Thursday, July 27, 2017

And Now For Gutting The Military

Yeah, Trump again. Another broken promise. More encouragement for us to hate. Why is it a surprise? Just because it's another broken campaign promise? Haven't we gotten so used to them by now that it's just another day in "paradise"?

So the latest verbal vomit is keeping out and/or kicking transgender people out of the military. He did promise to be a friend to the LGBT community. It's on video: go watch it. Did he not know what he thought he was talking about? Did he think the "T" stood for teddy bears? Or does he just think they are easy targets, without defenders, as a subject for another midnight tweeting spew that would distract us from any of the other awful things he's doing or trying to do? You know, like a shiny thing over there to draw our eyes from, say, Russia? Dismantling laws? Destroying our clean water and air?

Looking at our military now, post draft era, we have volunteers, either brave or foolhardy souls willing to give their lives, or maybe just an arm and a leg or two, in what they believe is the defense of our country. (Sometimes they're right about the "why" of it. Another rant for another day.)  Volunteerism wasn't the first or only change to who served in our military. It started with allowing African Americans in, once enough folks put aside their prejudices to fight alongside fellow soldiers whose contributions didn't depend on skin color. We allowed gays in, since a few smart somebodies finally figured out, like somebody once said, that it doesn't matter if they are straight, just whether they can shoot straight. (Too bad it took so damn long!) Besides, they'd been there contributing all along, just hiding who they were. Now we even allow women in some combat roles, because they found out we don't lack courage and can shoot straight too, besides changing tires and fixing engines, etc. Of course, we still have to prove our combat readiness in high status positions, but growth is happening.

Now we turn to the least understood, most belittled minority in our society, the transgender individuals. (Hey, was your first thought "drag queen"?) Try to get past that nonsense mantra about God not making any mistakes. Think, instead,  evolution still trying to see what works towards survival and what doesn't. Read a bit, take a sociology or anatomy class, and you'll find out about plenty of anomalies in how we humans are put together.

Start with, say, genetic diseases. You can all name half a dozen, even if you don't quite realize the genetic component. While you're doing that, recall that nobody calls any of them lifestyle choices. Add in other anomalies like, say, a sixth finger. (Remember Anne Boleyn?) That was neither a choice nor an indication of witchcraft as thought at the time, just genetics doing something different again.  Did you know, being mammals, some of us are born with rows of nipples rather than a single pair? Do you call that a moral fault?

Just like other body parts have variety, so do genitals. Some babies are born with ambiguous parts, and somebody decides for them what gender they will grow up to be. They could be wrong. And some people with perfectly typical genitals grow up knowing that's not who they are.

But they are still as human as the rest of us. They have the same rights and obligations, the same capabilities and flaws. And if they want, under our volunteer system, they can still make perfectly good soldiers. You know, so you don't have to if you don't want to. And if you do want to, they'll have your back just like you'll have theirs.

Right now, estimates range as high as 15,000 transgender individuals serving our country as soldiers. But Trump wants to kick them out. He "claims" he made the decision after consulting "his" generals. But the Pentagon was in an uproar after those tweets, as nobody had heard a whisper of this policy change, much less been consulted. And by the way, though he is Commander in Chief, those are our, the country's generals, not his.

Besides Trump showing off his dishonesty and flagrent prejudices, what would be the consequences of such a move? Well, how would those soldiers be replaced? Have we got another 15,000 folk out there just dying to become soldiers (Yes, Virginia, pun intended) whom we've put on waiting lists because "their" slots have already been filled? If so, how long would it take to train them to the current levels of expertise of the soldiers Trump wants to kick out? And let's just imagine what, say, Kim Jung Un would think are his new possibilities for attacking us in the meantime? What could Putin get away with? Syria? Fill-in-the-blank?

How would these soldiers be removed? They joined and served just as honorably as their fellow soldiers. Would we force them out under a dishonorable discharge just because of a policy change, along with all the losses of rights and benefits that would go along with that? (Hey, NRA, you want 15,000 folks suddenly unable legally to own a gun?) Do they lose college opportunities? Health benefits? Employment chances?

What about the so-called extra cost of having transgender soldiers? First, statistically few of them chose surgery, opting for hormonal treatments. Compare that to the "simple" cost of dealing with limb loss or brain injuries happening to our "regular" soldiers? Hell, even supplying Viagara to soldiers costs us way more than the needs of transgender soldiers. And while on that topic, why the hell are we supplying Viagara to soldiers? I thought we were supposed to be keeping their minds on their jobs. And don't we already have too many cases of rape in the military, as well as with residents of countries where our soldiers are stationed? Are you telling me that erections win wars? Seriously?

Trump has been so wrong and so awful in so many ways. Can we stop him this time?

Can we?

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