Like many of you, I suspect, I have been checking in on social media every couple of hours this weekend, mostly to see how the election is shaping up after the DNC (the polls are tilting back in favor of Hillary). What I have noticed — and I don’t mean this lightly — is a sea change surrounding the candidacy of Donald Trump. When I wrote on Thursday that the Dad of Muslim American war hero delivered one of the DNC’s most significant moments, I don’t think anyone could have realized how significant that moment was. It is, as the NYTimes describes it, a “flash point” in this election.
The speech was important for a number of reasons besides simply putting Donald Trump in his place (although, it was important for that reason, too). It highlighted the fact that Trump was not qualified to run our military. It highlighted the fact that Trump doesn’t understand the Constitution, and it highlighted the fact that Trump does not know real sacrifice.
More importantly, it gave a voice and a face to Muslim Americans in our country, a reminder to everyone that Muslims in this country are mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and even war heroes, men and women willing to sacrifice their lives for the ideals of the United States.
Trump has said a lot of ugly, deflective and disrespectful things about Khizr and Ghazala Khan this weekend. They need not be rehashed here (it’s been collected in its entirety here), although if you have not read Ghazala Khan’s Op-Ed in the Washington Post or Khizr Khan’s interview on State of the Union, you should. In fact, they are essential to not only understand the “black soul” of Donald Trump, but in better understanding the real heartbreak the Khans have suffered over the sacrifice of their son.
What has been remarkable about this dispute, however, is how much it has brought out the goodness of the people of this country.
To see so many people of every party and faith defend the Khans from Trump's slander reminds us:— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) July 31, 2016
America is already great.
The Khans are trending on both Twitter and Facebook. Typically, when something political is trending, clicking on it will bring up the opinions of social media users on both sides of a dispute. What I have noticed here, however, is that there is virtually no other side. There is only support for the Khans. The outpouring has been nothing short of remarkable, and that support has come from both sides of the political spectrum. It may be that many Trump supporters are simply being quiet on social media because there is no way to defend the words of Trump here, but the reaction overall has been maybe the most heartening thing I’ve seen in this campaign.
Here, for instance, are the daughters of Republican senator John McCain.
I would ask what kind of barbarian would attack the parents of a fallen soldier, but oh yeah it's the same person who attacks POW's.— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) July 31, 2016
That’s really just the tip of the iceberg, because there are thousands upon thousands of tweets and FB status updates showing not only support for the Khans, but a rejection of Trump over his disrespect.
Yes, We Khan. https://t.co/6AAtNcDZib— Al Giordano (@AlGiordano) July 31, 2016
Every time I think of Khizr & Ghazala Khan, I think of the phrase, "A hero will rise." But in our hour of need, we got two heroes. #america— Mo Ryan (@moryan) July 31, 2016
What I have noticed more than anything on the Facebook walls of strangers that I have been scanning today is that there are so many people who profess to avoiding a discussion of politics in public because they don’t want to upset or alienate friends and family, but so many of them nevertheless feel obligated to comment on this. Khizr and Ghazala Khan have brought the lurkers out of the shadows, and they are speaking up because the Khans are Americans, damnit. They are citizens of our nation, we support them, we are proud of them, and we will not remain silent while Donald Trump attacks one of us.