The incendiary and uncivil politics that has gripped the nation has been a long focus on this blog. I am honestly worried about how the insulting and personal attacks from both sides will change political dialogue in this country for a generation. These include some past comments made by President Trump as well as his political opponents. As the father of four children, I emphasize the need to maintain civility, but that lesson is undermined every time the kids watch the news. The latest such incident involves Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) who made troubling statements about White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, including calling the highly decorated veteran a “disgrace to the uniform.” The reason was that Kelly somehow did not prevent President Donald Trump from rescinding DACA. This age of rage appears to have given people license to vent their most insulting and unfair criticisms at one another. We can no longer have a simple disagreement over issues like immigration. People have to be labeled “terrorists” or white supremacists if they think DACA should be decided by Congress or oppose amnesty programs. Calling this man (who lost a son in the military service) a “disgrace to his uniform” is a sad moment for our country.
Gutierrez said, “General Kelly is a hypocrite who is a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear. He has no honor and should be drummed out of the White House along with the white supremacists…”
Kelly had one of the longest and most distinguished military careers in the country. After serving as a platoon commander of a rifle company, he served abroad a variety of ships on foreign duties around the world. In Iraq in 2003, he became the first Marine colonel to be promoted in a combat area since 1951 (when Chesty Puller was promoted). In 2003, Kelly pushed his Task Force from Baghdad into Samarra and Tikrit.
On that uniform that Rep. Gutierrez says he has disgraced are the following medals from Wikipedia:
Kelly also made the ultimate sacrifice of any parent for his country. In 2010, his 29-year-old son, First Lieutenant Robert Kelly, was killed in action after stepping on he stepped on a landmine while leading a patrol in Sangin, Afghanistan. It was his third combat tour. I doubt that this criticism has a big impact on Gen. Kelly but it bothers me a great deal.
Gen. Kelly gave this speech just four days after his son gave his life for his country: