Columns, Opinion

Burke’s Bully Pulpit: Fake outrage in the era of Trump

President Donald Trump has been receiving criticism this past week after making false claims about calling Gold Star families after their loved ones were killed in combat. The outrage over this incident has run rampant through the military community and has started to spill into the eye of the public.

White House chief of staff John Kelly confirmed that during one of the calls to these families, Trump said that the soldier “knew what he signed up for.” An outrageous statement in its own right, it is now very clear that the president does not seem to know how to properly express his thoughts — ever. The basis of his statement is true: there is always the possibility of being killed in combat. However, it is a truly horrible thing to say to someone who has lost a loved one.

That being said, this temporary outrage is ridiculous. This is a classic example of people getting mad at something because it’s popular and easy to do so. Do you really expect the president of the United States to be on the phone with every family member of fallen soldiers for a half an hour? No. No one really does.

If George Bush and Barack Obama had to do this for every family, they would have had about an hour of the day left to do other things.

When you step back and think about it, the public’s fake outrage at every little thing Trump does makes it way harder to criticize him when he makes an actual mistake. This has been all over every major news outlet for the past few days and it makes me angry.

There have been panels upon panels giving their own terrible opinions on why we should care about a phone call. The fact of the matter is that many families have said Trump actually had a long and meaningful conversation with them after their loss. They said that he sounded genuine and they appreciated the phone call, which is nice to hear.

That being said, Trump has been given the ultimate pass. He can say or do whatever he wants, no matter how truthful or untruthful it is. We have the media to blame for it. The same stations and newspapers that he has called “fake news” are the ones we should focus our anger on.

I won’t pretend to know what it is like to have a member of my family killed in a war. However, if I were called upon to serve my country, I would want my family to know that I was doing it for them. I would not fight for a president, so I would not care if my family received a call if I were to be killed in the line of duty. I would be fighting so my children could have the same kind of lives that I lived.

The bottom line is this: things are being repealed and changed left and right behind the curtain of misguided outrage. We are letting the media guide us to what we should care about. The public needs to take a stand against the media’s increasingly irresponsible ways. We need to diversify what we are reading and watching. Let’s start giving light to the issues that actually affect the public as a whole.

I mean no disrespect to the families of those who have fallen. I thank them for their ultimate sacrifice to keep me safe. They are tougher, braver and more patriotic than I could ever imagine being.

There have been some sketchy details that have come out of this situation, which is undoubtedly what we should really be focusing on. Why are we really in Niger? Is it actually to fight terrorists or is there an underlying reason we are actually there? To me, I don’t think ISIS fighters in the middle of Africa are going to harm me any time soon. I understand that the fight against terror is a global one, but at what cost?

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