Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Thoughts on Donald Trump versus Khizr and Ghazala Khan

Beginning at the Democratic National Convention last week, Khizr and Ghazala Khan have fired a series of devastating broadsides at Donald Trump. Their interview with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC last evening should have been the killing blow if leveled against a political campaign in a normal year and where the target was a person other than a demagogue and political necromancer.

Donald Trump will survive this recent episode of momentary outrage. Why? Because he has set the bar so low that each "gaffe" or "mistake" is no longer a surprise. These are character traits and a habit. Moreover, because Trump is using the bogeyman of political correctness to rally his conservative-authoritarian followers, the more he is criticized the more popular he becomes among his base.

There is another dimension to this as well. Muslims are one of the most reviled groups of people in the United States. According to recent polls, next to atheists, they are the second least liked group in the country. The Khan family, in honoring their son's sacrifice in Afghanistan, and rebuking Donald Trump, are also making a claim on American citizenship and belonging. In a country that historically has been "white by law" and where military service in the combat arms has been denied to African-Americans (women and gays and lesbians) the Khans terrify and enrage the white conservative voters who want to "make American great again" and to reaffirm their herrenvolk birthright(s).

Am I being too pessimistic? Will the Khans be the ones to finally expose Donald Trump as unfit for the Presidency of the United States of America?

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