The Khans not the Clinton’s are Donald Trump’s biggest presidential obstacle

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Donald Trump’s biggest obstacle in his bid for the White House in November is not Hillary Clinton or the mighty Democratic Party machine behind her campaign. His biggest obstacle is a hitherto unknown American Muslim couple, Khizr and Ghazala Khan.

The couple’s intervention in the election has crystallized the issue upon which it will be won or lost — namely whether or not the country’s Muslim and other minority communities are deserving of the same respect and status as US citizens as their white counterparts.

The vulnerability of Trump’s orientation towards a nativist, Christian America in which there is little place for ‘the other’ — those who pray to a different God, for whom English is their second language and who have dark skin — was delivered a monumental blow by Khizr Khan, father of a fallen US soldier in Iraq, in his speech to the Democratic National Convention. It was a speech and delivery that outshone those of Barack Obama, his wife Michelle Obama, and Bill Clinton when it came to pushing back against the momentum whipped up by the Trump campaign in the aftermath of a Republic Convention that had seen him take a firm lead in the polls.

Khan laid it out thus — my son, a Muslim, died a hero in the uniform of the US army in Iraq. He deserves the respect accorded to all those who have fallen in service to America and are laid to rest at Arlington Military Cemetery. His service and sacrifice removes any doubt of his and our patriotism. And you Mr Trump have sacrificed nothing and no one in service to America, so how dare you smear Muslims and other minorities who have.

Trump’s cause was not helped by a response that ridiculed Khizr Khan’s wife with a nod to Islamophobia, inferring that the reason she remained silent beside her husband during their appearance at the DNC may have been because she wasn’t allowed to speak, before going on to refute Khizr Khan’s claim that he hasn’t made any sacrifices for America, citing the fact that he’s undertaken huge property deals and development projects, employed people, as proof that he has.

Yes, you really couldn’t make it up.

This story is not about Mr. Khan, who is all over the place doing interviews, but rather RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM and the U.S. Get smart!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2016

​In a story that won’t go away the Khans have responded in kind both in articles and TV interviews, proving the one thorn in the side of the Trump campaign that he cannot yet remove.

Trump’s failing — one that may well prove his undoing — is the perceived disrespect he has shown towards the parents of a fallen soldier. In his arrogance and astonishing narcissism the property mogul has made the perhaps fatal mistake of believing he could say just about anything he wants and still attract support, presenting himself as the candidate for whom political correctness is anathema and is willing to say exactly how it is to a people tired of the status quo.

But what he’s just come up against is a country’s reverence for its military and armed forces, the one institution in American culture that is considered above criticism or anything which even hints at disrespect. The parents and families of fallen soldiers — referred to as Gold Star families — exist as symbols of America’s mythological opinion of itself as a force for good in the world, the one indispensable nation, whose willingness to sacrifice a son, daughter, father or mother in the great cause of liberty and democracy places them in a special category that transcends wealth, fame, political office, and most crucially ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. In other words the parents and families of fallen soldiers are the one demographic in which the mantra of America’s much vaunted constitution when it comes to all men being created equal is actually upheld.

​For a man such as Donald Trump, words such as service, sacrifice and patriotism ring hollow. His loyalty is to the next business deal and opportunity for business and personal advancement. He is America with its mask removed, a place where greed, arrogance, ruthlessness and bigotry reigns. In other words, Trump, rather than any kind of aberration, is the ideal poster child for America and the American Dream, shorn of embroidery, finesse, and fancy packaging.

Ironically it is the Khans — Muslim parents of a Muslim son killed in Iraq in service to US imperialism — rather than billionaire Donald Trump who represent the myth upon which the land of the free has managed to sustain itself through the countless brutal imperialist wars and military adventures that litter its history.

© AFP 2016/

The Republicans now find themselves in a quandary. The party most associated with support for the military, with the willingness to sign a blank check when it comes to the nation’s outrageous defense budget, now finds its candidate for the presidency, Donald Trump, being shredded by military veterans, former generals, and the aforementioned Gold Star families, all of whom have rallied round the Khans.

When it comes to Trump’s suitability to lead the ‘free world’, by now it is manifestly clear that he’s about as qualified as a lump of cheese to occupy any political office, much less one that brings with it access to the nuclear codes. Not that Hillary Clinton is any more qualified. Au contraire, in her case we are talking about a natural born killer for whom there is no country that can’t be improved by a shower of cruise missiles.

If Clinton wins in November she will have Khizr and Ghazala Khan to thank for delivering a political missile straight at the heart of Donald Trump’s weak point — the inability to appreciate the US armed forces as an institution in which the blood of Muslims, blacks, Hispanics and whites is the same and equally expendable when it comes to the nation’s addiction to war.


Originally published at on August 2, 2016.

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