If we could put videos on picket signs, protestors at today’s equality rally (Sioux Falls, Nelson Park, 12:30 CDT) would want to march with this new video from the Human Rights Commission. In this call to action against House Bill 1057, the criminalization of medical treatment for transgender kids, the Human Rights Campaign picks up on our Republican Legislature’s bullying rampage and spotlights, among other things, Speaker Steven Haugaard’s vile polemic against transgender kids from the 2016 Session, delivered in a failed attempt to sway the House to override Governor Dennis Daugaard’s sensible veto of that year’s failed potty-panic bill:
Medical decisions should be made with doctors and families, not hateful politicians.
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) January 31, 2020
I transcribed and translated that speech four years ago, which included many more vile statements that make clear he won’t change his mind no matter how many voters call him. His speech makes clear that he’s rationalized to himself that all of us preaching “compassion” are really killing children and that he is the brave moral actor standing up for goodness and decency amidst a malfunctioning culture.
Haugaard’s vile text has been available to District 10’s malfunctioning voters for two elections, and those voters, continuing to malfunction, have reëlected him twice.
HRC is right. We must call our legislators. But we must also recognize that many of those legislators will not be instructed or swayed by compassion, evidence, the teachings of Jesus, or any other honest rhetorical tools we may deploy in promoting equality or health and safety or parental rights or limited government or the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship. Speaker Haugaard will not be shamed into acknowledging the indecency of his harmful position on transgender South Dakotans, because he is saying exactly what he means to achieve exactly what he wants. Haugaard and his fellow culture warriors want a South Dakota where transgender people, homosexuals, socialists, atheists, and really anyone who isn’t straight, white, literalistically end-timey Christian, and armed do not feel welcome.
When South Dakota Republicans like Speaker Steven Haugaard see videos like the HRC’s, they know they are doing their job. They love liberal outrage. They know loud liberals will stoke the persecution complex of their white evangelical voter base who will continue to reliably vote for His Holiness Haugaard as if their entry into Heaven depends on it. They know that some outraged liberals will vote but some will move, while the staunch Republican base is going nowhere but the grave, and until they die they will vote the party line and call you a Commie if you do otherwise. They know their numbers are dwindling and youth activism is growing. They know their only hope is apartheid, keeping themselves apart from change by using the Legislative Session as a marketing blitz to drive out just enough liberals and attract just enough yahoos to prolong their comfortable stay in their Whitopian hospice.
My fellow South Dakotans, if the Human Rights Campaign rings in your soul, if the words of theocrats like Haugaard, Stalzer, and Deutsch make you ashamed to wear your South Dakota t-shirt, if you want to live in a community where everyone is welcome, you have a simple choice: vote or move. Haugaard and friends want you to move. You must remove them by showing up to vote.