The players change at any given moment — Black folks, immigrants, women, Latinos, gays and lesbians, Muslims, trans people — but the strategy is always the same: tighten one's grip on power by toying with the fears of those terrorized by the stupidity of their own bigotry.
Despite any cry to the contrary, the latest monstrous declaration from the moronic megalomaniac currently occupying the White House is not all that shocking albeit still reprehensible. He has after all, long proven he harbors greater passion for lying and hypocrisy than sticking to his word. He's also someone who has long engaged in virulent acts of prejudice and largely campaigned on demagoguery.
So, more than a year after assuring the LGBT community that he would rally behind our cause and do more on our behalf than his former political opponent, him randomly announcing a decision that is the polar opposite of that pledge comes across as par for the course. It comes on the heels of his administration's earlier choice to reverse Obama-era protections that allowed transgender students in public schools to use bathrooms in accordance with their gender identity. And since the president's Wednesday morning tweets announcing that the United States will no longer "accept or allow" transgender people in the U.S. military under the dubious claim that trans men and women serving are a "disruption," we are now learning that at least part of the decision is rooted in that stupid border wall he refuses to let go of.
In "Inside Trump’s snap decision to ban transgender troops," Politico reports that House Republicans were planning to pass a spending bill that included funds to cover the cost of their president's border proposed wall along the Mexico border. However, "an internal House Republican fight over transgender troops was threatening to blow up the bill," and when GOP congressional leaders would not give into defense hawks proposed ban of Pentagon-funded sex reassignment operations, they turned to the president, who wasted no time rushing to Twitter to declare that trans people can no longer serve in the military.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post notes that the military spends five times as much on Viagra as it would on the medical care of its transgender troops.
The New York Times says the announcement "was met with surprise at the Pentagon," but it just goes to show how willing an unprincipled man whose only allegiance lies within his own power will quickly sacrifice people's humanity for the sake of politics. Even more frustrating is that The White House has already found a way to spin the indefensible. A Trump administration official told Axios national political reporter Jonathan Swan the following about the decision of transgender men and women serving in the military: "This forces Democrats in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin to take complete ownership of the issue. How will the blue collar voters in these states respond when senators up for re-election in 2018 like Debbie Stabenow are forced to make their opposition to this key plank of their campaigns."
The players change at any given moment — Black folks, immigrants, women, Latinos, gays and lesbians, Muslims, trans people — but the strategy is always the same: tighten one's grip on power by toying with the fears of those terrorized by the stupidity of their own bigotry. This is how much of the Republican Party (and even some Democrats) have behaved in the last half century. Sadly, it is likely to work as well now as it always have — in the interim anyway. Yes, some Republican senators have already spoken out against he ban, and yes, celebrities and other highly visible public figures will speak out, but that works exactly in the favor of someone else's president. He is pandering to the hatred of his most dedicated fan base while coasting on the ignorance of the population that needs to be educated on gender.
To those directly impacted by this, I am sorry that a draft dodger who used his foot to escape serving because he never had the balls has the unmitigated gall to ban those of you brave enough to do what he could not. I stand with you. But like every "other" in this country, I know what it's like to be scapegoated in policy by a punk who wants to tighten his grip on power. Hopefully, enough members of Congress will step up; it's up to us to push them, though.
Whatever happens next, know this: this was an act of a weak man with a disastrous administration marred in scandal, legislative failures, and criminal investigations turning to culture wars in order to preserve the only base of supporters he has left. He can tweet his hatred confidently, but the desperation and his insecurity over him losing his greatest achievement still reeks. That desperation may make all of us one even greater target in the interim, but let us not lose sight: he is still losing, big league.