So it’s been a crazy week. President Trump still, somehow, gets left unsupervised when he has his cell phone. Which is fine, I guess we should trust the head of the most powerful military to not start a war using Twitter. Fortunately he hasn’t, but he did manage to whip up major furor over a tweet regarding transgender troops in the military. He “banned” them from service. This, obviously, sent many of my Democratic friends into a pearl-grabbing tizzy. Let’s just jump right in.
I’m not saying that trans rights don’t matter and using proper pronouns doesn’t matter, but seriously? Seriously?? Learn how to choose your battles. Right now we are in the minority, and yet somehow we have deluded ourselves into thinking that if we attack every single little thing that comes out of the White House, we will do better in the midterms next year. As a middle of the road voter, I’m torn between just sitting back and watching the Party sabotage itself again, or sitting back, watching the party sabotage itself again, and eating popcorn.
So let’s get one thing straight. I come from a place of privilege. I know this. I know the shoes I wear were probably made by children in a sweat shop, and I know that I can usually get away with a lot because I’m a moderately attractive white dude. I get that. The thing is, I don’t care. I’m not going to don a hair shirt and flog myself to atone for my privilege. I don’t subscribe to that unique sort of hypocrisy. I will freely admit that I have more privilege than a lot of people. However. I will always do my best to use my privilege to lift up my fellow men, women, and whatever the hell else you self-identify as. I subscribe to Wheaton’s Law. Don’t be a dick. But if you are a dick, I will use my privilege against you because there’s really no cause to be a dick. This extends to everyone. Straight, gay, bi, trans, white, black, Hispanic, whatever. Don’t be a dick.
I digress. With the announcement of the ban on trans service men and women, I’m pretty sure even oysters clutched their pearls. I was pretty sure it was the end of the world or something when I saw the news.
But why? When we don’t have even close to a competitive majority in the House, how can we possibly be focused on this? “Now James, you’re not trans, and you’re super privileged, so we have to focus on their rights!” OK, imaginary contrarian, let’s look at that.
I get it. We want equal rights because of that whole, pesky 14th Amendment thing. Also that super annoying “all men are created equal” thingy. I get that. I don’t look at LaVerne Cox and think, “She thinks she’s people!”. I’ve argued Constitutional issues for three years now, so I can probably grasp that. Let’s look at this from a pragmatic perspective.
I like when the Democrats are in power. Education gets more funding, gay rights are protected, healthcare is actually taken seriously, and we get to advance our agenda. Aces. Yet according to the Williams Institute, between 0.36 – 0.95% of individuals in the U.S. identify as Trans. Ok, so at the top end that’s 2.2 million people (I’m being generous here). That’s slightly less than the margin by which Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. She won by 2.9 million, according the the New York Times.
But she lost traditional Democratic strongholds like Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and other States. Do you know why? The reason is two-fold. First off, the Democrats high-jacked the convention system for Hillary. Let’s stop denying that. Wasserman-Schultz was told that Hillary would be the nominee and that was that. The second is that while Pres. Obama’s economic message went over well, white middle class voters realized that he was all about, like, equality and shit, and Hillary was going to continue those policies which posed a greater threat to their economic security than having a Russian puppet did.
So what does that mean for the midterms? Let’s stop making straight hetero people walk on eggshells. If they use the wrong pronoun, roll with it. If they crack an inappropriate joke, roll with it. Let’s show them that we’re not a threat. I’m all for being honest and living genuinely. But if you get so wrapped around the axle over words, then you need a cognitive re calibration. Yea, sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will cause invisible scars that never heal, but the simple fact of the matter is that stereotypes exist for a reason.
I love Game of Thrones. My favorite character is Tyrion Lannister. He gives another character some very sage advice. “Never forget what you are. The world will not. Wear it like armor, then it cannot be used to hurt you.” So I get it. Being told you can’t serve in the military means that you are somehow less than. I get that. In the grand scheme of things, are you really going to drop everything and join the Army? Lezbi honest. Prolly not. You just want the option, even if you don’t do it. So keep on insisting on equality, but keep your eyes on the prize. Get that corn farmer from Ohio to like you, and then make changes.
I’ve got to jet, so stay humble, don’t stumble, and I’ll see you again soon. Thorgi out!