The “Right” to Serve
The “Right” to Serve
A bunch of transgender service members are suing the Trump administration after POTUS announced last year that transgender people are banned from serving in the military. In October, the US District Court for the District of Columbia partially blocked the ban, stating that it cannot be enforced while the case is under review, and the military will start accepting transgender recruits starting today. But that’s not what this post is about.
An article in the Wall Street Journal today details the plight of two military service members whose futures look uncertain, as Trump Administration policies are phased in. The first is an illegal alien, who was brought to the United States as a child, and enlisted in the military as a sophomore in college, hoping to solidify his citizenship.
The second is a transgender Navy NCO, whose future seems uncertain, as the ban on transgender individuals serving in the armed forces is reviewed.
One weekend a month, Kyungmin Cho, a 20-year-old sophomore at Temple University and aspiring Army recruit, makes the two-hour drive to an Army base in New Jersey, dons a uniform and recites the U.S. Army Soldier’s Creed.
“I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life,” the creed reads. ”I am an American soldier.”
Pvt. Cho, in fact, isn’t exactly an American soldier. He is an undocumented immigrant who has lived in the U.S. since he was 8 years old. Due to restrictions on his activity, reciting his military oath is one of the few things left to him when he shows up to fulfill the six-year commitment he made to serve in the U.S. armed forces.
Aspiring soldiers like Pvt. Cho once had a path to citizenship through military service. But the Trump administration announced in September that the immigration program known as DACA—Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals —would be phased out by March, and with that, the future of DACA recipients in the military became uncertain.
I do feel for people like Pvt. Cho, who had no choice when they were brought to a strange country as children, grew up here, sometimes not knowing that they were here illegally, making a commitment to defend the Constitution of the United States, and then all of a sudden being told they may not be allowed to serve the country in which they grew up and want to serve.
It’s an untenable situation they’re in, and I, personally, believe if you make that commitment to lay down your life for your country, you should be able to become a citizen. In “Starship Troopers,” Robert Heinlein showed us a society in which government, military, or public service are a sure way to become a citizen, and if you take the responsibility to defend your country’s freedom, sacrifice for it, and promise to defend it, you should damn well become a citizen.
Your mileage may vary, but as a veteran, I have no problem with a (properly vetted) illegal immigrant in the foxhole with me, laying down his or her life for the country they love, and receiving the reward of becoming a citizen.
The transgender issue, however, is a bit more complex for me.
I know there have been transgender personnel serving in the military, and as long as they’re not receiving special privileges, serving like the rest of us, and are deployable and ready to go, I have no problems with them either. I’ve served with transgender individuals, whom I would trust to have my back in any situation. They did not demand special treatment. They did not shove their transgender status in anyone’s face. They simply did their jobs, and “coming out” was never part of their job. I’m much more liberal in that respect. I don’t care what plumbing happens to reside between their legs. You do your job, and we won’t have an issue.
What I DO have a problem with is their claim that somehow military service is a “right.”
The ACLU claims the ban violates their constitutional rights.
“This action, brought on behalf of transgender individuals, seeks to ensure that all qualified Americans have an equal opportunity to serve in the United States military, that transgender individuals are free from arbitrary and invidious discrimination and that the constitutional rights of transgender individuals to autonomy, privacy and freedom of expression are respected and protected,” the suit says.
Petty officer said Megan Winters claims that somehow “coming out” is the right of transgender individuals in the military, and that she is fighting for transgender service members “right to serve,” and she is among those suing the administration for that right.
This is where I have a problem.
First of all, one must define the concept of a “right.” The best description of that concept that I’ve seen in recent decades is in an essay by economist Walter Williams.
In the standard historical usage of the term, a “right” is something that exists simultaneously among people. As such, a right imposes no obligation on another. For example, the right to free speech is something we all possess. My right to free speech imposes no obligation upon another except that of noninterference. Similarly, I have a right to travel freely. Again, that right imposes no obligation upon another except that of noninterference.
While I have the right to free speech, I don’t have the right to demand that others provide me with a microphone or a stage.
While I have the right to travel freely, I don’t have the right to demand that others provide me with a vehicle, or build me a highway, or buy my airplane ticket.
The “right” to serve necessarily demands that society provide a vehicle for that service, and if the right to serve exists simultaneously among everyone, that means any cretin, any obese, unqualified, mentally unfit, or physically incapable individual has the “right” to serve in the military.
Sorry, but that’s a no-go.
Much like you don’t have the right to a job you are completely unqualified for, you do not have the right to serve in the military if you are legally, morally, physically, or mentally ineligible to do so. And whether you agree with the Administration’s decision or not, it’s the decision of your Commander-in-Chief, and you must abide by it.
All individuals have the OPPORTUNITY to serve, but if they cannot meet the mental, physical, or legal requirements for service, they shouldn’t be there. An opportunity is not a guarantee – it’s a chance to show you meet said requirements.
And while our Constitution guarantees certain rights, and transgender individuals are certainly free to exercise these rights in our America, there is nothing in the Constitution that guarantees everyone the right to military service.
As as civilian you have the right to criticize the President, the government, the administration, and any other politician. As a service member, you do not.
As a civilian you have the right to live where you want – as long as you can afford the rent. As a member of the military, nope. You live where you’re assigned. You change duty stations when you’re told. You obey the orders of those in your chain of command, and you do not have the right to tell your OIC to pound sand because you don’t feel like following his orders that day.
As a civilian, you wear whatever you want. As a member of the US military, you have a uniform, and you have no right to wear your gauges in your ears, or your eyebrow piercings, because FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION! Your service, your commitment, your oath to obey lawful orders all supersede your freedom of expression.
Serving is an honor. It’s a sacrifice. It’s not a jobs program for the unqualified and legally ineligible.
If you don’t meet the basic qualifications for military service, there’s nothing in the Constitution that says the military must accept you anyway, because MUH RIGHTS!
Liberals love pulling rights out of their fourth points of contact: the “right” to health care, the “right” to not be offended, the “right” to housing, and now the “right” to military service. Basically, anything they desire becomes a right merely because they desire it, and it doesn’t matter if others have to be forced to provide it for them at the point of a government gun.
That’s not the way rights work, boys and girls.