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A Deplorable Response to the Recognition of a National Hero and His Widow

An insensitive tweet is all it took to show the need to make some areas off limits for partisan politics.

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Alex Evans, Opinions Editor

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Over the past few days, I’ve thought long and hard about the “controversy” surrounding President Trump’s recognition of Carryn Owens, the wife of deceased Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, during his first address to Congress on Wednesday.

Owens was killed during a series of raids in Yemen that were ordered by the White House just eight days into Trump’s presidency.

The president, looking up to where Owens’ wife sat next to the First Lady, said, “Ryan died as he lived, a warrior and a hero, battling against terrorism and securing our nation.”

Carryn Owens, visibly moved by the gesture and the two-minute standing ovation that followed, looked up to the sky and mouthed the words, “I love you.” The president also said that Owens’ memory would forever be “etched in eternity.”

It was one of the more beautiful and politically brilliant moments I’ve ever seen in my life, a moment that would move any person to tears and one that moved many of the president’s staunchest opponents, including CNN’s Van Jones, to say that the president became the president in that very moment.

Unfortunately, any warm feelings I had towards the moment were quickly diluted when I saw the insensitive comments made by one particular person soon after.

Former Hillary Clinton and President Obama volunteer Dan Grilo tweeted in response to a Los Angeles Times reporters’ tweet about Congress applauding Owens, writing, “Sorry, Owens’ wife, you’re not helping yourself or your husband’s memory by standing there and clapping like an idiot. Trump just used you.”

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Really? What does it take for people in this country to remove the partisan blinders from their eyes and show some respect? If you despise the president to the ends of the Earth, so be it, but don’t take your anger out on a war widow by calling her an “idiot” and using vile rhetoric because she clapped for her husband when the president acknowledged him. Letting our hatred for politicians get in the way of human emotion and just overall decency is a gigantic step in the wrong direction for our country.

By the way, I understand the complaints from some Democrats that Trump used Owens as a prop; Republicans accused President Obama of doing the same, and I thought that was inappropriate as well, but it’s time to stop with the childish “they did it so we can do it” games and show some reverence to those who make the ultimate sacrifice, something that Grilo didn’t do.

I’m happy that this awful person was fired from his job. He caused pain and anger to many people with that tweet, and deserves to suffer the consequences for his actions.

No matter what side you’re on, military heroes and their widowed spouses should be off limits from partisan political commentary and instead lauded by both sides for the sacrifices they make to keep us safe. Period.

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William Paterson University's Official Student-Run Newspaper
A Deplorable Response to the Recognition of a National Hero and His Widow