The president tried policy-by-tweet again, this time on banning transgender people serving in the armed forces. Even top officials don’t know what this entails.
Here in America you can be anything you want to be. Believe in yourself, work hard, and achieve your wildest dreams.
Well, this is unless you are an American who happens to be transgender and dreaming of serving this country’s military.
If that happens to be you my friend, the American dream does not apply. Recently everyone’s favorite Leader of the Free World, bumbling tweet-machine announced that transgender people serving in the military could no longer do so. This group of loyal, country-serving Americans are the latest minority to get the “Big B” from our nation’s leader. Needless to say, this latest ban has plenty of people in a confused stated of “What in the hell?” Aside from an angry and confused public, the secretary of defense and other White House officials also seemed to be scratching their heads in confusion, or throwing up a face palm. The recent decision was made in such a haphazard way that the White House itself could not answer basic questions regarding the policy.
How will this be carried out? Implemented? Enforced?
What happens to the loyal military members who are in the process of transitioning?
What if they pay for the medications and surgeries in other ways such as out of pocket? If it is not affecting tax payer money, do they get to stay?
Of eight defense officials, no one could say. Not a single official could answer a single question, because no one, including our President, has a clue what is going on here. “That’s something that the Department of Defense and the White House will have to work together as implementation takes place and is done so lawfully,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said. The country’s own Defense Secretary was only notified of the ban the day before it was so hastily announced. That poor guy is going to have some serious damage control work to do when he returns from vacation. To make matters worse, the ban was announced on Twitter.
Now I am certainly no politician, and clearly the only army I am the head of is the one of little minions that I created, but it seems to me that if you are going to announce such a ban you should probably have some ideas of execution in place. Snap decisions are for deciding what is for dinner or whether or not you splurge at the local Target Store and buy a new ottoman, not for making grand changes to a country’s military and human rights policy. It is a bit concerning, considering the same man who snap tweets country bans has his pudgy, orange finger on the nuclear missile triggers. Sleep tight America!
It is actually more than concerning; it is downright terrifying. Not only do we have a President who acts first and thinks (and I use that term loosely) later, but we have a country slipping backwards in regards to human rights. Bills are being passed on the daily thwarting women’s rights to make decisions regarding their own bodies, handfuls of country are getting the Big B and now this. But why?
According to the President, the military “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.” Projected estimated costs to the budget due to gender related treatments for military personnel would hover somewhere in the range of 2.4 billion to 8.4 billion dollars annually. Sounds like a massive number until you juxtapose it onto the grand military spending scale and it boils down to a mere 0.04 per cent to 0.13 per cent increase in healthcare spending on active military. The reach of this ban stretches beyond the 2,000 to 11,000 active military members who currently identify as transgender. What it tells us is no one is safe from discrimination. Today the ban pertains to this subgroup, but tomorrow it could be women, or service members of varying skin colors or religions. Maybe a few months from now the President decides that active military members needing mental health services are costing us too much money so they too get the boot. Who knows where it will end?
This ban is yet another disappointing and concerning move from the Commander in Chief, and I genuinely feel for each and every military member who is currently overseas as we speak, putting their life on the line. Those brave Americans just heard over Twitter that their service and presence is no longer welcome. That is the thank you they get for risking their lives for the greater good of the American people.