“Khan!!!!” The last time I heard that name, said the way I imagine it, William Shatner was over-acting in a Star Trek movie. I suspect this week that Donald Trump is saying the same word in exactly the same way, only Khan is the good guy here and the over-acting is done by the man with orange hair.
In a year of populism, it is the man-we-never-heard-of and his supposedly silent wife who may yet have the biggest impact on the election. Among other things, that’s what makes this man and his ideas important in this election cycle. In this election cycle, we have to choose which kind of populism America wants — ignorant, disrespectful, bullying to gain power over others or populism or intelligent, respectful, and sacrificing for others. After the over-wrought theater of the RNC which could have included a “wrestling Muslims to death” match, we are treated to eloquence and gracefulness and great speeches about our best America, at the DNC. In the midst of this, a shaking foreign born man steps to the microphone with his wife, with her head covered and speaks real truth to the very real power of hate.
There is no where to hide. All the bluster, all the attacks, all the intentional misconception of a faith from no knowledge base — in short, all the stupid things Trump has done in the past, will not hide him now. Khan expects him to be a better man than that. Khan expects him to be presidential material — and that can’t be made up on short notice. Normally by now, the spin doctors would be out in full force, “spinning” this with carefully crafted words, talking points, and such. Trump, lucky for the country and unlucky for him, avoids such things. He is who he is. The problem of course, and I’d give him credit for his honesty, is that who he is, is a bigot, a man who would mock a religion he knows nothing about, and a man who would exclude 75% of America (all women and at least half of the men in America) from having a voice in the way America is run — which, at least on paper — isn’t the way the American democracy runs. When Mr. Khan calls Trump out on Constitutional grounds, he calls all bigots out on those same grounds.
When Trump his standard tactics to appease his base — making remarks about the wife of Mr. Khan and her not speaking (and saying he’d heard this from “somewhere”, Khan answered him, by calling her his “coach” and saying she has the great ideas. Then she spoke for herself, (which Trump had intimated she couldn’t), and she explained that she couldn’t speak with pictures of her dead son around, because she’d cry.
So, after calling out Trump’s bigotry for saying people of Muslim faith were the enemy, Khan pointed out his son, who is Islamic and a medal-honored hero. When Trump responded by making disparaging remarks about Khan’s religion and women, his wife spoke truth to Trump’s power as well. The truth of a heroic Muslim man, his heroic/patriotic father, and the heroic mother/wife of the other two points to the dignity and religiosity of their religion. Their love for our Constitution calls out Trump and other bigots’ hatred of it.
I love stories of ordinary people taking on bigotry, hatred, corruption, and/or lies. Mr. Khan has surprisingly reminded me of all that America can be when the people speak. He and his family are truly citizens of our country. We should proud of them.