The Daily Vigil, 7/27/17: Trump’s Transgender-Bashing Tweets are Not a “Distraction”
Baseless Claims: I’m sure you’ve all heard about it by now. Yesterday, President Trump (apparently) decided that he didn’t want transgender people serving in the military, in any capacity. We know this because he said so in a series of three completely unexpected tweets, which the Pentagon reportedly didn’t see coming. Trump says that he made this decision because of “tremendous medical costs” associated with providing care to transgendered people, as well as the “disruption” (no clarification provided) they cause.
So, first of all, his economic reasoning is absolute bullshit, because of course it is. There’s an estimated between 2,150 and 10,790 transgendered people serving in both Active Duty and Reserve capacities. To put that in perspective, that’s between 0.1 and 0.5% of the total number of people serving. The highest estimated costs for these servicemembers’ medical care is 8.4 million dollars. And to put that in perspective, the Pentagon spends ten times as much on erectile dysfunction pills. So don’t come to us saying this shit is too expensive. We have receipts. But I’m not here to gripe about budgetary concerns.
Second of all, his “disruption” claim is also complete bullshit, because of course it is. Show me any evidence that the military is “disrupted” by 0.1-0.5% of its fighting men and women being transgendered. Sure doesn’t seem to be a big issue for Seal Team 6, did it? No. Of course not. But then again, this is the same garbage argument that’s been made against any given minority serving in the military. All of those arguments were baseless and reprehensible, too. So this is nothing new.
Don’t Call it a “Distraction”: However. I’ve seen some on the left saying that these tweets are a “distraction” from “larger” issues- usually, from the health care debate or from the Russia investigation. So let me cordially invite my fellow Leftist heathens to chickedy-check yourselves before you riggity-wreck yourselves with that narrative. These are peoples’ lives we’re talking about here. These are some of our most vulnerable allies, and the military is their single largest employer. This move, so carelessly and casually executed, could devastate these servicepeople’s ability to support their families. So while health care and Russia are both critical issues, we cannot become so hyper-focused that we develop tunnel vision. We need to raise our voices in defense of these people. We need to walk and chew gum at the same time.
We Are All On the Menu: That said, while it cannot be called a “distraction”, I do agree that there is a strategy behind Trump’s move. I believe he’s trying to shore up his support, which is slowly but surely eroding, and this is an appeal to his most die-hard core of voters. However, I would take this time to remind our readers that Trump has no concept of loyalty, so you can be sure this will happen again. Remember all the press he got for standing there holding a rainbow flag? People thought he was the LGBTQ-friendly Republican, because he’s a “businessman” and “what would one’s gender identity have to do with doing business”? Welp, here you have it. Gender identity still has nothing to do with profitability but Trump will throw your ass under the nearest bus if it bumps his approval rating in the Rust Belt by half a percent for a day.
How many more people need to be betrayed by Trump before his remaining supporters realize that they are just as expendable to him as the Transgender Community is? How many more Americans need to be abandoned before people realize that Trump’s only loyalty is to himself? The dude doesn’t care about you or your job, your family or their health. He doesn’t care. He has never cared. He will never care. Everyone on God’s green Earth is just a stepping stone to his own self-aggrandizement, and if it isn’t you he’s betraying today, it may very well be tomorrow.
Stand Together: It falls to us, then, to defend our most vulnerable countrymen, in word and in deed alike. This goes beyond hashtag activism and must extend into real-world action. Beyond the basic humanity that calls for us to do so- which ought to be enough reason on its own- we can better defend our own individual demographics if we reliably rise to defend our neighbor’s. So don’t look at this move as a “distraction”; distractions have few lasting real-world consequences. This is a direct attack on all Americans, and it must be treated as such. When you call your Congresspeople today, tomorrow, next month- include how you oppose this move, and how you demand employment equality for all- especially the Transgender community.