Grits and Tamales

Life in the Deep South, by Gabriel Aguilera

Mr. Khan’s America, My America


Photo Credit: Getty Images, from Politico, “Seven Minutes that Shook the Convention.”

This courageous man, an immigration attorney, delivered one of the most powerful things I have ever seen at convention. It certainly is my favorite. The details are in the linked essay but you can see the speech here for yourself. Rafael Suarez Jr. characterized it this way on his Facebook page: “Capt. Khan’s father is the star of the Democratic Convention. Whatever you think of Hillary Clinton, this grieving father, this dignified immigrant is delivering a love letter to his adopted country.”

Andrew Sullivan, live-blogging, said:

9:19 p.m. This I can clearly say: that last speech was the best of the last two weeks, and the most necessary. When that father brought out his own copy of the Constitution and waved it at Donald Trump, it was the fulcrum of this election. This is what is at stake – the core values of this country under threat from a man who has no understanding of the Constitution he would swear to uphold.

9:13 p.m. Okay, this is jaw-droppingly powerful: the dignified father, Khizr Khan, of a fallen Muslim soldier, refuting the rancid divisiveness of Trump by his very composure and gravity.

I was moved by this man and this most numinous moment that was anything but the usual rhetoric and rodomontade of a political convention. I was touched by Mr. Suarez’s description, “delivering a love letter to his adopted country.” The Politico story nabbed this tidbit, said by Mr. Khan before his speech: “It is my small share to show the world, by standing there, the goodness of America.” As a fellow immigrant — I came to the US when I was five, undocumented, with my family — I felt like I was standing there with him in his dream, sharing his pride and his concern.

Mr. Khan appeared on the stage as if brought to life by Mr. Obama’s words from the previous evening. He too took as his starting point the law of our land, contrasted this America to the Orwellian one posited by Mr. Trump, and then eviscerated his lie with the simple eloquence of truth, hanging this epitaph on the GOP candidate: “You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”

September 11, like most violent shocks to a nation, triggered good as well as evil as we all are aware. Together with the war on terror, there has also been a growing divide in our body politic across several dimensions such as race, religion, immigration, and rural-urban landscapes, just to name a few. Add to these the effects of globalization and technology that have hammered low-skilled workers, and we are where we are, perhaps on the precipice of Trump’s America.

But I don’t think so, at least not quite. I expect candidate Clinton will methodically wear down and defeat Trump in the battleground states handily. This, however, is the easy part. I am less doubtful that we will, as a nation, turn the corner and begin to invest more in the right things in order to improve the well-being of those who are now clinging to Trump. Hard enough as this will be, I’m afraid that the decay in working class America might already be beyond repair, setting us up for more Trumps.

One thing is certain. Mr. Khan’s America, my America, has eroded.







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: