I’ve always been a believer that the world around us is one which is only limited by our imagination and our ability to engage in free thinking. But as water is held back by a dam, we are held back by limitations in our ability to change the world because we place limitations on our own thought process.
Skepticism, bigotry, prejudice, war, they are all rooted in the same catastrophic thought process, the inability to place ourselves in the shoes of others, to actively seek to look into ourselves and find how we can change. To change the world we must first be critical of ourselves, to judge ourselves to a higher standard than we judge others and to reflect inwards so that we can effect positive change in our own position and viewpoint of the world. We must first be critical of ourselves before we can be critical of our surroundings, only from self-reflection can we reach a point where we are suited to create positive and substantive change to those around us.
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The act of war is something which has brought such pain and misery to countless millions during our time on this planet, but sometimes, when faced with overwhelming evil that shakes the very foundations of our morality, we must seek to pick up arms and go to war. Of course, I am one of those people who decry’s war in any form and I treat it as a final resort, not the blunt object that many of our world leaders would seek to use to further their own agenda and vested interest. However, there are circumstances when such action may be necessary to protect the lives of others and to protect fundamental rights and freedoms.
I am a true believer in the conventions of law which define our fundamental civil liberties, the idea that we should give respect and dignity to every man, woman, non-binary individual and child on our fair planet. For me there is no derogation of our core rights and freedoms which may be justified, lest we lose our humanity. We are the sum of our humanity, our education and our development as a species gained through millennia, from the moment we sparked the first fire in the stone age until the present day and on to the future. Unfortunately, like all species, some seem to have travelled further down the evolutionary path than others, we still have an innate fear of progress which ties our hands and holds us back.
While I decry war, I also have massive respect for those who would seek a life of military service, those who would seek to defend our rights, our lives, if a conflict should ever become necessary. These people are by their very nature offering themselves to the perpetual meat grinder so that we might feel secure to explore our own lives without fear or trepidation that we may be deprived of our life or our fundamental human rights. Throughout history, those who have answered the call to join the armed forces have been the thin veil between stability and chaos. I am not just talking about the soldier who picks up a gun but each and every military person. From the chefs to the doctors, to the medics to the engineers. Each of them has a part to play and each of them does it willingly.
As an outside observer in Scotland, We have had trumps card for years in Scotland and we have continuously spoken out against him (see above). At this moment I see a Neandertal reversing forward motion in America. A man who is hated in Scotland who we like to give a warm welcome every time he comes to Scotland (see above) has become for all intents and purposes, one of the most powerful men in the World. He had an opportunity to use that position of trust to engage in monumental change which would benefit every American, instead he has used it to reverse progress. His position as President of the United States affords him the title of Commander and Chief, the command of one of the worlds biggest armed forces, but what is a commander in chief who demands respect of those who serve through military service if he is unwilling to extend that same respect to those who serve. He is a mere shadow of the office he holds, or more accurately, he is the shadow cast over the office he holds.
The denial of fundamental human rights to those who seek only to defend human rights is a betrayal of each and every person who serves in the military, of the American people and of the office he holds. A President must be representative of the people, not a self-serving, egomaniacal dictator, only interested in serving his own personal agenda and that of his party.
In recent days, the man has ordered that those who are transgender may not serve in the armed forces. He has acted in a manner which has derogated the fundamental rights of transgendered people in the armed forces.
A 2016 Rand Corp. study commissioned by the Defense Department concluded that letting transgender people serve openly would have a “minimal impact” on readiness and health care costs, largely because there are so few in the military’s 1.3 million-member force. The study put the number of transgender people in the military between 1,320 and 6,630. Gender-change surgery is rare in the general population, and the RAND study estimated the possibility of 30 to 140 new hormone treatments a year in the military, with 25 to 130 gender transition-related surgeries among active service members. The cost could range from $2.4 million and $8.4 million, an amount that would represent an “exceedingly small proportion” of total health care expenditures.
The response of Potus to this situation is such that it goes to the fundamental core of the United States. We often hear the statement “land of the free” from Americans around the world and most of us disregard it on the basis that while we are subjected to the will of such men and women and their skewed take on reality, America, as in all nations will never be free. Of course, the facts here are simple. While America may have been freer than many other nations, today it has returned to a position where it can no longer claim to be such.
As I have said, I have enormous respect for those who serve, that they might be called to war against others, but when it comes to those who are gay or those who are transgender, I have more respect. Despite the fact that they may be called to war, they, unlike most service personnel have already been to war. Not a war of arms, but a war of self. They have had to endure and persevere through an internal conflict within their own mind, one of self-reflection and self-analysis, one that goes to the core, not of their identity as citizens, but one of their own humanity. They have had to redefine how they see the world and how the world sees them, overcoming insurmountable odds to find their true self and come to terms with their true identity. In addition to their own self-view, they must also contend with the views of neanderthals like President Trump, overcoming prejudice and hatred in order to exert their fundamental right to just be. I cannot understate the enormous respect I have for any person who would seek to enter into service after going through such an experience. To hear both the call of their own personal identity and bring themselves to accept it is hard enough, but to then choose to hear the call of military service makes them the strongest people in our society.
Consequentially, they are not a disruptive influence on the military, nor are they people to be shunned from the military. They are the best of service personnel and the ones to hold up as examples in society of strength, decency and integrity. Despite the prejudice they experience from their own commander-in-chief, they would if called upon, be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice if ordered to by him. I doubt very much that Mr. Trump would have the same integrity, nor courage to follow their example.
The question was asked of Mr. Trump to extinguish gender re-assignment surgery through military medical, but he took it a step further of his own volition to ban transgender personnel from serving. This is in my view tantamount to saying to them that their sacrifice is not worthy of the same respect that all other serving personnel should be given. It is offensive to those who are transgendered but so too is it offensive to society as a whole. In my view the US military should be offering to do all gender re-assignments free of charge on the basis that to do so shows respect for the sacrifice that they make in spite of overwhelming odds. Trump embodies everything that is wrong with the world, he’s a tin-pot dictator who has no right being in the position he holds. He brings the office of the Presidency into disrepute and he diminishes the sacrifice of every soldier, every military person who currently serves and every one has fought and died to evolve human rights for everyone in the USA. Perhaps what he needs is some self-reflection himself, some self-analysis because I can assure each and every transgendered person in the USA, those in and out of uniform, the world is watching, we are analysing him as leader of your United States and we are finding him wanting.
Give me a choice between those who have the courage to admit to themselves who they are and Donald Trump and I can assure you I see each one of them as being worth more than an entire planet of trumps. His recent acts in derogation of the rights of others are harmful to those segments of society and as a consequence are a harm to each and every person on this planet. All military personnel, not just those who are transgender should be actively asking themselves the question of whether or not their commander-in-chief is worthy of the position he holds and when you boil it down, I believe most of them would agree he is not. The question needs to be asked that if his intention is to come after transgendered service personnel, who is next?
I am often reminded of the quotation from Niemöller in situations like this:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
If Niemöller was alive today, we as a civilisation must look inward and ask the question, if he was alive today, would that quotation begin “First they came for Transgendered people”? If the answer is yes (and you know it is) then the line must be drawn here and no further, because who will be next?
A military must be representative of the people it serves and Trump has reversed progress towards that end. He is systematically creating a USA which is less Land of the free home of the brave and more “Land of persecution and home of the vested interest!”. True freedom comes from being afforded the opportunity to simply be who you want to be, without that you will never be truly free, in which case what are the US military personel actually fighting for?
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