Mother of Fallen Soldier Might Be the One to Open People's Eyes to Trump's Hate

Donald Trump has spent basically his entire campaign so far breaking all the understood rules of American politics and essentially getting away with it for free -- for a guy who hasn't been shy about his racism, sexism, or his lie-studded record, he's picked up a lot of endorsements and even more votes. But this week, he directed his racism toward the Muslim parents of a Gold Star soldier who died in Iraq sacrificing himself, and no one's having it -- not the soldier's mom, not voters sick of his racism, and not the experts who are saying this finally might be it for his campaign. 

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Actually, "might be it" is probably optimistic, but the New York Times political reporters are calling this "an unexpected and potentially pivotal flash point in the general election." Basically, Trump effed up, and so far, he hasn't been able to talk his way out of this one. Even Republicans can't get behind this one, and that could seriously hurt his campaign.

But why? His comments are one thing, but the soldier's mother refuting every single thing he's said is entirely other. It's the most heartbreaking and amazing takedown you will ever read, but we'll get to that in a minute.

First, here's what went down: At the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, Khizr Khan and his wife, Ghazala, took the stage to talk about their son, Humayun Khan. Humayun was a US army captain who sacrificed his life in combat to save his comrades, and was, by all accounts, an incredible person. 

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His father's speech in his honor was harsh. Khizr said Trump wouldn't have let his family into this country in the first place. He laid out the sacrifices he and his son made for this country and asked whether Trump had made any sacrifices of his own. He raised up a pocket copy of the US Constitution and wondered whether Trump had ever read it. 

If Khizr's words were hard to hear, watching Ghazala nod solemnly and silently next to him was impossible. She didn't say a word, just offered her support for her husband and let him express the grief both of them held.

Donald Trump, though, wasn't buying it. In an interview with ABC News, Trump said she "didn't have anything to say" and "probably maybe wasn't allowed to have anything to say."

Wow! Offensive! Ghazala thought so, too, and in her op-ed response in the Washington Post, she said she wasn't speaking because she didn't trust herself to stay composed while talking about her son -- and not for any other reason. Understandable. She said that, as a father, Donald Trump should be able to understand that. He didn't. She also said that "whoever saw me felt me in their heart." I was there, and I can tell you with 100 percent confidence that we did.

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Nothing about Ghazala's story is easy. Not the part where she left her home and raised her family in a country she loved, but where the potential future president talked about her like she was an unwelcome burden on society and also probably a terrorist. Not the part where her son died protecting that same potential future president and millions of others. Not the part where she got onstage in front of 20,000 people and the whole world anyway, and especially not the part where she faced undiluted racism and sexism from the man who might be her country's leader.

Ghazala Khan deserves more respect than that. Yes, she deserves it because she's a Gold Star mother who raised a son who died protecting this country. But even more than that, she deserves it because she's a woman and a mother and a human being, and respect is the most basic thing we can give somebody.

But no, Donald Trump can't even give her that. Why should we trust him with her rights and her livelihood, too?

 

Image via Getty

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