By TIM BARTO
Last week, Must Read Alaska ran a column I wrote about evil. I felt it necessary because too many of us on the side of common sense and traditional values have allowed a cultural shift to be ushered in where up is down and good is bad.
It’s not a small thing to call someone or something evil. It takes a firm commitment and even some courage because doing so brings out vile and vicious attacks, usually accompanied by what has become meaningless labeling; i.e., racist, sexist, misogynist, homophobic.
So it was with great delight that I read about Riley Gaines, the former All-American swimmer from Kentucky, calling out evil for what it is. Having competed directly against Lia Thomas, the male swimmer from the University of Pennsylvania who decided he was female and was allowed to transfer from the men’s swim team to the women’s swim team, Riley was the first female athlete to speak out against the gross injustice that was Thomas’ run as a female athlete.
Riley has made it her life’s mission to bring an opposing point of view on this issue. As the mainstream media, including Sports Illustrated and ESPN, were gushing over Thomas’ “groundbreaking” achievements and calling any statements to the contrary to be transphobic and hateful, Riley began speaking out.
And she has found an appreciative audience. Last week, she was speaking on the campus of UC Davis, near the California capital of Sacramento, when she referred to her cause as spiritual warfare and said it was no longer a battle of good versus bad, right versus wrong, but one of moral versus evil.
Further, Riley argued that the misogynist label belongs to those who disdain women so much they allow men to claim themselves as women and push true women aside in the process.
The woman has guts. She was out there all alone, but her courageousness has been infectious, allowing other female athletes to speak out against males competing as females. One of those is Paula Scanlan, who was on the UPenn women’s swim team when Thomas was allowed to join their team. Pressured into hiding her true feelings about sharing the locker room with a fully genitally intact male swimmer, Scanlan has found courage from Gaines.
Hopefully, there will be other female athletes who are willing to speak out against men competing as women and for keeping girls’ and women’s sports for girls and women.
Paula faces a gauntlet of criticism, as has Riley. What these two women need is to know that people support them, that the radical idea that a man can just decide he’s a woman and therefore compete against women is just that – a radical idea, and a deeply flawed and insulting one.
Whether it’s calling out the unfairness of men competing as women, or assigning blame for the October 7thattack on Israel to the actual Hamas terrorists who committed the atrocities, evil must be identified for what it is. Going along with outrageous theories because those who espouse them are loud and extraordinarily arrogant is not the right thing to do.
Riley Gaines and Paula Scanlan do not go along with those theories. They know truth –real truth, not some subjective truth – and speak it, and they are courageous for doing so.
You have a chance to hear Riley Gaines in person, as she is coming to Alaska on Nov. 17 and 18 to spread the truth and call out evil for what it is.
Tim Barto is a regular contributor to Must Read Alaska, and is vice president at Alaska Family Council, the organization that is bring Riley Gaines to Alaska.