If we believe that our troops fight for the liberty of straight white males only, then our hand-covered hearts tell a lie when we pledge allegiance to the American flag.
There are many levels on which to deride Trump’s transgender ban announcement, but let’s look at it from the one that matters.
On a policy level, it’s yet another proposal that is out of step with reality. The facts are in, and the strategy is clear, but Trump and the party he’s leading don’t care for facts when a soundbite will do. They have no compunctions wreaking long-term strategies if it means they can score a point in today’s round of the red team vs. the blue team.
On a political level, it’s a callously cynical red herring meant to distract from the even more cynical maneuvering on the Senate health care vote. As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, the president cannot change military policy through a tweet.
At a point in history when America is questioning its decades-long commitment to banish hate from its collective heart and laws, the transgender ban is an textbook example of backward-looking, willfully ignorant bigotry, plain as day.
But, at the beginning and the end of the day, we Americans all live our lives on a different level than all of that. We live on the level of relating to those around us. We find common ground. We make deals. We contemplate right and wrong, and we try to make our lives a little better every day.
We have kids, 5, 15, and 20 years old who will live out the consequences of this ban every day at school, in their social and romantic lives, and in their service to their county. But mostly, in our daily lives, we have jobs to do, work that needs to get done, and there’s no doubt that any one of us would be completely indignant if, despite our equal qualifications and abilities, we were blocked from getting our work done because a judgmental bully missing a marble or two decided he didn’t approve of the appropriately private parts of ourselves.
A diverse group of Americans, including transgender Americans, training hard, fighting well, and being ready to deploy, live their daily lives serving their country. That’s their work, and they’re working hard. They’re separated from their loved ones. They’re following orders in service to their country. Their Whole County.
The armed services are not a whites-only club, they’re not a hetero-only club, and they’re not a cis-only club either. If we believe that our troops fight for the liberty of straight white males only, then our hand-covered hearts tell a lie when we pledge allegiance to the American flag. If we ally ourselves with the goal of “liberty and justice for all,” then we’ll be disgusted by this proposed ban and not our fellow Americans whose lives will be less just because of it.
Daryl Martinez is a cis gay man and active volunteer with the LGBT committee of Indivisible Nob Hill, a fast-growing, local, political action group dedicated to resisting Trump.