SEVERE WX : Frost Advisory View Alerts

Charlie Dent: Attacking a patriot is shameful

Article Image

President Trump and some of his defenders resort to questioning the patriotism of Purple Heart recipient and White House Ukraine expert, Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who's set to testify in the impeachment inquiry.

Posted: Oct 30, 2019 12:40 AM
Updated: Oct 30, 2019 12:40 AM

What do Dwight Eisenhower, Donald Trump and Charles Wieder Dent have in common?

Answer: We all have ancestors who trace their ethnic roots to an area of Europe we now call Germany.

In the case of Donald Trump and me, we both can trace our ancestors specifically to Rheinland-Pfalz, mine arriving in the 18th century, nearly 50 years before the American Revolution, and in the Trump family's case, arriving in the 19th century. The Eisenhower family claimed early German- American roots as well.

My maternal grandmother, Mildred Rosenberger Wieder, proudly owned her Germanic-Mennonite heritage. Grandma Wieder detested the term "Pennsylvania Dutch," as she thought it was slang or a slur; she often said we were German, not Dutch. Her husband, Lloyd Wieder, whose surname I claim as my middle name, proudly served our country during World War I in the US Navy as a petty officer.

What is not well known is that many German Americans were persecuted and had their loyalties questioned during World War I. In fact, in my hometown of Allentown, Pennsylvania, most people in the city and broader county were of Germanic heritage, and most people spoke a Germanic dialect as their first language before and even shortly after World War I.

World War I forced the community to have difficult conversations in their Lutheran and German Reformed congregations about embracing English rather than German as the language for their liturgies and religious services. Churches split over the English-German divide at the time. New churches were built a few blocks from the old ones so services could be conducted in English.

These people all considered themselves American patriots; many were sons and daughters of the American Revolution. Having one's loyalty questioned is even more hurtful than it is offensive. Grandpa Wieder did nothing heroic during World War I, but he did his duty.

The pain he and other German Americans must have felt was probably less than the pain Japanese Americans felt during World War II as so many, like the late Sen. Daniel Inouye and others, served heroically while their families were placed, shamefully, in internment camps, staining the pages of history in what is a largely exceptional American experiment.

Jewish Americans know all too well the hurt and agony of dual loyalty accusations. Who can forget the justifiably angry reaction of Congress to Congresswoman Ilhar Omar's disparaging comments about support for Israel several months ago? While the outrage about Omar's remarks was bipartisan, Republican congressmen were particularly offended and demanded that Omar's comments be condemned by the House of Representatives.

Which brings us to US Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an active duty decorated soldier who received a Purple Heart after being wounded in an IED blast in Iraq. Pundits questioned Vindman's credibility and cited his Ukrainian heritage.

Why attack a patriot who is testifying before Congress out of a sense of duty? Can you imagine any American questioning the loyalty of Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces Europe and General of the Army, Dwight D. Eisenhower, during World War II due to his Germanic surname and ethnic heritage?

What is happening in America when, for the sake of tribalism, people who should know better hurl these offensive, inflammatory verbal assaults -- all to stand in the good graces of President Trump, whose self-destructive and reckless conduct in Ukraine and Syria is simply indefensible, counter to American national security interests and in complete alignment with Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin's policy goals? Simply shameful.

A beautiful thing about America's immigrant culture is that it produces people like Alexander Vindman. He brings a unique understanding to both America and the land of his birth, Ukraine, by understanding both countries' culture, languages, traditions and heritage. In other words, he's an American asset and provides added value, dimension and expertise to his service and area of responsibility. There are countless others serving our country in similar ways with similar stories. God Bless America!

It's long past time for the Republican Party to have a serious intervention and family discussion about this moment. We must plan for the future and figure out how we'll reconstruct the party of Lincoln amid this mindless wreckage. I became a momentary Twitter sensation last week for stating that "my nose is not a heat seeking missile for the President's backside." That remark got a lot of laughs. But I'm not laughing today.

Now is the time that we all become heat-seeking missiles for the truth -- and fairness.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 589527

Reported Deaths: 7333
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1221311726
Ramsey51028871
Dakota45667448
Anoka41421437
Washington26724281
Stearns22139221
St. Louis17682302
Scott17201124
Wright15943139
Olmsted1319098
Sherburne1160286
Carver1044945
Clay812792
Rice8014106
Blue Earth746141
Crow Wing660988
Kandiyohi652083
Chisago592551
Otter Tail572978
Benton565997
Goodhue475772
Douglas464674
Mower464032
Winona452950
Itasca432254
McLeod421658
Isanti417364
Morrison417360
Nobles407248
Beltrami392458
Steele384915
Polk382468
Becker378850
Lyon359850
Carlton344153
Freeborn341129
Pine326722
Nicollet323843
Brown304640
Mille Lacs302452
Le Sueur289222
Todd280632
Cass269628
Meeker254340
Waseca236522
Martin229831
Roseau207919
Wabasha20483
Hubbard187141
Dodge18373
Renville178943
Redwood172936
Houston171515
Cottonwood164321
Fillmore155510
Wadena155122
Pennington153619
Chippewa151838
Faribault151319
Kanabec143424
Sibley142510
Aitkin134236
Watonwan13219
Rock128019
Jackson121711
Pipestone115126
Yellow Medicine113820
Pope10956
Murray10609
Swift104918
Stevens90211
Marshall88017
Clearwater86416
Koochiching81715
Lake80819
Wilkin80712
Lac qui Parle75022
Big Stone5984
Lincoln5773
Grant5678
Mahnomen5459
Norman5399
Unassigned48793
Kittson48522
Red Lake3957
Traverse3685
Lake of the Woods3223
Cook1610

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 366197

Reported Deaths: 5929
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57488623
Linn20814334
Scott19960240
Black Hawk15785308
Woodbury15121228
Johnson1445783
Dubuque13355209
Dallas1116198
Pottawattamie11091168
Story1059248
Warren575888
Clinton554393
Cerro Gordo538089
Sioux513874
Webster512193
Marshall482175
Muscatine477499
Des Moines454366
Wapello4297122
Buena Vista424540
Jasper418672
Plymouth400680
Lee375055
Marion361775
Jones298157
Henry291137
Carroll285452
Bremer283960
Crawford265840
Boone263934
Benton256055
Washington253950
Dickinson247843
Mahaska229951
Jackson221242
Clay215325
Kossuth215264
Delaware209240
Tama209271
Winneshiek196934
Page192622
Buchanan190731
Cedar189423
Hardin184943
Fayette184841
Wright184336
Hamilton179449
Harrison179373
Clayton169256
Butler164634
Mills161722
Madison161519
Floyd160342
Cherokee158738
Lyon157741
Poweshiek154733
Allamakee151151
Iowa148324
Hancock147634
Winnebago141731
Calhoun138113
Cass137954
Grundy136233
Emmet134040
Jefferson132435
Shelby130737
Sac130119
Union128133
Appanoose128049
Louisa127849
Mitchell126042
Chickasaw123915
Guthrie121030
Franklin119321
Humboldt118826
Palo Alto112523
Howard104522
Montgomery103338
Clarke99924
Unassigned9770
Keokuk95631
Monroe95129
Ida90334
Adair86432
Pocahontas85322
Davis82824
Monona82830
Osceola78516
Greene77610
Lucas77123
Worth7438
Taylor65712
Fremont6229
Decatur6089
Van Buren55618
Ringgold55524
Wayne53723
Audubon50810
Adams3384
Rochester
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 40°
Mason City
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 36°
Albert Lea
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 39°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 39°
Charles City
Clear
° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: °
Gradual warm-up this week
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events