All My Children alum J.R. Martinez (ex-Brot Monroe), a former U.S. Army soldier who sustained burns on over 30% of his body while serving as an Army infantryman in Iraq in 2003, is pleading with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to "get a primer on the word sacrifice, as well as a lesson in human decency."
In the wake of the controversy surrounding Mr. Trump after he hurled extremely insensitive comments toward a family whose son -- Army Captain Humayun Khan -- was killed on duty, Martinez penned an open letter to Mr. Trump in which he implores the candidate to stop disrespecting military veterans and fallen soldiers and to start acting more like a potential commander in chief.
"I'm a firm believer that politics should be kept out of our military and that our military should be kept out of politics. However, over the last week, a line was crossed not just between politics and our military but between personal ideology and human decency," writes the actor, who is also a motivational speaker and works with fellow burn victims.
He goes on to tell the story of his war experience and being trapped inside a burning vehicle -- an event that almost cost him his life and left his mother just a few heartbeats away from receiving a Gold Star like the Khan family. "So far you seem to have denigrated a prisoner of war, disparaged a four-star general who devoted his life to service, and disrespected the faith and the grief of a Gold Star family. Any one of these actions alone would otherwise disqualify a person auditioning for the role of our commander in chief," he writes to Trump. "I cannot understand why you have continually attempted to dishonor the memory of Army Captain Humayun Khan. You have repeatedly attempted to link him and his family to radical Islamic terrorism by even bringing their names up in the same sentence. You say that you support our military, but your actions tell a different story. You assert that you have made sacrifices on par with the Khan family. I must ask you; do you truly understand the fundamental difference between investments and sacrifice?"
He continues: "Your reaction to his family's emotional statement has shown me two things: First, you have a difficult time picking your battles. In the military, this is an important lesson that soldiers learn. You attended a military academy in your childhood and you are a businessman, so I know you understand this strategy. If your response to this family had simply been to acknowledge their ultimate sacrifice and to say that as Americans, they are constitutionally entitled to their opinions, that would have been enough. You chose a different tactic. You chose to stay in the news cycle with your increasingly outrageous statements of condemnation of a family who, by all accounts, should absolutely be off limits. How can we trust our military in the hands of a commander in chief who we can't even trust to comfort the parents of a fallen soldier?"
"Second," he goes on, "Your reaction also tells me that since you have difficulty dealing with the opinions of a private citizen of this country, you will almost certainly have a harder time in the world of global politics. My 4-year-old daughter has a better sense of human empathy around this subject. When I take her to the park and other children stare at the scars that cover my face and arms, she takes my hand and encourages me to talk to those young children and explain why I look the way I look."
Martinez then opens up about his disappointment over the fact that so many Americans seem unmoved by Mr. Trump's turgidity. "It also worries me that my fellow citizens have grown accustomed to such rhetoric. That the bigotry and bombast may have even become normalized. Some say that they are no longer shocked by what is said on the national stage of your presidential campaign," he explains. "My hope is that your actions and words do not continue to erode our civil discourse. I pray that good people in this country continue to be shocked by your rhetoric because that means they agree that your words and actions have no place in society, much less in the Oval Office... I respectfully suggest you get a primer on the word sacrifice, as well as a lesson in human decency."
For Martinez's full letter to Donald Trump, read his Mic.com article here.
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