What’s missing from the Trump vs Khan debate

Peter Beinart writes: What has happened in the days since [Khizr] Khan’s speech has been inspiring and disturbing too. Trump has attacked Khan, and been roundly repudiated for doing so. But most of the outrage, from both politicians and pundits, has centered on Trump’s criticism of a Gold Star family. That misses the point. There’s nothing inherently wrong with openly disagreeing with someone who has lost a child in battle. If a Gold Star father became a prominent crusader against gay marriage, those of us who support gay marriage would have every right to publicly challenge him, the magnitude of his personal loss notwithstanding.

What made Trump’s attack odious was not that he criticized a father and mother who have lost a son in war. It’s that by suggesting that Ghazala Khan was not “allowed” to speak, he recapitulated the anti-Muslim bigotry that made her convention appearance necessary in the first place. The reason politicians and pundits should embrace the Khans and repudiate Trump is not because they are Gold Star parents and he is not. It’s because they are defending religious liberty while he is menacing it.

Celebrating Khizr Khan as a Gold Star father is easy because it’s apolitical. Every American politician and pundit, no matter their ideological bent, pays homage to military families. Celebrating Khizr Khan as a champion of Muslim rights, by contrast, is harder. After all, some of the same conservatives who salute the Khans for their wartime sacrifice simultaneously demand a ban on Muslim refugees and warn about the imposition of Sharia law in the United States. [Continue reading…]

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1 thought on “What’s missing from the Trump vs Khan debate

  1. Mustafa Novikoff

    Trump gets criticized then attacks his critic—old stuff really—but in this case he didn’t kill the messenger but the messenger’s wife, using an argument that many people (especially in the GOP) find convincing: that Islam oppresses women and is therefore an evil that must be defeated in the modern world. This to me was the most important aspect of the Khan story but it would seem the mainstream media just doesn’t want to “go there” since there is some truth in what Trump says—except that how he presents his argument falsifies his case, if that makes sense. When it comes to religious law (or any other system of law for that matter) complexity reigns; complexity, however, and depth of analysis have no place in a political campaign—especially this one. So she didn’t speak because Islam won’t allow her to, and that’s that. And wanna bet that most of Trump’s supporters believe every word he says on the subject?

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