Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

Election time outrage

To The Editor,

In last week’s Dayton Chronicle, Seth Murdock’s letter of support for the re-election of Commissioner Chuck Amerein took issue with, among other things, a drag queen storytime in Ketchikan, Alaska, gender nonconformity, noodle spined citizens, and blue hair (a color he seems to find particularly disturbing, as his letters often make reference to it as a hue most despised). I personally had a hard time making the connection between drag queens and the reelection effort of a county commissioner, but I have an incomplete understanding of the works of Chesterton, so maybe I’m missing something. The main thrust of the letter seems to have been that Commissioner Amerein would defend Columbia County against gender nonconformity (And maybe CPS and jack-booted public health officials). Violently, if necessary, if I’m reading right.

Inspired by Mr. Murdock’s snark hunt for any clothing or hairstyles that do not fit into a very narrowly-drawn list, I happened upon an incredibly disturbing photograph of a local elected official. This apparent pervert was wearing a ballgown, a tall curled and powdered beehive wig, and pumps. Not only did he (they???) parade their sexual proclivities with these clothing choices, but he (they???) had applied a thick layer of white base with the rouge and lipstick of a tawdry New Orleans street walker. But not content to keep his (their???) sexual paraphilia at home and out of public view, this elected official had the audacity to then ride a tricycle up and down Main Street, in public, with a gathering of other similar perverts, pedophiles, and individuals who may engage in s_xual intercourse with the lights on. There were children—CHILDREN!—in attendance, as well as other potentially vulnerable people who could be seriously harmed by this disgusting display. I immediately picked up the phone to alert Mr. Murdock, and to ask if I could borrow his rope and pitchfork, and maybe also his pearls to clutch.

I am referring, of course, to Commissioner Amarein, who participated in the annual “Drag Race” at All-Wheels Weekend. Along with many other respected and prominent members of our community, he dressed like a fancy caricature of a woman for the amusement of the public, including families with kids. And this leads to my point: what is the difference between Commissioner Amerein riding a trike in a dress, wig, and makeup to entertain people, and someone else reading to children in a dress, wig, and makeup to entertain them? Is it that the reading drag queen dresses and performs for money? Is it that the reading drag queen has a stage-name that may be risqué? Or is there another difference that Mr. Murdock and his friends won’t say out loud?

Or is it possible that Mr. Murdock and Commissioner Amerein really have no problem with the All Wheels Weekend Drag Race, because they have no real problem with drag? The timing of this sudden concern for protecting children from the subversion of gender norms, and all the accompanying histrionics, is convenient if it’s September of an election year and your candidate lost the primary. In that context, it makes sense that supporters of the commissioner’s reelection campaign would be performing the political equivalent to throwing pasta against the wall to see what sticks. Mr. Murdock screaming abuse into the void for several column inches, punctuated by a call to vote for commissioner Amerein is just al dente.

Amy Rosenberg

Dayton, WA


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