Bathroom politics on the state Senate floor

The Daily Reader

May 23, 2023

Sometimes I find a story in the paper that sticks with me for days on account of the absurdity, hate and/or stupidity of the characters chronicled.

So it is with Tina Sfondeles’ recent Sun-Times account of comments by Illinois state senator Neil Anderson, a republican (what else?) from Andalusia, a town just south of Moline.

From the floor of the senate, State Senator Anderson denounced a proposed law that would allow restaurants to have “multi capacity” or all-gender bathrooms. Let me emphasize this point.

The legislation, as Sfondeles wrote, “would allow businesses to construct all-gender multi-capacity restrooms, but it would not require them to do so.”

That means: it’s voluntary.

In other words, the restrooms could, if they wanted, build bathrooms that “include floor to ceiling stall dividers with locks and toilets instead of urinals, among other provisions.”

But they wouldn’t have to. Because, again, it’s voluntary. The opposite of mandatory. That means restaurants don’t have to do it if they don’t want to.

Got it? Apparently, State Senator Anderson didn’t, as he vowed to “beat the living piss” out of any man who walked into a restroom where his daughter was present.

MAGA being MAGA, other republican senators cheered.

Well, I can’t read State Senator Anderson’s mind, but I’m not sure even he meant what he said.

For instance, if a fireman rushed into a women’s restroom to aid a woman having a heart attack, would Senator Anderson beat the living piss out of the fireman?

For that matter, Senator Anderson is a fireman. So would he beat the living piss out of himself?

I was talking about this story on my podcast with Reader editor in chief Salem Collo-Julin, who went on a great riff, pointing out that Anderson was clearly appealing to MAGA—assuring them he was on the front lines protecting women from an onslaught of trans people.

In other words—hate, hate, hate. From the party that brings you nothing but hate, hate, hate.
Salem recalled her dad taking her to a Sox game when she was four or five. It was a long game. And a kid’s gotta go. And so he did what any dad—other than Senator Anderson—would do. He took her to the men’s room.

That reminded me of a moment, many years ago, when one of my daughters was about five. I took her to Arlington—yes, the old racetrack. Oh, it was just a fun outing, MAGA. Please don’t judge me. And whatever you do—don’t tell Senator Anderson! Just in case he’s got something against that.

At one point, she declared, “Daddy, I gotta go.”

But when I took her to the men’s room, she said . . .

“I wanna go to the women’s room.” 

A choice for which I’m sure Senator Anderson would approve.

We waited outside the women’s bathroom, looking for a friendly face to offer assistance. When I found one, I launched into a plea, “Please escort my daughter into the bathroom.”

To which my daughter said, “Daddy, I’m not supposed to go with strangers.” So . . .

The woman looked in the bathroom and came back to tell me the first stall was vacant. And my daughter and I dashed in and she did her business. And then we started to dash out, when my daughter said . . .

“Daddy, I gotta wash my hands.”

So I stood by the sink for what seemed like an hour, but was probably only a minute, as she lathered, rinsed, and dried her hands.

Thank goodness, Senator Anderson wasn’t around. Or he’d have beat the living piss out of me.

MAGA, I swear, even you must realize how ridiculous you sound.

*P.S. – We’re celebrating the Best of Chicago next Thursday, June 1 at Metro/Smartbar in Wrigleyville, and everyone is invited. Get your tickets here.

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May 4 – 17, 2023 
Vol. 52, No. 15

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