I've got a new essay up at BNR about the Khans, Donald Trump, and the future of the United States of America:
He claims to have been "viciously attacked," without a trace of irony, by citizens of this country who merely criticized his Islamophobic policies. They have been viciously attacked. By him.Head on over to read the whole thing.
And not just by him: The Khans, like Muslims all over this country, have been repeatedly attacked by Islamophobic non-Muslims, both rhetorically and literally. Hate crimes against Muslims spike dramatically after any violent act committed by a Muslim, as all Muslims are blamed by bigots for the actions of one individual, with no regard for whether those Muslims are among, as examples, the countless Muslim healthcare providers across this country, the owners of a beloved neighborhood business, or the parents of a service member who died for this country.
This nation, as a collective, is not always a friendly place (to put it politely) to its Muslim countrypersons.
As I was thinking about this lamentable reality, and sitting inside the thought of what it means that the Khans, despite this reality, raised a son who was willing to die for this country, and took to the stage at the Democratic convention to declare their deep patriotism, I began to consider the company they were in, in that space.
...That, too, is the story of the Democratic convention. Not just its diversity, and not just its optimism, but the numbers of people who took to the stage on behalf of a hopeful, aspirational, audacious vision for the future of a country that is often not very kind to them.
People who have, truly, been viciously attacked.
People whose communities have been neglected and scapegoated and exploited and over-policed. People whose families have been torn apart by violence and failed policy. People whose identities have been used to marginalize them. People whose lives and voices have been ignored. People who have been targeted by hate crimes and home-grown terrorists. People who have been obliged by systemic oppression to survive every day.
They showed up. They showed up to say, "This is our country, too. We are not other. We are America."
And a related piece from over the weekend: Do Republicans Own the American Flag? "I have spent the last two weeks deeply immersed in first the Republican convention and then the Democratic convention, and I have come away of the firm (and unexpected) opinion that I want Democrats waving the U.S. flag right now and saying: 'We're America—not those white nationalist authoritarian creeps.'"
I hope you enjoy both!