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Shiny Object


© Barry Deutsch

Why did Donald Trump lash out against transgendered soldiers on Twitter? After all, during the presidential campaign he made it clear that he didn’t care one way or another about transgendered issues. And Trump’s tweets came out of nowhere, as he never even bothered to talk to the military before he tweeted (despite lying in his tweet and claiming that he had talked to them).

As he has done before, he we just trying to distract his base from all the bad news, including the Russia investigation, the continuing failure of repealing Obamacare, and his staffing problems (including the shakeup in his communications office, which is doubly ironic because once again Trump did an end run around that department, demonstrating that Trump is his own communication problem).

So Trump pulled out the culture wars as a shiny object to distract his base, except that the shiny object was a knife in the back of soldiers and veterans.

The interesting part of this is that it already backfired. Even conservatives who had lobbied against transgendered soldiers said they were only trying to stop the military from paying for gender reassignment treatments (including surgery), and had not asked for a ban on transgendered soldiers serving in the military. Other Republicans denounced Trump’s move.

The LGBT community reacted swiftly as well. George Takei tweeted “To those who believed Trump would be a friend to LGBTs, time to admit you were conned.”, “History shall record that you are not only the stupidest, most incompetent president ever, but also the cruelest and pettiest.”, and “Donald: With your ban on trans people from the military, you are on notice that you just pissed off the wrong community. You will regret it.”

Caitlyn Jenner tweeted “There are 15,000 patriotic transgender Americans in the US military fighting for all for us. What happened to your promise to fight for them?” with a link to a tweet from Trump saying “Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you”. Jenner supported Trump during the election.


Also published on Medium.

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11 Comments

  1. Wildwood wrote:

    I wonder why Jenner thought that he would actually do what he said he would do? But then I wonder that about everyone who backs him.

    The floaters are running the country right now. We need to MAGAA with one big flush.

    Thursday, July 27, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink
  2. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I have mixed feelings about this.
    1. I never rd cared about a Soldiers sexual orientation or whether they think they are something other then what they were born as, with the caveat of as long as they did their job and acted like a Soldier in and off duty.
    2. The military job is different then civilian work. Twice a year they take a physical fitness test and the score plays a significant part of promotion, especially in lower ranks. Their are different standards for males and females. So a man who identifies as female could have an unfair advantage in the promotion process. Just like a female who id’s as male would be at an unfair advantage. So, our legislators need to address the laws and rules on what test is taken and when so the process is fair.
    3. The gender reassignment is easy to fix and may already be that way. There are regulations on preexisting conditions that could effect a recruits ability to join. These range from heart problems to asthma. Also, elective surgeries are not paid for to include breast enlargement or reduction, plastic surgery. Etc
    The military would lose a Soldier for 12-18 months during the reassignment process which is unacceptable and unfair to those left carrying the load and would cause resentment.
    4. As Lady gaga pointed out trans persons between 19 and 24 have a 45% suicide rate. It is expensive to train a soldier from scratch and even more expensive to replace. The military is a dangerous place with a lot of pressure and the non-trans population has a higher then civilian rate of suicide. If the same increase carries over to the trans population there could be suicide rates at over 50%. And that’s not good for them or the military.
    Lastly, the tweet by Jenner is out of left field. If .5% of the population is trans you cannot extrapolate that to military membership. I seriously doubt that anywhere close to 15,000 trans soldiers are serving today. I knew of gays and lesbians, but had never run across a trans.
    We need to think long and hard about what is best. Yes they can do the job, I believe that. But is must be fair to all, including non trans. Lastly even if it seems like a good idea, are we exposing them to greater risks? There are many things to consider beyond the optics.

    Thursday, July 27, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    Mixed feelings? How do you feel about Trump unilaterally making a decision about this without even discussing it with the military? And then lying about it? Or using this issue to distract people from bigger issues?

    Thursday, July 27, 2017 at 8:54 pm | Permalink
  4. Jonah wrote:

    I can’t speak for whether this is good for the military or not but I find it very ironical and hypocritical that a guy who dodged military service 5 times would prevent those who want to serve from serving https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/02/us/politics/donald-trump-draft-record.html

    Mattis was looking into this. Why not wait for his decision? Why not let more experienced people give guidance on this matter?

    Friday, July 28, 2017 at 3:01 am | Permalink
  5. ebdoug wrote:

    What I like is that Congress is stepping up the the plate and putting sanctions on Trump. He has to be stopped. 1) the increased Sanctions on Russia (Trump is either going to sign or veto depending on his mood at the moment) and 2) stopping Trump from firing Sessions and mueller.

    Friday, July 28, 2017 at 5:25 am | Permalink
  6. Wildwood wrote:

    Ebdoug, isn’t it odd that anyone feels the need to protect Sessions? We are really through the looking glass.

    Friday, July 28, 2017 at 8:16 am | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    Yeah, my head keeps spinning around. I keep hoping that Trump doesn’t fire Sessions, but then I realize what a totally horrible person Sessions is in that role — I disagree with almost everything Sessions has said or done as AG. Through the looking glass indeed.

    Friday, July 28, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink
  8. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I think I heard a message from the Joint Chiefs, who said nothing will change until they have finished studying it. I don’t know what’s happening.

    Friday, July 28, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Permalink
  9. PatriotSGT wrote:

    On the Sessions thing. I think Trump just played the media against itself. Leading up to that all the senate Dems were blasting Sessions. Then Trump picked on him and all the media and Senate Dems began defending him. Then the trans ban and they all went chasing after that shiny trinket. But now, if Sessions goes after the likes of Wasserman Shultz or Hillary or the DNC or any other Dems on Colluding with the Russians they can’t flip flop again in the same month. These are just things that make me go Hmmmm.

    Friday, July 28, 2017 at 5:11 pm | Permalink
  10. ebdoug wrote:

    Wildwood: Alabama is still antebellum. Nothing would make me go there. As far as i know, they still practice slavery there. Young black man gets off the bus to visit family. Walks down a dirt road. Picked up by police for loitering. Put in the mines with everyone along the way getting kickbacks. Family never hears from him again. The book I read was so sickening, I could not read it. I saw and ad somewhere that (with a white couple) that Alabama was the place to retire due to the low taxes. Meaning they help no one. Medical treatment centers in Alabama and Mississippi are moved so far away from people who need care that they must take long trips by bus to get to treatment. Maybe those two states will go under with global warming.
    the other book I read was “the last slave ship to Alabama” Long past the time slave ships were banned from the country. The potential slaves outsmarted the whites and formed their own town which is now operated as a tourist attraction. I liked that book.

    Friday, July 28, 2017 at 6:39 pm | Permalink
  11. Jonah wrote:

    If the democrats are going after trump for considering firing Sessions the main reason is the total disregard Trump has for the rule of law. People are genuinely concerned he will use the new AG to fire mueller and shut down the ongoing investigation. Given his comments on the rule of law and his admiration of tin pot dictators its not beyond belief that he could throw this country into turmoil. Lets not forget that more than democrats its republicans like Lindsay Graham who seem to be more adamant about preventing Sessions from being fired.

    If one is worried about the rule of law then trumps actions should be concerning. If he truly has nothing to be worried about the russia investigation he’d be silent about it and work on his election promises. Instead his belligerent actions against the investigation are making members of his own party turn against him and making it more difficult to get his agenda completed.

    Saturday, July 29, 2017 at 1:25 am | Permalink

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