President Trump addressed a joint session of Congress for the first time last night. While many, if not most, people thought the rhetoric would descend down the rabbit hole of crowd size or fake news, it was actually a well constructed and well-delivered speech which was, for the most part, conservative and measured. The most memorable and indeed, emotional moment was the tribute to fallen US Navy SEAL Ryan Owens and the recognition of his widow, Carryn Owens, in the gallery. Sadly, this moment is also, now, one of debate and contention. To be perfectly blunt and crystal clear: This. Is. Wrong. Not in poor taste, not just inappropriate, not misguided, not misunderstood or any other softening of the fact that it is pure and simply: WRONG.
A life given in honor for our country should never be politicized…EVER.
The debate began immediately when former Clinton Aide Dan Grilo tweeted out the following:
The backlash was immediate and Grilo tried to defend, then apologize for the tweet…but the damage was done and sadly, others followed suit claiming that President Trump was “exploiting” Mrs. Owens to detract from the failure of the mission or to gain political points by showing compassion where there was none.
This is despicable.
Anyone and I mean ANYONE, who has lost someone in the defense of our country deserves our complete and unwavering respect and full attention without ANY attempt to diminish their grief by assigning political motives to the recognition of their sacrifice. The blind hatred of President Trump is an absolutely shameful excuse to discount Carryn Owens and her obvious loss and suffering or to disregard Navy Seal Owens’ ultimate sacrifice for our country.
Mary Katharine Ham, a writer for the Federalist, and a widow of one year with two small children reacted on twitter with a thread which was heartfelt and moving. The link is here and I urge readers to read the entire thread.
This article wraps up with a personal note: I have two sons in law who served under Presidents Bush and Obama in the Military. My husband is retired from the U.S. Air Force. He served under Presidents Reagan, Clinton and Bush as his Commanders in Chief. All have done and are doing their honor bound duty to serve their country regardless of their political beliefs…which are varied. They all have one thing in common. They would all die for this country. The other thing they have in common is that their wives, myself and my two daughters, would be shattered and grief stricken were that to happen.
But we would be proud of them. And we would stand proudly before Congress, the President and the Nation to accept the honor which our husband brought upon us and our families. We would also be horrified and feel a deep betrayal by the country we all love were we to be met with the ignorance and cruelty that has been displayed by some. Check your priorities. If your political leanings are dictating your emotions, your compassion…your very humanity…you may need to step back and recalibrate. When we as a society allow our politics to overrule our core humanness, our God-given capacity to have concern and sympathy one for another, then our ability to live in peace and tranquility ceases to exist.
***UPDATE -Dan Grilo, the former Clinton volunteer whose tweet was cited in this piece has been fired by his employer subsequent to his actions