OPINION: Bigotry is bad for business

Published 1:01 pm Thursday, July 20, 2023

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Bigotry is bad for business. Us politicians sometimes employ catchy slogans that persuasively depict our own virtue, while sometimes achieving a “twofer” by dismissing the other side of a matter altogether. Many follow this slogan up with the phrase “full stop”, which obviously indicates that there is no more deliberation necessary, because the moral high ground is held.

I write this piece, not because I disagree with the slogan per se, but because of what it is increasingly being used to do. This slogan is popularly stated by my democrat colleagues in the Michigan House of Representatives to limit necessary discourse or to bring it to a “full stop” entirely. 

Two of my bills also have found their way into the nebulous realm that is considered bigotry by Michigan Democrats, HB 4539 and 4540. These bills ban transition surgeries for minors and puberty blocking drugs. Europe is leading the way putting forth unsurprising evidence as to the devastating consequences that puberty blockers and gender reassignment surgeries can have on vulnerable little ones. 

A recent systematic review of evidence in England, Sweden, and Finland found these procedures to have results unfavorable to unknown, leading to strong restrictions around gender affirming care for minors, but most children’s hospitals in the State of Michigan currently continue to administer them to this day. More disconcertingly, these bills have landed on monitoring lists as ones that somehow belong to the business of bigotry. 

This is of deep concern for many of my constituents who lived during a time where they once advised their own children to not consume coffee, because it could stunt their growth. Now, our opposition to the deliberate chemical stunting of a young person’s growth is dismissed as bigotry.

Demonizing others with such slogans has profound negative impacts on a country with a form of government where citizens expect their voice to be heard on such passionate matters. Vivek Ramaswamy put it succinctly in a recent exchange with Tucker Carlson at a presidential debate forum in a response related to January 6th. He illustrated that when one is not heard, one screams. When one is not allowed to scream, one sometimes puts that energy into physical action. 

On the left and the right, our political leaders closest to the public must engage in these hard conversations with constituents. It is foundational to the continuance of our form of government. Bigotry surely is bad for business, but diminished discourse dismantles the essential elements of democracy.

Brad Paquette, R-Niles, is a member of the Michigan House of Representatives.