Full disclosure: Until about a year ago I didn't know what a Gold Star family was. I happened across it, in all places, while waiting to sign in for a triathlon. There was a woman there whose backpack was adorned with pins, mainly from all the races she had done. The women directly behind her was asking about the pins, and they were talking about the races when the lady noticed the Gold Star pin and asked about it. The lady with the backpack said her brother was killed in the war.
I'll never forget the feeling I had. I lost my breath and got humble in a hurry. I never spoke two words to the women and to this day, wouldn't be able to pick her out of a lineup. And until recently, quite honestly, I forgot about the moment all together. That is, until I heard Khizr Khan speak and tell his story. It was then I was reminded of that ultimate sacrifice some families make.
When someone whose family member has given their life for this country is speaking, you shut up and you listen. If you are playing the game of politics and they are speaking ill of you, you shut up and you listen then you go quiet. Who on God's green earth is advising Donald Trump? About the only thing he could do right now to change the narrative is walk out onto 5th Avenue and shoot somebody.
I cannot believe what is unfolding here in front of us. A man who professes to "Love the veterans," has spent time on the campaign trail mocking war heroes — John McCain — then trying to discredit family members of war heroes. I know that politics is a dirty business, and you don't get into it unless you plan on getting dirty, but this is a new level of disgusting. Because Trump is now dragging civilians into his political schizophrenia and tweeting Tourette's. Going after the Khans for me was the absolute straw that broke the camel's back. Not that the camel itself wasn't already tamped into a stain on the floor as far as I'm concerned. But Donald Trump has proven just one more time that he is not fit to be the President of the United States. Do! You! Hear! Me? If you are supporting this man, please pack your bags and get out of my country, because the nation for which I stand is indivisible and includes liberty and justice for all — not whatever this hack can spew into our eardrums.
What we are seeing here is a true demagogue. I almost never make this comparison because I truly believe we live in a society that won't allow it to happen a second time. But the fact that this bloviating gas bag named Donald Trump has even gained any traction moves us a step closer to a Hitleresque society.
So anyone who is thinking about voting for this man, you have to vote for someone else. Did Bernie let you down? Perhaps, but that does not give you permission to vote for Donald Trump. There are two other candidates out there you can cast your vote for (Jill Stein and Gary Johnson); you are not "stuck" with Hilary Clinton. This obsession we have with winning and losing has to stop and it needs to stop now. It's not a football pick; it's a presidential election; pick the candidate that best reflects your values. Donald J. Trump cannot run this country! And if you are sitting there reconciling what Trump said and somehow making it acceptable, here's what I have to say to you: It's not! He went after the family of a fallen solider — not acceptable.
The Khans followed the American Dream — they built a life here. They embody the words on the Statue of Liberty — which not only invite those who seek a better way but also professes to light the way for them. That is my country, that is the country I would live and die for. That is the country Humayun Khan died for, not this bastardization loosely interpreted de-constitutionalized rhetoric that Trump spews. That is not my country and I will have no part of it. The Khans raised a hero, a true American son and they lost him. I for one will be eternally grateful to the Khans. But to Trump, I say this — what the hell is up with that?
Fish is the opinionated morning jock on Classic Hits 92.7. He offers up his opinion at 7:50 a.m. every morning (Monday through Friday). Let's start the revolution. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.