The earth seemed to spin off its axis.
There it was, just in front of me: a restroom for both men and women. Right here in a deli not far from the Ohio Statehouse.
Clearly, the warnings from Advance America’s Eric Miller and other social conservative activists about a “sneak attack” that would establish beachheads of unisex bathrooms in the heartland had been well-founded, if a little bit off-target. The cultural terrorists who mean to undermine us by making men and women share washrooms decided to take the fight first to Ohio, rather than Indiana.
Maybe that was because they knew we Hoosiers were ready.
Indiana Sen. Jim Tomes, R-Wadesville, is on the bathroom battlefront in Indiana. He’s introduced legislation that would make it a crime for a person born a male to use a women’s restroom or a person born a female to use a men’s restroom in an Indiana school. Tomes’ proposed measure would impose a $5,000 fine on people who violate this new law.
Neither Tomes nor the person he worked closely with to draft the bill – noted forward-thinker Miller – has said whether a dedicated new branch of law enforcement, some specially trained potty police, will be needed to deal with this dilemma, but with a threat this immense it’s wise to take precautions.
Here in Ohio, people seem oblivious to the danger they face.
When they come to the restroom, they knock politely. If someone is inside, they wait patiently. Sometimes, they even whistle while they wait.
When the door opens, men, women and even children – CHILDREN!!! – use words like “please,” “thank you” and “excuse me” as they step past each other.
See, that’s where the real harm is.
Everyone knows few things are more corrosive to the development of a young person’s character than developing respect for others and learning the principles of courtesy. If this unisex bathroom trend continues, we might raise a generation of young people who don’t think the world revolves around them and who believe they occasionally might have to share.
That, of course, would be disastrous.
How, for example, would our current political culture survive if deadly concepts such as courtesy, respect and consideration for others were to take root?
Thank goodness for leaders such as Tomes and Miller. They understand a menace, manufactured or otherwise, when they see one.
Not so here in Buckeye land, where the leaders allow themselves to be distracted by mundane matters such as police-action shootings and economic growth.
Indiana leaders also could find their attention diverted by similar trivial pursuits. The bottom is falling out of the Hoosier middle-class. Average household income in the state lags behind that of three of the four states (including Ohio) surrounding Indiana and the fourth one is gaining on us. And roughly 22 percent of Hoosier children live in poverty.
Our leaders, though, don’t allow such unimportant matters to alter their laser-like focus.
Maybe Tomes and Miller aren’t so easily diverted by unimportant considerations like life and death because their focus is informed by their faith.
After all, religious scholars will tell you the Bible is filled with admonitions against unisex toilets.
But there isn’t a single word in either the Old Testament or the New Testament about helping the poor or feeding hungry children.
Tomes and Miller clearly understand that, which is why they’ve drawn a line in the sand – or linoleum – at the bathroom door.
We need to think of an appropriate way to honor their courage and foresight.
Every time Hoosiers visit a restroom, anywhere, any place, any time, they should think of Tomes and Miller.
And every toilet flush should serve as a reminder of what folks like Jim Tomes and Eric Miller have done to Indiana and its reputation.