Debate Reaction: Last Night Was Different

Last night, I sat in front of the television, watching the presidential debate with tears rolling down my cheeks. I don’t cry easily. I was tentative to confess my tears in this article, knowing that crying gives ammunition to those who seek to demean and degrade a woman based on her emotions. You don’t let them see you crying. You pull yourself together. Not today. I need to be clear about how impacted I was by this monstrosity.

Emotions I’ve identified while watching prior debates have included hope, excitement, frustration and fear. I’ve never watched and felt overwhelming sadness. A presidential candidate’s words have never caused my breath to catch low in my throat and my chest to tighten, but last night was different.

Donald Trump’s sardonic smile and nasty remarks didn’t surprise me. He is a desperate, flailing man, attempting to grab onto a lifeboat while his campaign sinks. Sure, he was disgusting, cutting and inappropriate but that’s not novel. What really shook me and caused my eyes to leak with empathy, was the disrespect he showed, once again, to the Khan family.

While trying to convince the American people that he “fought very hard” against the Iraq war (he didn’t), Trump, being the twisted and heartless person that he is, found it appropriate to bring up American hero Capt. Humayun Khan. As you remember, Khizr Khan and his wife Ghazala, spoke at the DNC about their sacrifice and the loss of their son. Trump then spent a week viciously attacking the Gold Star parents. I guess for Trump, that wasn’t brutal enough.

“If I was president at that time he would be alive today”

Cue the tears. Trump could have made a grand, sweeping statement about all of the soldiers lost in the war. Though his claim would be unsubstantiated, I would find it easier to chalk it up to his typical bloviating. Just as he usually does, Trump went lower than we could even fathom.

Trump lacks the dignity to even utter Capt. Khans name, let alone to use it in the way that he did last night. The name of a man who made the ultimate sacrifice, whose parents Trump has mercilessly attacked, should not pass through his lips. To say that someone’s child would be alive today “if only..” is cruel, even in circumstances when it is the truth. In this instance, it could not be proven true. I’m shocked by this savage and inhumane statement. He has shown how inept he is time and time again, but the audacity to sink to this level is mind-blowing. For this, and a litany of other reasons, we cannot allow Donald Trump to be President.

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