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Thomas W. Spoehr, a retired Army lieutenant general, is director of the Center for National Defense at The Heritage Foundation.
In normal usage, “discrimination” is an ugly word.
Discrimination - Meanings - Definition - Treatment - Person
But discrimination has two meanings. The first and more familiar definition is “the treatment of a person or particular group of people differently, in a way that is worse than the way people are usually treated.” Discrimination of that sort is clearly unacceptable.
The second, less common usage is the “the ability to judge the quality of something, based on its difference from other, similar things.”
Month - Members - Congress - Bill - Transgender
Earlier this month, several members of Congress introduced a bill to allow transgender individuals to serve in the military. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., one of the bill’s sponsors said in introducing the bill, “President Trump’s ban on transgender service members is discrimination. It undermines our military readiness, and it is an insult to the brave and patriotic transgender Americans who choose to serve in our military.”
What members of Congress like the sponsors of this bill—and indeed, the American public—often seem not to grasp is that discrimination—the less-common meaning of the word—takes place every day at military recruiting stations across America.
Gillibrand - Commander - Chief - Readiness - Individuals
That’s neither unjust, nor prejudicial. And contrary to Gillibrand, who aspires to be our next commander in chief, it’s necessary to ensure the readiness of the military and protect at-risk individuals.
Some examples are in order. Have asthma? You’re probably ineligible to join the military. A depressive disorder? Sorry, no. Torn rotator cuff in your shoulder? Nope. Come back perhaps when it heals or is repaired.
Difference - Individual - Service - Risk—either - Service
It’s the difference between an individual who is able to serve, and those for whom service presents a risk—either of not being able to complete military service or of doing so without incurring harm to themselves. In a strict sense, that’s discrimination.
By law, the military...
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