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Nebraska Politics

Patty Pansing Brooks is the Shit: Part I

Senator Pansing Brooks, probably in the act of being the shit.

Here at Seeing Red we are inaugurating what we expect will be an ongoing feature called Patty Pansing Brooks is the Shit (PPBITS). The senator from Lincoln has really hit her stride and is proposing the kind of legislation the state needs to be a humane place to live.

Just to preempt detractors: perhaps you found something that Patty Pansing Brooks once said or did or thought or looked sideways at or walked past too quickly that does not live up to your impeccable purity standards. We don’t GAF. In the real world, where the left is suffering from a potentially fatal case of realpolitik deficiency, we need down to earth fighters like Patty Pansing Brooks who do the hard work of pushing for what is humane in red state legislatures.

So in this inaugural edition of PPBITS, which fortuitously spells the body parts that our Republican senators are constantly trying to police and people like Patty Pansing Brooks want to protect, we introduce to you her Legislative Bill 891, which forbids licensed psychologists from discriminating “against a client or patient or a prospective client or patient on the basis of age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or socioeconomic status.”

If you read that and think to yourself, “How is this not already the law?” the answer to that is the Nebraska Catholic Conference, the organization of bigotry dressed up as a religious entity that pushes all manner of bad policy desired by the theocrat who sometimes deigns to inhabit the governor’s mansion. While the Catholic Church itself embodies a diverse range of human beings with a spectrum of opinions about social issues and is led by a pope who is quite progressive on a number of those issues, the Nebraska Catholic Conference is a backward-looking oppression machine. For years, the Nebraska Catholic Conference has insisted on a “conscience clause” in the code of conduct for licensed mental health professionals that flies in the face of professional ethics and allows practicing psychologists in the state to turn away patients who are gay or transgender.

That’s right: when a vulnerable person in need of professional psychological help works up the courage to visit a psychologist in Nebraska–quite possibly due to depression exacerbated by bigotry–that psychologist can turn the person in need away if he or she disapproves of their gender identity or sexual orientation, or, even worse, try to “correct” that gender identity or sexual orientation. And this cruelty is called a “conscience clause”–kind of like Nebraska’s Ionia “Volcano,” the “conscience” clause is named for something that sounds super cool but was never really there.

This marker commemorates a volcano as nonexistent as Pete Ricketts’s conscience.

So Senator Patty Pansing Brooks, demonstrating one of the many ways in which she is the shit, has said that we have had quite enough of that, thank you, and that people who want the state to sanction their practice of a crucial and delicate service must adhere to basic humane standards.