In 1895, Rudyard Kipling wrote the poem, IF.    It has been one of my favorites since my sophomore year in high school, and its message has guided me through ups and downs throughout the years. Though written over 100 years ago, its message stands timeless and relevant, even today. The poem is advice from a father to a son on those character traits necessary for manhood, and the first stanza reads:

“If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too:

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise….”

It goes on from there, but you get the point. It’s a great reminder in our day and age when the world seems to be spinning off its axis, that we must stand our ground when we know we’re right, even if a vocal minority screams otherwise.

A case in point is President Obama’s transgender directive for public schools. He thinks it’s a great idea and so does the mainstream media and the education establishment. In fact, school districts across the state are working to implement the policy for the 2016-2017 school year. The question for us is whether we will allow it to be implemented without a fight. We know it’s wrong. Boys should not be in girls’ bathrooms, shower rooms or hotel rooms, even if President Obama thinks it’s just fine. To listen to the media, one would think everyone is fine with the proposal, but it’s not true. In fact, if you oppose this directive, you’re in a huge majority.

The Montana Family Foundation recently commissioned a poll of 450 likely voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.62%. The results are exactly what we expected: 62% of Montanans oppose the directive, while only 29% support it. Even in the Missoula media market, 55% oppose while only 38% support. Among parents with children, opponents outnumber supporters by at least 2 to 1, and in some cases, 3 to 1. Meanwhile, not even 25% of voters believe that discrimination against transgender people is a problem in Montana. And one of the strongest responses came as the result of a question on the impact of the transgender directive on Title IX protections for girls in sports. 67% of Montanans believe boys playing on girls’ sports teams will give the boys an unfair advantage and reduce the opportunity for girls to compete. Already in Alaska, one person who was born a male but believes he’s female, has competed and won medals in girls’ track and field, directly resulting in a female athlete being denied a chance to compete in the state tournament.

Another interesting finding, given that we are in an election season, is the fact that 68% of those polled would be less likely to vote for a candidate that supported President Obama’s transgender directive. Given the high degree of opposition, the Montana Family Foundation this week sent a pledge to every candidate for legislature and some state-wide offices, asking them to pledge to do everything in their power to stop this directive. Those who sign the pledge will be listed on our website, along with the complete results of the poll. As Kipling once said, a true sign of maturity is standing your ground when you know you’re right. In this case, we ARE right and it’s up to us to stand firm for the sake of our children and our grandchildren.