Yesterday on The Maddow Blog, Steve Benen made the observation that Khizr Khan, who spoke of his fallen son at the Democratic National Convention and said to Donald Trump, “You have sacrificed nothing and no one,” had “laid waste to Trump’s twisted understanding of patriotism.”
That is likely true. The only immigrants Trump wants to allow across our borders are female models willing to marry him. Given Trump’s stance on immigration, without that exception, he would be single today.
As Khan said in his speech, “Hillary Clinton was right when she called my son, ‘the best of America.’ If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America.” It was a powerful moment. His were not the words of the rich and powerful. They were the words of an American. Of one of us.
It is worth watching Mr. Khan’s speech if you have not seen it already:
Business Insider‘s Josh Barro said, and you probably feel the same, “I watched this moment live and was awed by it. I watched it again Friday morning, and I cried.”
Why? Because, he tweeted, “because it was even necessary for anyone to say Muslims can be real Americans.”
Morning Joe tweeted that Khan’s speech was “One of the most moving moments of any convention that I’ve ever been to,” which shows even hard hearts can be softened.
Yet if Khan “laid waste” to Trump, the right has wasted no time trying to lay waste to Khan. Enter the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios, who said on her radio show Friday that,
“From my perspective, it is the responsibility of Mr. Khan to distinguish himself from Islamists, from the Muslim Brotherhood whose treatise is to destroy us from within. If he is a patriotic, loyal, American-Muslim, then we want to hear that, that’s great, and we grieve with them over the death of their son. But do not disparage Americans or Donald Trump for having concerns about Muslims in our midst.”
Listen courtesy of Right Wing Watch:
And don’t you dare think about pointing out that Trump and his followers are ignorant of the Constitution, said Rios. According to her, Khan was condemning the wrong people:
“And if you are so concerned, Mr. Khan, if you’re an American first, then distinguish yourself and condemn Islamists, condemn the Muslim Brotherhood, then we will listen to you, and stop waving the Constitution.”
Because he is Muslim, he must prove his patriotism, which, of course, he will never be able to sufficiently do because he is Muslim.
“[D]on’t shame America for having genuine and rightful concerns about Muslims in our midst when we have no idea who they are or what they really believe, and we’re not even sure about you, sir, because we know about taqiyya, which is the practice of lying to the infidel in order to advance the Muslim cause.”
This is rich coming from one of the most dishonest figures on the so-called Religious Right. Of course, as you can see, Sandy Rios shames herself. It did not take Khan to make it true, only to point it out.
Josh Barro put it this way:
“We are having an election that is about whether we, as a nation, value people like Khizr and Humayun Khan. Whether they are real Americans. Whether we will define our nation by shared values, as both parties have claimed we do for decades, or by ethnicity, as Donald Trump would have us do.”
CNN called Khan’s speech “the moment American Muslims have been waiting for,” but it didn’t get seen by Fox News’ “white Christian Americans” because Fox didn’t air Khizr Khan. He didn’t say anything they wanted their listeners to hear because to hear the other side, to hear from the victims of their bigotry, might lead them to question its consequences. They can’t have that.
The Republican answer to that question is clear. The best Sandy Rios can offer this man who has lost his son is, “I hope he is a loyal American” but she doesn’t think he is, because if he was he would be more like Republican and Religious Right favorite Zuhdi Jasser.
Khan has asked Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to repudiate Trump, but we won’t hold our breaths for that. They’ve already made clear they are willing to overlook evil to get what they want legislatively.
Keith Olbermann said that “I sure am honored to share a country with Khizr Khan.” It’s a shame we can say the same of Sandy Rios and Donald Trump, who should be ashamed and who can only leave us filled with shame. Khizr Khan no more has to prove his patriotism to us than does any other American, and is clear that he “gets” what America is about.
It’s a shame we can’t say the same of Rios and Trump.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.