There are few pieces of literature that describe the current state of American politics so accurately as one George Orwell quote from the novel 1984: “In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” For those unfamiliar with the novel, it is the story of a citizen living in a totalitarian state that enforces its authority by persecuting anyone who holds unspoken beliefs that oppose the artificial truth upheld by the government.
We see examples of this in modern America, especially the bullying tactics used by the Obama administration regarding bathroom usage in public schools. Attorney General Loretta Lynch issued a statement saying, “There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex.” The statement went on to encourage public schools to allow students to use the bathrooms of their identity or else face the possibility of loss of federal resources.
In other words, the Obama administration threatens to defund any public school which does not believe that a boy should pee next to a girl. It is worth noting that Attorney General Lynch made the Orwellian proposal in March to federally prosecute anyone who denied climate change, completely undermining free speech principles.
I do not judge a person based on their race, gender or sexual orientation. You shouldn’t either. I prefer to live by the old-fashioned rhetoric of Martin Luther King Jr. and judge people based on the content of their character. The current atmosphere, however, is a culture of identity politics that seems be moving further and further away from this form of individualistic thinking.
It is not my job nor the government’s job to go about dictating your life. However, the premise of embracing transgenderism is a scary one.
In modern America, it is more acceptable to come out as transgender than it is to come out as a Republican. For evidence of this, look no further than the 2015 ESPY Awards. After winning the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, Caitlyn Jenner became the unsung hero of the transgender movement. However, after expressing support for Republican Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz and expressing hopes for a role in his administration in an interview with The Advocate, Jenner received unfriendly backlash and was even branded as a “traitor” by one supporter.
It is not my job nor the government’s job to go about dictating your life. However, the premise of embracing transgenderism is a scary one. It is built on the basis that I must surrender reality and conform to one made up by somebody else. It creates an environment in which calling a man a man and calling a woman a woman is construed as bigoted. We can disagree on social issues and argue about them passionately: That is the beauty of this country. But when telling the truth becomes frowned upon, this is a precedent that can be extended to so many other aspects of life.
The act of embracing someone else’s untrue reality is, by definition, insanity. One of the more troubling examples of this was the social media outrage aimed at UCSB student Carlos Flores and members of UCLA Republican Club. After posting an image of his friends holding posters with the messages “there are only two genders” and “transgenderism is a mental disorder,” the students were subjected to a flurry of ridicule, shame and hate speech. One observer even compared them to members of ISIS.
As it turns out, there are two genders. The fact that this is considered hate speech is bewildering. Every human being in history has either been biologically a male or female. This is a fact of nature. Gender dysphoria is a disorder recognized by the United States National Library of Medicine. Nationally renowned political columnists like Steven Crowder and Ben Shapiro supported the students and praised their courage to stick by their message of reality despite the outrage.
We live in a time where students’ lives are threatened not just for speaking their minds, but for speaking the truth. Maybe George Orwell was right.
Gerardo Banuelos is concerned that telling the truth is becoming a dangerous act.