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January 19, 2017
Plain English Version
 Khizr and Ghazala Khan, parents of Captain Humayun Khan, who died defending his troops. They are speaking at the Democratic Convention.

Khizr and Ghazala Khan, parents of Captain Humayun Khan, who died defending his troops. They are speaking at the Democratic Convention.

ESSAY

Donald Trump is about to become president. Do not expect him to change his behavior. It works for him and the mobs that cheer him on.

Above all, he needs the adoration of the crowd. He gets it by using words to berate the people he says are enemies.

One way he does it is to use non sequiturs. A non sequitur is a word or a phrase that has no meaning.

For example, Trump attacked the Gold Star family who spoke at the Democratic Convention. The husband charged Trump with dishonoring American service men and women. His point was that Trump did not serve in the military.

Gold Star means they lost a child in combat. America honors these families.

Here is what Trump said.

“Look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me. But a plenty of people have written that. She was extremely quiet, and it looked like she had nothing to say. A lot of people have said that.”

That was a long non sequitur. It had nothing to do with what the husband said.

There is nothing wrong or illegal about using a non sequitur. It is a style of argument. Sometimes they are funny. But Trump does something more. He makes it personal. Personal in a way that demeans the person about whom he is speaking.

That is where Trump plays dirty. His followers see him as a man who is not afraid to attack idols. The meaner he gets, the better they like it.

Much of the media say he uses words as an attack on decency. Decency is what they are there to protect. Can they find a way to protect the decency of America? Can they find a way to report on this president and make Americans proud to be Amerian?

We are going to find out if we can find a way to save American self-respect.

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