Right now I’m leaning towards writing in Khizr Khan for president in November. He gets it better than the two clowns currently running. #YesWeKhan
He walked onto the convention stage Thursday night with his wife beside him, the Constitution to guide him and the pride of a father who knows he has a story to tell. “Tonight,” said Khizr M. Khan, “we are honored to stand here as the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, and as patriotic American Muslims with undivided loyalty to our country.” That was the beginning of a 7-minute speech that became an instant sensation—eloquent, emotional and notably original, coming as it did at the end of four days of highly processed political cliche. Khan, a 66-year-old immigration lawyer from Charlottesville, told the story of his son’s death in combat in Iraq, but he turned that elegy into a viral rebuke of Donald Trump: “You have sacrificed nothing!” The story of how Khan, who is not even a registered Democrat, came to be standing on a stage where Hillary Clinton would moments later accept the nomination for president, began on June 8, 2004, the day his son was killed by a car bomber in Baqubah.
In 2005, Khan talked about his late son to the Washington Post. He recounted the family’s journey from Pakistan to the United Arab Emirates, and from there to Boston, where Khan completed his L.L.M at Harvard University. The family moved to Maryland in time for Humayun to go to high school. Even back then, Khan told the Post, Humayun “was the middle one, the comforter, the one the cousins would run to when they were being picked on. He gave swimming lessons to disabled children in high school.” This sense of responsibility for others showed up again when Humayun joined the Army after graduating from high school. Humayun finished his four years of service and was preparing for law school at the University of Virginia when the Army called on him to serve in Iraq. He died there, four months after his arrival. Seeing a car speeding at his men, he ordered them to take cover. He took 10 steps toward the vehicle before it exploded. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
In an interview he gave the San Francisco Chronicle two days before his speech, he said, “Nowhere but in the United States is it possible that an immigrant who came to the country empty-handed only a few years ago gets to stand in front of patriots and in front of a major political party. … It is my small share to show the world, by standing there, the goodness of America.” The Clinton campaign offered to put him in contact with a speechwriter. He declined. He knew what he wanted to say. He practiced at home with his family, leaning on 40 years of experience as an attorney that taught him “how to control my thoughts, my emotions and my message.” On the day of the speech, he grabbed his worn copy of the Constitution and slipped it in his jacket pocket. He carries it regularly, especially when he travels. “It’s my favorite document.”
The Khizr Khan speech was powerful and beautiful. The kind of speech you would have seen at a GOP convention in the Bush era, but not the Trump era. What a remarkable family. Proud that they’re Americans.
When Capt. Humayun Khan was ordered to Iraq a dozen years ago, his father wanted to talk to him about being an American Muslim soldier sent to war in a Muslim country. His son, though, was focused only on the job at hand. “I asked him, ‘How do you feel about the whole Iraq deal?’ ” recalled Khizr Khan, who became a United States citizen after emigrating from Pakistan in 1980. “He said: ‘Look, that’s not my concern and that’s not my pay grade. My responsibility is to make sure my unit is safe.’ And that’s all he would talk about, and nothing else.” Captain Khan, 27, died on June 8, 2004, after he told his men to take cover and then tried to stop a suicide bomber outside the gates of his base in Baquba.
If restrictions on Muslim immigration had been in place decades ago, Mr. Khan said, neither he, a lawyer with an advanced degree from Harvard Law School; his wife, Ghazala, who taught Persian at a Pakistani college before raising three boys in the Washington suburbs; their eldest son, Shaharyar, who was a top student at the University of Virginia and a co-founder of a biotechnology company; nor Captain Khan, who posthumously earned the Bronze Star, along with a Purple Heart, for saving the lives of his men, would have been allowed to settle here…Mr. Khan said he admires both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, though Thomas Jefferson is his real hero.
After their son’s death, Mr. Khan and his wife, who had moved to Charlottesville to be close to their other sons, had the university’s R.O.T.C. cadets over for dinner once a year. Mr. Khan would give them each a pocket-size copy of the Constitution, just like the one he brandished on Thursday, said Tim Leroux, who used to run the R.O.T.C. program. University officials let Mr. Khan read an application essay his son wrote for a residential college. In the essay, Captain Khan wrote of how “liberty requires vigilance and sacrifice” and that those who are “beneficiaries of liberty must always bear this in mind, and keep it safe from attacks.”
And of course Trump had to take the bait, of course, and bash the grieving family of a dead American hero. What a disgusting, despicable little man.
The Khan family champions the classical liberalism this country was founded on, passes out pocket Constitutions (and has made them a best-seller since his speech) to college students, rejects the illiberalism of the vast majority of the Islamic world, and lost a son who died saving American soldiers. Trump couldn’t quote from the Constitution if his life depended on it, rejects the classical liberalism of the founding, wants to make enemies of our Muslim allies who we need to fight ISIS, has sacrificed nothing and has equated fighting in combat for your country to not getting gonorrhea. So yeah, I’m on Team Khan. Proudly.
By the way, this is how a real man behaves around the parents of soldiers. I miss the days when the GOP nominated real men. Anyway, I’ll rant more about Trump in another post. Want this one to remain more positive. So, returning to a “restore faith in humanity” moment for the ending: Local news says lots of people have been visiting Captain Khan’s grave this week at Arlington National Cemetery.