|Khizr Kahn offers Donald Trump a copy of the |
Constitutiion while his wife looks on
at the Democratic National Convention.
Khan does not know me, I don't know him. I'm sure he'll never see what follows, but I want to write this open letter to him anyway.
Dear Mr. Khan:
Like millions of Americans, I watched your address to the Democratic National Convention in which you invoked patriotism, duty and sacrifice as you, in the most dignified way possible, helped us understand the dangers of Donald Trump.
We all know you and your family already sacrificed way too much, losing a son as he heroically saved the lives of other soldiers and civilians.
Yet, you walked out onto a stage and gave even more, in the name of duty and patriotism.
I don't think you fully realize what a great service you did. It seems I never hear anymore about how we should serve our country. It seems all I hear from people is, "these are my rights," without adding that with those rights come responsibility.
This nation needed so desperately to be reminded of this. Thank you for doing just that.
And it stuck. Days later, everybody is still talking about what you said and did. It's cleansing America's soul, at least a little bit
You rightly suggest that people in our political system must serve to advance our nation, not just themselves. To me it's shocking that we had to be reminded of this, but I'm grateful you did.
On Friday, during an appearance on MSNBC, you appealed to Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan's patriotism in asking them to take a moral stand by telling Trump, "enough."
"There is so much at stake, and I appeal to both of these leaders, this is the time. There comes a time in the history of a nation where an ethical, moral stand has to be taken regardless of the political costs.....The only reason they're not repudiating his behavior, his threat to our democracy, our decency, our foundations, is just because of the political consequences."
Let's hope these leaders' sense of patriotism outweighs their fears of political consequences.
I'm sure you're not surprised Trump didn't take your message to heart. He said your wife didn't speak at the convention because you didn't allow him to, that his sacrifice in "creating jobs" is somehow on par with yours, and that the Clinton campaign orchestrated everything you said.
Of course, you didn't read from a paper or a teleprompter, politely declined to use the services of a Clinton campaign speechwriter, and spoke from the heart. Your wife was too overcome by emotion to speak, which everybody except Trump apparently understands.
Ultimately, what the rest of the nation thinks about your convention speech matters much more than how Trump takes it.
In a world of packaged soundbites, your very human and humane address made your message resonate even more. Which is incredibly important, given our noisy politics and news cycles and all that clutter.
The world can often seem hateful, violent and cold-hearted. Some people, like Trump, embrace that darkness.
You chose not to, though given the fact you lost your wonderful and brave son to war could have easily led you in that direction.
Instead, you found light in work, kindness, compassion and strength. That we saw these characters on full display as you gave your address Thursday will inspire me and countless others. Maybe many of us will become better people because of what you did.
At least I hope so.
Mr. Kahn, your son was a hero..So are you.