It didn’t take long after election day in 2016 before it became clear that what Donald Trump had meant by making “America great again” was taking the nation back in time.
Specifically, to some point in the nation’s thankfully distant past when white men were unquestionably in charge of things, when people of color feared speaking up, when a woman’s only virtuous path was as a mother and wife and when gay people stayed deep in the closet if they knew what was good for them.
So it’s not surprising that Trump’s Department of Labor is preparing to release a proposed rule that would allow federal contractors to discriminate against employees on the basis of race, gender and sexual orientation for religious reasons.
Of course it is. If the Trump administration could figure out how to do it, they’d surely exempt all companies from the law that says you can’t fire women because they are pregnant, black people because they scare you or folks who are not heteronormal because you don’t like what they do in the bedroom.
Apparently the rule was crafted to assuage fears by religious-based organizations that if they sought federal contracts, they couldn’t be racist, homophobic or sexist toward their employees and get away with blaming it on God. Well, heck yeah, they should be worried. If you want my tax dollars, then you ought not get a free pass to discriminate against me.
It’s funny to think that not long ago such a proposal would have been the top story of the day, and there would be no question we’d drop everything to write a strongly worded editorial. And by “funny,” I mean soul-crushingly sad.
Now it’s like, “Meh. Another day, another terrible policy from President Trump. I’m going to lunch.” Why bother making the case that it’s another mean, backward or anti-American policy when it is so manifestly a mean, backward or anti-American policy?
Besides, in the context of this particular day, this is barely news. It was competing with the administration’s racist-comment-du-jour (No, the Emma Lazarus’ poem about the Statue of Liberty wasn’t referring solely to Europeans, period.) and more creepiness from the disturbed mind of Rep. Steve King, the Republican from Iowa who would obviously be the first person to join Trump on the trip back to that long ago time when men were men and rape and incest just weren’t that big of a deal.