Trans Rights GOP Debate Discussion Shows That Mike Huckabee's Stance On Inclusivity Has Not Changed
Thursday night's first Republican debate for the 2016 election spanned every subject from immigration reform to God to LGBT rights, and when asked about the topic of transgender rights, GOP debate participant Mike Huckabee showcased his typically disappointing views on the subject before diverting attention to the diminishment of the U.S. military.
Saying "the culture of the American military is definitely changing," host Bret Baier cited as evidence the fact that Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that the military should expect to welcome transgender people to serve openly in the future. Huckabee's thoughts on the issue?
"The military is not a social experiment. The purpose of the military is 'kill people and break things,'" Huckabee said. "It's not to transform the culture by trying out some ideas that some people think would make us a different country and more diverse."
To say that its purpose is to "kill people and break things" shows an incredibly crass misunderstanding of the power and responsibility of the U.S. military, and I am frankly terrified of the prospect of a Commander In Chief who apparently views our armed forces as some real-life version of Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare. I thought the military's mission was to protect and serve?
Huckabee went on to say "I'm not sure how paying for transgender surgery for soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines makes our country safer."
First of all, Carter said nothing of paying for surgery for these soldiers, though comprehensive health care for transgender persons should certainly do so. Secondly, if the military hopes to recruit the most capable and intelligent and devoted of people into its ranks, then that pool will certainly include thousands of transgender people who have the ability to be great soldiers — and who should be allowed to do so while living as their authentic selves. But given Huckabee's previous offensive comments about transgender people, this stance really comes as no surprise.
"The purpose of it [the military] is to make sure we protect every American, wherever that American is," Huckabee said. What if that American is an aspiring transgender soldier, and what we need to protect them from is bigotry within his or her own government?