Chiefly Commanding Some, Not Commander-in-Chief to All

Late last week, we were hit by tweet with some very disturbing news. The current US president has decided to exercise the authority to bar transgender individuals from military service.

Now, from what little I’ve heard, there are varying accounts to the number of active transgender individuals serving in the US military. The Pentagon, from what I’ve seen so far, was apparently unaware of this pending announcement. There are many questions surrounding this move by the current president. We can assume it instantly affects transgender individuals who were involved in the recruiting progress for the military. Active service members have queries about their status. There may have been people in the military who hadn’t come out as transgender who this move has effectively ended that approach. I would even ask questions about who this change affects veterans who are transgender in their ability to access services.

There’s major speculation as to why the current president has made this move. I may be inclined to believe that he is still trying to continue his approach of catering to the needs of his core supporting base on a policy level. Remember, President Obama was only able to introduce more transgender friendly legal policy with regards to the military last year. Perhaps in a string of early defeats on healthcare and a lack of traction on tax reform, the current president has decided to change this policy as a sign of scoring points among the conservative (and largely Christian) groups in the Republican party. I could even argue that it wouldn’t surprise me to see the current president go after gay marriage at some point if he is able to successfully enforce this policy.

Is this a real priority at this point in time?

That’s the question to answer. Some would say of course not. While it is a privilege to serve in the military, at the end of the day, it is a line of work where employees represent not only themselves but potentially family members who depend on them as well. If the current president’s mantra is job creation, firing transgender individuals from the military does little to put and keep Americans at work. Unless he’s implying that these aren’t Americans at all or Americans who aren’t worthy to fit for their country?

Seems like we’ve seen parts of this story before with how blacks were treated in the military a century before.

Others would argue that the current president is almost blameless in that he is trying to work on the agenda promised but the current Washington gridlock is a serious obstacle. (Now, Obama protractors have said the same thing and were solidly dismissed by those currently using the same argument). I do agree with the premise that the current president as a candidate has been clearly trying to follow through on much of his agenda stated on the campaign trail during the best time to do so – the first 6-18 months as a president.

Such a move speaks to the qualifications as LBGTQ individuals as full citizens in the eyes of other Americans. The regulars here know that for me, LGBTQ individuals are no different that other groups where they want to be left alone and have equal rights and liberties to chart their own destines like everyone else. As the police officer below will attest, all power authority in uniform is somehow lost based on her gender identity, which makes no sense.

Some in the media have talked about the current president seemingly taking a strategy to undue all of his predecessor’s efforts. While there may be some truth to that, as new as the current president is to politics, he is sticking to his values and focusing on delivering to his core voters.

The problem is that contemporary America is a melting pot of different groups, values and beliefs. The expectation is that while the President does not speak for everyone, he is able to command the respect of everyone. The military has a very special, almost sacred place in the eyes of Americans. Perhaps it is this history why there is respect from those who served across the aisle, and differences on opinion on those who didn’t serve for various reasons. The current president has pushed the idea of keeping the military strong.

So why is denying people who want to defend the country, and are capable of doing so, on the basis of genders identity OK?


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