Archie Bunker, Trump and some real heroes

90 A Day, Letter to Editor, Rivers-Cleveland

Dear Editor:

Donald Trump is the new Archie Bunker on steroids. His run for the presidency went from entertainment to concern and now to panic. Will he make institutionalized racism acceptable again and what kind of example will he set for Americas’ young?

On the other hand, we have three fallen heroes whose short lives demonstrated the true greatness of America. Captain Humayan Khan, 27, Specialist Kareem R. Khan, 20, and Police Corporal Montreal Jackson, 32.

Donald Trump is a rich Archie—more money, more racism. Trump makes bad remarks about Muslims and blacks that protest against police misconduct. Like Archie Bunker, Donald has made crude remarks about women, especially if they don’t look like models. He has even made fun of POWs.

Trump’s uniform came from a military boarding school for rich kids. These next three guys were not sons born with rich fathers, but they faced real bullets and danger.

Specialist Kareem R. Khan, 20, of Manahawkin, N.J., was about 14 years old when the terrorist attacked on Sept. 11, 2001. Described by his parents as an obedient child who was always polite, Khan loved the Dallas Cowboys even though he grew up in Giant country.

After 9/11 Khan waited until he was 18 to join the army. He wanted to show that all Muslims were not like the terrorist who attacked the World Trade Center. His tour was supposed to end in 2006 but was extended to September 2007.

Khan, the young devoted Muslim who loved Disney World and wanted to be a doctor, lost his life in August 2007 fighting in Iraq. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke about the picture of his mother hugging his gravestone in Arlington National Cemetery, a headstone under the sign of the Islamic faith.

Khan was 20 years old.

Most people are aware of Captain Humayan Khan because of his parents’ appearance in Philadelphia at the Democratic National Convention earlier this year. Khan’s father spoke to the country about his son in response to Trump’s suggestion that Muslims should be banned from immigrating to United States.

Captain Khan (no relation to Kareem Khan) was born in The United Arab Emirates and came to U.S. as a two year old. His father was from Pakistan and they ended up in Maryland were they raised Khan. Southern grown, he was very a serious minded boy who had a strong sense of responsibility and history.

He taught disabled children how to swim and was an ardent admirer of Thomas Jefferson. Khan wrote of “freedom requiring vigilance” in his essay to enter the University Of Virginia. He graduated from Virginia with a degree in psychology.

Khan later joined the Army and went to Iraq. In June 2004, he walked 10 steps ahead of his men towards a strange car, forcing the enemy to detonate a device intended for hundreds of soldiers eating breakfast.

Khan wanted to be a military lawyer but gave his life defending America and trying to make a better world for people in Iraq. He was the first UVA graduated to die in combat since Vietnam.

Both he and Kareem were devoted to Allah and being great Americans. They are both buried in Arlington National Cemetery with other American heroes, such as the Kennedy brothers (all veterans) and civil rights martyr Medgar Evers.

Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims is not only unconstitutional, but a shameful disgrace to their memories.

Whether we like it or not, the police are doing God’s work. Officer Montrell Jackson from Baton Rouge, La., lived that high idea. Like many people, Jackson was shocked and saddened by the killings of two unarmed black men at the hand of law enforcement. He went to Facebook to express his frustrations:

“I’m tired physically and emotionally. Disappointed in some family, friends, and officers for some reckless comments but hey what’s in your heart is in your heart. I still love you all because hate takes too much energy but I definitely won’t be looking at you the same. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me or my wife it was needed and much appreciated. I swear to God I love this city but I wonder if this city loves me. In uniform I get nasty hateful looks and out of uniform some consider me a threat. I’ve experienced so much in my short life and these last 3 days have tested me to the core. When people you know begin to question your integrity you realize they don’t really know you at all. Look at my actions they speak LOUD and CLEAR. Finally I personally want to send prayers out to everyone directly affected by this tragedy. These are trying times. Please don’t let hate infect your heart. This city MUST and WILL get better. I’m working in these streets, so any protesters, officers, friends, family, or whoever, if you see me and need a hug or want to say a prayer. I got you.” 

Officer Montrell Jackson Baton Rouge Police. 2016. 

Jackson, 32, and two other officers were killed by a young African-American man upset about unarmed blacks being killed by law enforcement.

The Black Matters Movement must remain nonviolent, and also speak out stronger against black on black crime. Anti-police brutality need not be anti-law enforcement even in systemic racism. I cannot say treat me fairly while I am unfair and disrespectful to you. Nothing will matter if we don’t except our common humanity and mortality.

No president or politician can save us from all domestic injustice or war; however, the president in our system of government has a unique moral responsibility to set a tone that honors our most sacred values: Freedom of speech, freedom of religion and equality.

- Rivers Cleveland

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