Aided and abetted by five members of the Supreme Court, President Trump has, for now, succeeded in weakening our nation’s defense by betraying thousands of Americans under his command — Americans who have laid their own lives and honor on the line to defend us all.
The court on Tuesday announced that it would allow Trump, for now, to ban transgender people from enlisting in the Armed Forces while cases challenging his policy move through the lower courts.
This president first saw fit to lay out his rationale for pursuing such a policy in July 2017, in three tweets:
“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow……
“….Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming…..
“….victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you”
This president doesn’t seem to know or care that his claims don’t add up.
A study commissioned by the Defense Department and published in 2016 by the RAND Corporation estimated that all transition-related medical treatment for transgender service members would cost between $2.4 million to $8.4 million annually. That’s peanuts when you look at the military’s entire budget, which easily tops $500 billion — including over $84 million a year for erectile-dysfunction medicines, according to the Military Times.
So it’s not about money.
What about the “disruption that transgender [sic] in the military would [sic] entail”?
First off, “disruption” is the same tired bogeyman of an argument that’s reared its wrongheadedness again and again throughout America’s history as our military allowed blacks, women and gays into the ranks. Every time, we were told that change would cause disruption and weaken the nation’s defense.
Yet the Republic still stands. Out of many, one.
We already have transgender servicemen and servicewomen defending America. They’ve been defending us for years, but they’ve only been allowed to do so openly by the Pentagon since June 30, 2016, following that aforementioned RAND Corporation study. The study estimated that: 1) there were already 2,450 transgender active-duty members; 2) 65 would seek to transition each year; and 3) if the Pentagon didn’t cover the cost of the medical procedure, these service members would not seek to transition, instead likely turning to drugs, alcohol and suicide at higher rates.
Why the Pentagon decided to value the lives of these servicemen and servicewomen was apparently a mystery to this president, who’s done his best to throw them all under the bus.
Trump’s Justice Department has also argued that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 shouldn’t be read to prohibit employer discrimination based on sexual orientation. What this president seems hellbent on doing is returning us all to the dark days of condemning Americans to hide their differences in the closet. It would replace our recent openness, tolerance and honesty with more of the same old shame, denial and fear — fear that forces many Americans even today to lead double lives in fear of losing their livelihoods, their loved ones, even their lives.
Does that sound like a better, stronger America to you?
We live in a violent and uncertain world. When it comes to defending ourselves, we should accept talent freely offered up in service to our nation’s defense from wherever we can find it. We should do so not only out of mere self-preservation, but because it is right.
The people Trump is singling out are among our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, coworkers and teammates, neighbors and friends.
They are our fellow Americans.
It is not only stupid and needless and cruel to strip our fellow Americans of the law’s protection and make them outcasts in their own land. It is dangerous. It is cowardly.
It is wrong.