“It Made Me Weep For Our Country”

After what can only be called a spectacular Democratic Convention, I am republishing in full Josh Barro’s latest piece for Business Insider because, well, it pretty much says it all about how far the GOP has fallen. Barro, as far as I know, still calls himself a Republican, albeit an almost-extinct thoughtful one.

Hear him and pass on the sentiment to every Republican you happen to know:

I rewatched Khizr Khan’s speech — and it made me weep for our country

If you haven’t yet seen it, you really need to watch Thursday night’s Democratic convention speech by Khizr Khan, the father of Army Cpt. Humayun Khan, a Muslim immigrant who was killed in action in Iraq in 2004 while protecting his unit from a car bomb.

Khan demanded to know whether Donald Trump had even read the Constitution, pulled out his pocket copy, and offered to lend it to Trump.

I watched this moment live and was awed by it. I watched it again Friday morning, and I cried.

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.

Of course, Trump supporters object to the claim that this is what Trump wants. Donald Trump is talking only about immigrants living in the US illegally, they say. He’s talking only about barring foreign Muslims. David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader, may love Trump, but Trump’s fans will insist that the Republican nominee’s politics are distinct from white supremacy.

This is a load of nonsense, as we can all tell by Trump’s attacks on “Mexican” Judge Gonzalo Curiel and by his demands for President Obama’s birth certificate. Trump’s concept of the nation he speaks for is not about values or citizenship or even birthplace. It is about ethnicity.

If you are a white model from Europe, like Antonio Sabato Jr. or Melania Knauss, you are welcome in Trump’s America. If you are a brown or black person, you are suspect, even if you are a citizen, and even if you were born in Indiana or Hawaii (as in the cases of Curiel and Obama).

This is the philosophy of a major-party candidate for president, who has most of his own political party lined up behind him. It is enraging, it is scary, and it is sad. And I cried Friday morning because it was even necessary for someone to stand up at a party convention and explain why that candidate is wrong.

I am angry at Donald Trump, and I am angry at the people who voted for him. But most of all I am angry at the senior Republicans who are standing by and acting as if this is fine – endorsing him in the belief that he will lose but that standing together will stem the loss of congressional seats, or endorsing him in the hope that he will grow up if he wins.

I genuinely thought mainstream Republican leaders knew better, that they understood there are matters more important than fiscal policy, and that if a candidate were terrible enough, they would reach a point at which they realized their responsibilities to their country exceeded those to their political party.

I did not expect people like House Speaker Paul Ryan to behave so indecently as to line up behind this hateful man, who does not even agree with them on public policy. I was naive, and I am sad, because it means we have a less durable democracy than I thought.

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4 Comments

  1. Mr. Khan’s question about reading the Constitution is appropriate, but of course, rhetorical. Trump has admitted he “doesn’t have the time to read much.” From an interview by the Washington Post:

    According to the Post, there are other reasons why Trump doesn’t like to read:
    1. He already possesses enough knowledge and common sense to make correct decisions.
    2. He’s skeptical of experts who write books: “They can’t see the forest for the trees.”
    3. Reading long documents is a waste of time: “I’m a very efficient guy.”

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    • It only takes about two minutes of listening to him answer a serious question for one to understand that he is not a friend of books and that he does not have any respect for anyone who is. Unfortunately, there are far too many in our country who are just like him.

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  2. King Beauregard

     /  July 31, 2016

    I tweeted Josh Barro:


    Very much liked your piece on Khizr Khan. But … how did you not see GOP leaders have been playing a cynical game for decades now?

    I don’t think I’ll get an answer; hopefully it will be received as a rhetorical question and he’ll give the matter some thought. But I’d really be interested in an answer, because holy hell, I can’t imagine the mental gymnastics required to think Trump is beyond the pale but the leaders of the GOP for the past 30 years have been acceptable. Even if you were willing to dismiss Newt as a “bad apple” and Dubya as “well-meaning but ineffectual”, that still leaves the past seven years of a Republican Party that is unwilling to perform the basic functions a political party is supposed to. Insulting the parents of a hero is intolerable, but failing to pass budgets is fine?

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    • Good tweet and good question for all Republicans. I understand what you are saying. Some of the things Republicans have done for a generation now are absolutely reprehensible, particularly what they have done since they took over the House in 2010.

      But I consider Trump categorically different from all that. He is a man clearly unfit, psychologically, to run the government and command the military. He is a very dangerous demagogue, in terms of how many lives could be lost because of his unfitness. That’s quite a bit different from threatening, or actually causing for a short time, the shutdown of parts of the government.

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