Yesterday, Republican nominee Donald Trump tripled down on his determination to begin discriminating against potential migrants to the United States. In a transparently racist attempt to close our doors to peoples of non-Western cultures, he demanded that immigrants must pass a “extreme, extreme vetting” that would include an “ideological test” to question “candidates’ beliefs on religious freedom, gender equality, and gay rights.”
Khzir Khan, the father of slain war hero Capt. Humayun Khan, wasted no time in challenging the man who insulted his family and demeaned his son’s heroic sacrifice in a widely publicized spat a few weeks ago. In an email to the Huffington Post, Khan said that “This is my country too. We must make it safe ― as Muslim Americans it is our obligation to keep our country safe. We reject all violence. We support better immigration policies. We stand as a testament to assimilation and being part of patriotic America as anyone else. I challenge Trump to take the naturalization test with me any day. His is demagoguery and pandering for vote. A divider like Trump can never be the steward of this country.”
Khzir Khan and his wife Ghazala emigrated to the United States from Pakistan in 1980. Their son Humayun lost his life during the Iraq War, when he courageously approached a suspicious vehicle by himself, prompting the driver to detonate his improvised explosive device prematurely. The blast killed Khan but spared the lives of his comrades.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) also challenged Trump to take his own ideological test, resoundingly condemning him in a vicious but appropriate statement: “He would almost certainly fail, given his general ignorance and weak grasp of basic facts about American history, principles and functioning of our government…The fact is, Donald Trump is nothing more than a spoiled, unpatriotic drain on society who has earned nothing and helped no one.”
Trump’s call for “extreme vetting” is a simply breathtaking show of hypocrisy from the rabble-rousing demagogue, who would himself – along with the vast majority of his supporters – fail that very same ideological test. For Trump’s idea of religious freedom includes monitoring mosques and banning Muslims from entering the US; his idea of gender equality is North Carolina’s discriminatory HB 2 “bathroom bill”; his idea of gay rights is overturning the Supreme Court ruling which legalized same-sex marriage. In his efforts to insinuate that the values of foreign cultures are uncivilized and incompatible with American society, he has inadvertently exposed the racism and the bigotry in his own platform, in his own party, and in his own supporters.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.