There are some people who should not drive.
They do not signal properly, they veer eerily from lane to lane, they honk suddenly and startle you when you are trying to check Twitter at a stoplight.
Ahem. There are people, as I said, who should not drive. I may be among them, myself.
And then there are the people that Russia has now decided to ban from driving. According to the BBC, “Russia has listed transsexual and transgender people among those who will no longer qualify for driving licences. Fetishism, exhibitionism and voyeurism are also included as “mental disorders” now barring people from driving. The government says it is tightening medical controls for drivers because Russia has too many road accidents.” Also on the list, according to the BBC, are “‘pathological’ gambling” and “compulsive stealing.”
This is, of course, nonsense.
From a flippant perspective, these are not the people you should be banning from having driver’s licenses. The people you should ban can only be detected when they take the wheel, at which point your mild-mannered friend Carl becomes a fiend who pounds the wheel with both hands and shouts grawlixes and cuts people off, giggling aloud. But then again, if you banned the people who drive like this, the streets of entire large metropolitan areas (looking at you, Boston) would be left empty of cars.
But, on a more serious note, if you want to come up with this kind of irrelevant, discriminatory restriction, it should be on something like “wand use” or “turning-people-into-newt licenses” or “dragon rentals” or something else made-up that will not affect people’s capacity to live their lives. Not cars. Russia’s increasingly intolerant climate towards LGBT people was scary enough before. But this? Like the value of the ruble, we thought it could not get any worse, and then it did. You can arbitrarily bar people from basic activities of daily life for trumped-up “medical” reasons, or you can live in the 21st century. You should not be able to do both. The fact that Russia is trying to is incredibly disheartening.
First the restrictions on protests, then the declining currency, now this? Taken altogether, the country seems hell-bent on heading back to the medieval era, as fast as possible. Which is where a restriction like this belongs. It’s too bad there are people being dragged there with it.