It was inevitable in a political climate characterized by active insanity and red-eyed, screaming, violent hatred. It is particularly ironic that it was a card-carrying Progressive that did it. After all, progressives are all about feelings. They pride themselves on being inclusive, tolerant and compassionate, and being the champions of the people. Apparently, “the people” does not include the widows of genuine American heroes like Ryan Owen, the Navy SEAL recently killed in a raid on a terrorist facility in Yemen. This is how I characterized it in an article on President Trump’s speech before a joint session of Congress on February 28, 2017:
The most extraordinary moment of the speech was Mr. Trump’s honoring of Navy SEAL Ryan Owen, recently killed on a raid in Yemen. Democrats and the media have claimed that raid was a failure, but Mr. Trump explained that General Mattis said the raid yielded considerable actionable intelligence what would be well used in the future. In the gallery, seated next to Ivanka Trump, was Carryn Owen, the wife of Ryan Owen. The cameras could not pull away from her, though I’m sure those of the legacy media would have wanted to. She cried and raised her face to the heavens, plainly speaking to her husband, and perhaps, God. She received a nearly three minute standing ovation, a record, which Mr. Trump humorously, and appropriately, noted. Still, many Democrats sat, scowling and silent, refusing to honor a great warrior, and dishonoring Carryn Owen, whose honest emotion has now entered indelibly into history, just as Mr. Trump said Ryan’s sacrifice was “etched into eternity,” a brilliant and pitch perfect line. I thought I could not possibly hold Democrats in greater contempt. In this, they lived down to my expectations and reached new lows.
I expected Progressives to attack Mr. Trump, and as vile as it would be, I knew they’d attack Caryyn Owen. Again, they lived down to my expectations, as Fox reports:
A former Hillary Clinton volunteer drew swift condemnation — and lost his job — after mocking the widow of a fallen Navy SEAL who was honored by the president during his congressional address Tuesday night.
Dan Grilo, who said in his Twitter profile that he was a former volunteer for both Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, made the remarks after Trump paid tribute to Carryn Owens.[skip]
“Our veterans have delivered for this nation—and now we must deliver for them,’ Trump said, eliciting an extended standing ovation from the entire chamber for a visibly emotional Owens.
‘Ryan died as he lived: a warrior, and a hero – battling against terrorism and securing our nation,’ Trump said.
Mr. Grilo, self-appointed arbiter of morality and virtue, tweeted:
Grilo followed up, apologizing for what we called a ‘poorly worded tweet.’
Grilo’s account soon went private, and was then deleted entirely. But the tweets were saved and archived by other Twitter users.
The backlash was–thankfully–immediate and fierce. Grilo’s problem wasn’t a poor use of the language. His problem was he said what millions of Progressives wished they had said, and certainly what they were thinking. I’ve no doubt Progressives watching Mr. Trump’s speech and Carryn Owen’s heart-rending and honest sorrow and devotion to her husband must have been, to at least a tiny degree, touched. But their hatred for Donald Trump and the tens of millions of Americans that voted for him is so debilitating, so deranged, they couldn’t long allow themselves to feel the empathy all thinking, feeling Americans cannot help but feel for the grief of the young widow of an American warrior who gave the last, full measure of devotion to liberty, that people like them and Grilo could exercise their First Amendment rights and demonstrate to the world the true nature of progressivism and the shallow, dark recesses of their shriveled souls.
I’d like to think Grilo took down the tweet because he felt genuine remorse, because he felt shame at the malicious harm he did. Unfortunately, too many progressives are beyond shame. They care nothing for the harm they do anyone that does not slavishly follow their ideology.
Donald Trump Jr., by all accounts, a good and decent man, replied:
The incident does raise a pertinent question: when do such expressions of public sentiment cross the line into cheap manipulation? Certainly not in the honoring, by the President, the Commander In Chief of our armed forces, before the Congress and tens of millions of the American people, of one of our fallen elite warriors. We can never know the pride and anguish of Carryn Owen, but we can show her, by our support and prayers, that we would bear her pain if we could. Our tears, mixed with hers, can pay but poor tribute to Ryan, but a tribute that may provide some comfort to her, and to her children. We owe her, and the survivors of every man and woman lost in service to our nation that and so much more. Would that we could honor each and every one in as sincere and public a manner as Ryan Owen was honored. Would that we could see the human cost as we saw it in the face of Carryn Owen that night.
Manipulation? Never. It was scant recognition of the debt we can never adequately repay, but God help us, we must try, and Donald Trump seems determined to lead the way.
What then is political manipulation? We saw it repeatedly for the last eight years whenever Barack Obama appeared before a military audience. Virtually always, men and women in uniform were forced to stand behind him, human props. Virtually always, they were unsmiling, straining to be as neutral in demeanor and as professional and possible, for they possessed the discipline and honor he did not. We saw it too virtually whenever Mr. Obama appeared in pubic and civilian human props were arrayed behind him, sometimes, children. Sometimes carefully handpicked, drooling acolytes grinned like maniacs and nodded furiously to every word from his lips. Sometimes, grim faced citizens manipulated into serving as human mannequins to the greater glory of Barack Obama were there, and occasionally, a few nodded off.
Americans know, and abhor, cynical political manipulation when we see it. Progressives revel in it, as they did in the Democrat reply to Mr. Trump’s speech:
The official Democrat response to Mr. Trump’s speech was given by former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, who was sitting in a diner in Kentucky with several prop Kentuckians in the background. Casually dressed, he struck a folksy tone throughout and claimed to be all about cooperation, Democrats and Republicans working together. His entire message was Trump is betraying the folks, and Democrats will save Obamacare. Democrats are the friend of the folks, and are trying to bring goodness and truth back to Washington DC. His comments were mercifully brief.
As for Mr. Grilo, his comments cost him his job. With that, I do not agree. One’s foolish mistakes, not involved with work, should not result in firing. Perhaps however, Mr. Grilo allowed his political views to interfere with his work. Perhaps this was not the first instance of that kind of problem at his workplace. Of course, no one has a right to employment in the private sector.
One can only hope Mr. Grilo will find himself a social pariah for a long, long time, though I’m sure he’ll be a hero in progressive circles. One would also hope he might find time to consider how his progressive ideology, his progressive faith, caused him to lose his humanity. It surely won’t be regained by following the same hateful, inhuman path.