When Discrimination Is OK?

The President-elect has been selecting his cabinet nominees since his election in early November.   If we include the UN Ambassador and the head of the National Security Council, there are seventeen members in the President’s cabinet.  As is often the case for incoming Presidents, there have been a couple of unorthodox selections by the President-elect. Interestingly however, among the most controversial, among liberals at least, has been the fact that there are three former military generals nominated. President-elect Trump has chosen former career military officers to lead the National Security Council, and the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. In certain circles, the fact that there are “so many” former military officers is cause for concern.

Let’s think this through: the head of the Defense Dept. is specifically to head the military and the civilians that support our military.   Why would the fact that someone recently retired from the military to lead the military be of concern? That person obviously has spent their life doing what they are nominated to do. Ok, so maybe a pass on that appointment—that one could be understandable? What about the National Security Council? Well, that job is to coordinate for the President all of the issues that concern US security and safety. Again, part of that job, though certainly not all of that, deals with military preparedness and potential terrorist and military threats to the country. I wouldn’t think it’s very unusual for that to be headed by a military officer and, indeed, Trump’s nominee is a former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency who was very involved in tracking the activities of al Qaeda and ISIS. The one spot that may not have a direct military tie is that of Secretary of Homeland Security, though even that has significantly more responsibilities toward tracking terrorist threats than has been the case.

So what’s the issue with three former generals taking those jobs in the incoming Administration? Two of them seem to almost be a logical tie from their former military responsibilities and in one case, the Sec. of Defense will actually be leading a large group of people that he has lead in a previous job. Has anyone ever had an issue when there were three lawyers nominated for a President’s cabinet?   Or have there ever been concern about too many economists or (fill in the blank)? No, of course not. But yet, there is shock in some political quarters that three of the seventeen positions are being filled by former generals. Here are individuals each or which have advanced graduate degree and have led organizations of thousand s and tens of thousands of people.

The bottom line is that in certain political circles there is an inherent bias against members of the military. They are viewed as evil, as loving death and war rather as being people who have ideals that have them spend a career serving their country. Oddly enough, it’s the same people that have worked so long to fight what they view as discrimination that are the ones that seem to think that discrimination against the military is acceptable. These same people fight discrimination on the basis of gender, of race, or religion or national origin and we have federal laws that ban discrimination in those areas and rightfully so. And many states have added laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Yet discrimination against the military does not seem to even register with some. And does not get a rebuke from the national media when some ask “do we have too many of those people in office?” Apparently, that’s one time that discrimination is ok.

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