“They said what they would do, and we did not listen. Then they did what they said they would do.”—Chapter 1 of Christian Nation by Frederic Rich
If the book Christian Nation, by Frederic Rich, hasn’t been banned yet, it’s most likely because few in the red states have read it. The author (like his protagonist) is a lawyer, and in this dystopian tale he shows us step by step how our constitutional democratic republic could become an authoritarian Christian theocracy without changing a word of the constitution. Yes, it could really happen here.
Published ten years ago, the book creates an alternate history in which John McCain wins the Presidency, then dies early in his term and is succeeded by Sarah Palin. All that’s required, to end secular democracy in the USA, was consecutive Republican Presidents and Republican control of the Senate, leading to a Republican federal judiciary. As we have all come to understand, the Constitution says whatever the Court claims it says.
This book came to mind for me this Pride Month because one of the very first steps in the fictional democratic de-evolution was to recriminalize the LGBTQ+. This began with laws to “protect the children.” Sound familiar?
Tracktranslegislation.com has compiled a list of 413 recent anti-trans bills nationwide. Texas leads the pack, with 58 bills, followed by Missouri, with 40, Oklahoma, with 29, and a total of 17 in either the House of Representatives or the Senate.
But why are transgender folk the target of so much legislative energy? Chase Strangio, the ACLU’s Deputy Director for Trans Justice with the LGBT & HIV Project on the AT LIBERTY PODCAST: Why and How Trans Hate is Spreading answered this way: “You have a huge, well-funded right wing movement that lost at the Supreme Court around marriage equality and very quickly started moving all of these resources into attacking trans people. And they did that for two reasons. One is that many of them are sort of true believers and in one construction of sexuality, gender, and of family, the heterosexual Christian nuclear family is the centerpiece of how they organize society. And the other is that they had for years been using attacks on gay people getting married as a political tool to mobilize voting bases in the lead-up to elections. And so trans people became the new center point of these attacks beginning in 2016, and of course, stretching back way before that.”
So the extreme right just switched scapegoats from gay people to transgender
people. Clearly, resistance to attacks against LGBTQ people must be an ongoing part of anti-fascist resistance no matter which letter of the alphabet is the target of the day.
In Frederic Rich’s book, California continues to resist and provide sanctuary as long as possible just as Governor Newsom and our California Legislature are doing for medical refugees from red states in real-life today.