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North Carolina might have avoided all the hoopla over gender-specific use of public restrooms if only the state legislature had followed the lead of a big-box retail chain.

Anyone who has been paying attention knows the Tar Heel State’s General Assembly and the governor there recently enacted a state law requiring that all public bathrooms and changing areas be limited to use by individuals of the biological gender they were assigned on their birth certificates.

That means men using the men’s room have to be men. And women who use the women’s facilities have to be women. As for the homosexual, bisexual and transgender folks among us – well, they are the target of the new law. (And how North Carolina will enforce that law will be a whole new chapter in the book of humor that has yet to be written.)

The new law has stirred up a hornet’s nest of protest from all sides. Some say it was a long time coming. Others say it’s a superlative example of government overreach. Still others doth protest that it’s discrimination at its worst. Groups large and small are canceling plans for their conventions in Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Fayetteville, Greensboro and Cape Hatteras. Big-name entertainers who tend to lean left are protesting by pulling the plug on their upcoming appearances.

North Carolina might have avoided the headlines by following the lead of Target stores, where shoppers will find a men’s restroom, a women’s restroom and a unisex restroom. The N.C. lawmakers might better have spent the $42,000 cost of a special session by adopting some kind of carrot-and-stick tax-break incentive directed at private-sector interests to add a third kind of public restroom to their existing facilities. (The cost of doing the same at public venues such as sports arenas and convention halls would come out of the state’s general fund.) Write it off to the cost of being politically correct.

After all, isn’t that what we’re all about these days – being politically correct? If what interests us is so shallow and feelings-oriented, we have only ourselves and today’s 24/7 media focus to blame.

In the Darwinian context of the modern world, Japan will survive as the United States goes the way of the Roman Empire. Why? Because in Japan, restrooms are not gender-specific. In any venue – restaurants, baseball stadiums and beach resorts — everybody uses the same bathroom, and nobody raises a stink about it. The Japanese apparently have more profound issues to pursue.