Attorney Khizr Khan became a household name during the 2016 campaign when he gave a stirring speech at the Democratic National Convention about his son, Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in 2004 while fighting in the Iraq War. Asked how Americans can coexist in relative peace and prosperity, despite their many differences, he urged people to reach out to those “who do not count now.”
As he put it:
As a lawyer I value the rule of law because it provides the framework necessary for the guarantees of equal protection and due process enshrined in the Constitution. We, the people, guarantee our citizens that no matter the color, creed, class or condition, justice favors all equally. As an immigrant, I am witness to American progress where what constitutes 'We the People' continues to grow, embracing those who would seek the favors of justice in the search for a better life. Though simple in concept, who counts and how should they be treated, lie at the heart of the American struggle.
If the past be our guide, an inclusive vision that seeks to expand its count sits on the right side of history. This is achieved through rehabilitating our institutions, challenging our community constructs and vacating our individual prejudices. Engagement with those 'who do not count now' is how we do this so that they may count. In fact, it is through another, often neglected, freedom guaranteed in the First Amendment, the freedom of association, that we do this so that we may form a more perfect Union, establish Justice and insure tranquility. So I implore you to go seek your neighbor wherever they may be and in doing so know full well that you will have materially progressed the American experiment.
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