Trump Supporters Boo a Military Mom -- Is Nothing Sacred Anymore?

The rise of Donald Trump has been attributed to the rage Americans feel about being left behind by their government. But that rage has grown so out of control, Trump supporters have started attacking the mothers of our military, proving that Trump's caustic rhetoric has created something far uglier and un-American than anyone could have predicted.

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First Trump decided that he just couldn't let Khizr and Ghazala Khan, two parents who sacrificed their son in Iraq, have their say at the DNC. He criticized a grieving mother who sent her precious son to war to die so that Trump could sit in his penthouse on his golden throne and tweet. He criticized her Muslim faith. It was despicable.

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But for Trump's rabid supporters, that wasn't enough of a sign that maybe their candidate was totally disconnected from basic American values, like the sacred debt we owe every mother who sends her child to defend our country. Nope. Instead they apparently interpreted Trump's petty attacks as a flashing green light to go after the parents of other military members, too.

Monday night Mike Pence held a rally in Carson City, Nevada, where Catherine Byrne, the mother of a staff sergeant in the air force, stood up and asked this question of the vice presidential candidate:

Time and time again Trump has disrespected our nation's armed forces and veterans -- and his disrespect for Mr. Khan and his family is just an example of that. Will there ever be a point in time when you're able to look Trump in the eye and tell him 'Enough is enough'? You have a son in the military. How do you tolerate his disrespect?

She was booed. Viciously. In that special angry and violent way that Trump's rhetoric has trained his supporters to echo.

As a mother, as an American, I will say that it made me physically sick.

Pence then tried to calm down the crowd, which was starting to grow into a mob. You could see other women, who looked just like other moms you know, booing this woman who was only looking for some reassurance that her son's safety actually mattered to Trump. She wanted Pence, himself the father of a son in the military, to vouch for Trump. He did, but the crowd jeering a worried mother standing alone in the middle of that auditorium spoke far louder than Pence's canned response.

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This should bother all of us. And I'd like to think it does.

America is cool because we pride ourselves on a live-and-let-live attitude. America is a place where you can be who you want and you're encouraged to say what you want. But attacking the men and women in harm's way to defend our country is not one of those things. It used to be just about the only thing all Americans could agree upon: Our military families are sacred.

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Until now. This isn't a petty party or right-versus-left thing. This is an American thing.

Attack President Obama and Hillary Clinton for their policies in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. They should have to defend their decision to put our soldiers in harm's way. President Bush had to face Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq in 2005 and who decided to camp out across the road from the Bush Crawford ranch for weeks to protest the Iraq war. This is how Bush responded:

So why do Trump supporters think treating our military mothers with anything but gratitude and respect is acceptable? It's not.

The anger of the Trump campaign isn't some righteous indignation. Trump has attracted voters who aren't attached to any set of principles, just the opportunity to be mean and hateful. Like Trump found juuuust the spot and started scratching behind their ear. What we're seeing now is just the dog's involuntary leg kick.

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As a country, we have to stop this. No matter how good it feels. Go after Hillary and Barack, Bernie and Elizabeth, George and John. But when it comes to the mothers whose children serve their country, we have a responsibility to protect them and honor their sacrifice. No politics can ever change that.

 

Image via The Union-Tribune /Twitter

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