You don’t have to be a liberal to appreciate Sen. Tammy Duckworth’s swift and devastating takedown of Donald Trump’s latest proposal to ban transgender troops from serving in the military. You just have to be a human being.
Unlike poor Trump, whose fallen arches or cankles or bunions or whatever it was that kept him out of Vietnam because they sometimes went "owie," Duckworth (D-Illinois) served in combat, losing both legs after her helicopter was shot down in Iraq 14 years ago.
"When I was bleeding to death ….I didn’t care if the American troops risking their lives to help save me were gay, straight, transgender, black, white or brown. All that mattered was they didn’t leave me behind."
Simple language delivering a Mayweather of a knock-out punch to anyone who would consider transgender combat troops as somehow "less than."
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This war zone solidarity may be hard for Trump to wrap his fluffy orange head around because I suspect his "band of brothers" is less "Saving Private Ryan" and more "The Wolf of Wall Street."
Serving is for suckers. Who can forget that having his fighter jet shot down on his 23rd bombing mission and being imprisoned as a POW for more than 5 years John McCain Trump’s L-is-for-loser label?
"I like people who weren’t captured," he famously said pre-election, causing a ripple of indignation among some supporters until he dangled something, anything shiny in front of them and they shrugged and sighed.
Trump being Trump. Bygones.
But Tammy Duckworth? Not only a war hero but a woman helicopter pilot. What is Trump to make of this eloquent creature who is so unlike the other women in his life? Far more typical is, sadly, Louise Linton, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s pampered bride, who got into trouble for tweeting braggy shout-outs to her own wealth and designer wardrobe. Which makes her, well, #cheapChristmastrash.
Make no mistake. Tammy Duckworth would’ve flown her Black Hawk into the gates of hell to rescue the likes of Louise Linton if that was her mission. That’s what real heroes do. They take care of us even when we don’t deserve it. Linton surely must have directed her GPS to find the lowest possible road when she tried to tweet-shame an Oregon mom who complained about Linton’s "Marie Antoinette" comments. (To fans of Hulu’s brilliant dystopian drama "The Handmaid’s Tale," wouldn’t she make a terrific Commander’s wife?)
But back to Trump’s proposed ban, which Tammy Duckworth opposes. That’s good enough for me. But if you’re still having the vapors because Trump claims it’s going to cost a fortune to fund all those soldiers wanting to surgically rearrange their naughties on the federal dime, fear not. The amount of money spent on hormone therapy and surgery is minuscule, probably less than what it would cost to buy just one #houseofDior#original#forsometriflingheifer. And it’s one-tenth as much as the Department of Defense spends on Viagra and other All American he-man drugs. #perspective
Like I said, you don’t have to be a liberal to enjoy Tammy Duckworth’s quote on transgender troops. But it helps.
The writer is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.