospective gay foster parents. And you can be sure that another one of these wedding purveyor cases will eventually hit the Court as well. The Masterpiece Cakeshop decision was a messy compromise that ended on a technicality and left the main issue unresolved. 

    Stella!!!!!

    My wife has sent me a Daily Beast article about a Houston doctor named Stella Immanuel, who believes coronavirus is easily cured by hydroxychloroquine and therefore face masks are not necessary. Immanuel made the news because Trump and Trump Junior have retweeted her videos, which in turn were taken off social media for violating rules against junk science. (Immanuel, in turn, has announced that God will destroy Facebook’s servers unless her videos are restored.)

    So far, it’s nothing new, right? However, the good doctor also believes that the U.S. government is being run by reptilians and other aliens. She also thinks many of us have alien DNA, and that scientists are creating a vaccine to kill the gene that carries religious belief so that no one will be religious in the future.

    Immanuel believes that spirits who have sex with people in their dreams are responsible for endometriosis, cysts, and impotence. “We call them all kinds of names—endometriosis, we call them molar pregnancies, we call them fibroids, we call them cysts, but most of them are evil deposits from the spirit husband,” she explains in one of her sermons online. Also to blame for these feminine complaints are regular human witches, who project themselves into your body while you sleep.

    I myself have had recurring problems with fibroids, cysts, and tumors, and I’ve also had some sick dreams and slept with a few witches, so I’m keeping an open mind on this score. That said, I’m not buying the hydroxychloroquine. 

    Here’s the bottom line, however. This loony tune was recently given a speaking slot at a “White Coat Summit” on the steps of the Supreme Court that was organized by the Tea Party Patriots. I guess these remarks comprised the aforementioned video that so pleased the two Trumps. But doesn’t anyone tell the President of the United States that he is promoting a woman who says reptilian aliens are part of the deep state? A woman who also thinks children should be whipped, believes the Magic 8 Ball is demonic, and has called for Anthony Fauci to send her a urine sample because she thinks he is secretly taking hydroxychloroquine? 

    And people complained that Obama wore a tan suit into the Oval Office?

    RIP Regis

    I just reread this column to here and was reminded of how much I dislike the Optima Tax Relief commercials (because of Heather’s comment about her taxes). I’ve hesitated to tell you this, because I don’t want to come off as a shill for the IRS or someone who kicks people when they’re down. But how do you wind up with a $50,000 back tax bill unless you’re a zillionaire? You have to avoid paying your taxes for years, right? I hate to say it, buddy, but that’s kind of on you. 

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy for these people that they came to a negotiated settlement and got the man off their backs. I just don’t like the notion that it’s the government’s fault. God knows the government gives us enough to complain about. Damned Reptiles!

    While we’re on commercials, I’m also seeing a bunch for some law firm that collects millions of dollars for its clients. You too could snag $20 million, they imply. By all means read the small print before you call. The lucky winner was hit by a truck and will be in a coma for the next ten years.

    And how about the annoying seniors who take Prevagen, walk two miles a day, keep up with their reading and writing, and eat well. I hate these people. I’m approaching their age, read trashy novels, and spend my free time lying around on the couch drinking white wine and watching cable news. I don’t take Prevagen, and no, I can’t remember five words in a row and would not be able to do so five minutes later. That said, the words “person, woman, man, camera, TV” are burnt into the permanent retrieval section of my brain. 

    Were those really the words Trump had to remember? Or did he come up with them as an example of “five words?” Because they are very easy to recall. It’s as if I asked you to remember five numbers, but instead of “78, 23, 10, 16, 84,” I picked “10, 20, 30, 40, 50.” Let’s not even discuss the president’s pride at having aced the Alzheimer’s diagnostic test. You’d think he passed the bar exam or solved the Saturday crossword in five minutes.

    Finally, The Washington Post juxtaposed two of Trump’s twitter salutes, first to John Lewis:

    “Saddened to hear the news of civil rights hero John Lewis passing. Melania and I send our prayers to he [sic] and his family.” 

    And second, to Regis Philbin:

    “One of the greats in the history of television, Regis Philbin has passed on to even greater airwaves. He was a fantastic person, and my friend. He kept telling me to run for President. Holds the record for ‘most live television,’ and he did it well. Regis, we love you. And to Joy, his wonderful wife who he loved so much, my warmest condolences!!!”

    Need we say more?

    arostow@aol.com

    Published on July 30, 2020