Tuesday, August 2, 2016

McCain Eloquently Stands With Khan Family (Still Endorses Trump Though)

John McCain
A few members of my family have served in the military.

On my dad's side, his uncles served in World War I, World War II and Korea.  One uncle that served in the first World War was mustard gassed in battle, and it disabled him for the rest of his life.  I'm told he also suffered from flashbacks and probably what we would now know as posttraumatic stress disorder.

While many saw deployment and even some time in battle, the rest were more lucky than Uncle Fred was.  They may have suffered the mental wounds of war, but physically, they came home fine.

For Gold Star families, they don't get to have their loved ones back.  I can only imagine the pain, sorrow and emptiness that fills the hole where that person once was.  A dad or mom that has lost a son or daughter or a brother or sister who has lost a sibling or a son or daughter that has lost a parent must be a gauntlet of emotion each day to power through.  I know how tough it was to lose my mother to Parkinson's Disease, arthritis and other ailments at 73.  I can only imagine what it must be like to lose someone in the prime of their life who died for a cause that may or may not be readily clear in the name of their country.

John McCain is an American hero.

I cannot, and I will not ever insult McCain’s service and sacrifice for the United States.  He spent five years in a Viet Cong prison camp sacrificing his body one beating at a time for his fellow soldiers, refusing early release to avoid special treatment others in his prison camp didn't have the opportunity to receive and then returning to his country permanently disabled after the war.

For his trouble, Donald Trump said he wasn't a war hero because McCain got captured, "I like people who don't get captured, ok?"

That was his flippant comment back in 2015 in Iowa.  It was offensive then, and it's offensive now especially since Trump spent the Vietnam War in Manhattan with a deferment for bone spurs.  John McCain is having his bones broken night after night, and Trump is waltzing around New York like a playboy.

Over the years, John McCain has become a different man.  Despite the time spent in that prison camp, McCain continues to be one of the biggest war hawks in the U.S. Senate.  He has many views I simply disagree with and he bears little resemblance to the John McCain that we saw in the early 2000's who stood up to his party.  

While I respect his service to his country and the sacrifices he has made for it, I would find it unlikely that I would ever vote for the politician he has become, and I would love to see him sent home to Arizona this election season.

With that said, there's nothing John McCain could do in the U.S. Senate that would make me describe him in any other way than a hero for his sacrifice and his service.  Every once in a while, we still get a glimpse of that political maverick.  It happened just today.

In that tradition, John McCain eloquently and swiftly put Donald Trump, his party’s nominee, in his place on Monday.  After Trump decided to take on Captain Humayan Khan's family.  Khan, who was killed in action in Afghanistan, fell on the battlefield in 2004.  For his family, the wound is still fresh.

Captain Khan's father Khizr and his mother Ghazala took to the stage at the Democratic National Convention last week to criticize Trump over his proposed policy to ban Muslims from the United States. Their argument was simple.  That their son had sacrificed for this country for our freedoms.  He fought and died in this country's service and that Trump had disgraced their son's sacrifice with his proposal, "You have sacrificed nothing," said Khizr Khan in his speech.

Trump, of course, pushed back saying that the family had "no right" to criticize him and that he had sacrificed much.  This set off critics from all over the political spectrum as Trump had attacked a Gold Star family.  

Enter John McCain, perhaps the most eloquent of the defenders:

“The Republican Party I know and love is the party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan. 
“I wear a bracelet bearing the name of a fallen hero, Matthew Stanley, which his mother, Lynn, gave me in 2007, at a town hall meeting in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. His memory and the memory of our great leaders deserve better from me.
“In recent days, Donald Trump disparaged a fallen soldier’s parents. He has suggested that the likes of their son should not be allowed in the United States — to say nothing of entering its service. I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump’s statement. I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers, or candidates. 
“Make no mistake: I do not valorize our military out of some unfamiliar instinct. I grew up in a military family, and have my own record of service, and have stayed closely engaged with our armed forces throughout my public career. In the American system, the military has value only inasmuch as it protects and defends the liberties of the people. 
“My father was a career naval officer, as was his father. For hundreds of years, every generation of McCains has served the United States in uniform. 
“My sons serve today, and I’m proud of them. My youngest served in the war that claimed Captain Khan’s life as well as in Afghanistan. I want them to be proud of me. I want to do the right thing by them and their comrades. 
“Humayun Khan did exactly that — and he did it for all the right reasons. This accomplished young man was not driven to service as a United States Army officer because he was compelled to by any material need. He was inspired as a young man by his reading of Thomas Jefferson — and he wanted to give back to the country that had taken him and his parents in as immigrants when he was only two years old. 
“Captain Khan’s death in Iraq, on June 8th, 2004, was a shining example of the valor and bravery inculcated into our military. When a suicide bomber accelerated his vehicle toward a facility with hundreds of American soldiers, Captain Khan ordered his subordinates away from the danger. 
“Then he ran toward it. 
“The suicide bomber, striking prematurely, claimed the life of Captain Khan — and Captain Khan, through his selfless action and sacrifice, saved the lives of hundreds of his brothers and sisters. 
“Scripture tells us that ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ 
“Captain Humayun Khan of the United States Army showed in his final moments that he was filled and motivated by this love. His name will live forever in American memory, as an example of true American greatness. 
“In the end, I am morally bound to speak only to the things that command my allegiance, and to which I have dedicated my life’s work: the Republican Party, and more importantly, the United States of America. I will not refrain from doing my utmost by those lights simply because it may benefit others with whom I disagree. 
“I claim no moral superiority over Donald Trump. I have a long and well-known public and private record for which I will have to answer at the Final Judgment, and I repose my hope in the promise of mercy and the moderation of age. I challenge the nominee to set the example for what our country can and should represent. 
“Arizona is watching. It is time for Donald Trump to set the example for our country and the future of the Republican Party. While our Party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us.
“Lastly, I’d like to say to Mr. and Mrs. Khan: thank you for immigrating to America. We’re a better country because of you. And you are certainly right; your son was the best of America, and the memory of his sacrifice will make us a better nation – and he will never be forgotten.”
McCain stopped short of retracting his endorsement of Trump.  That would have even meant mor ein an election year, but you can certainly feel McCain's pain in this statement and his anger.

Bottom line is that once again, Donald Trump isn't fit to be President of the United States.  Period.

Back to the start, I was always taught to treat our military members with respect by my mother and father.  They fight for us.

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