Target: Illinois U.S. Senator Mark Kirk
Goal: Demand that Mark Kirk apologize for using race to question his opponent’s family’s war record despite the fact that she lost both her legs in combat.
Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran, lost both of her legs piloting a helicopter in combat and is now running against Mark Kirk for a republican senate seat in Illinois. When Duckworth claimed that her family had been serving in the military since the revolution, Kirk had the audacity to respond with, “I had forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.” Duckworth’s father met her mother in Thailand while serving in the Marines in Vietnam.
This comment was not purely poorly chosen; It sought to discount her service and legitimacy as a candidate because her mother is a Thai immigrant. This racially charged jab showed that despite all of her achievements and sacrifices, Duckworth was still not considered equal because of her race.
Duckworth responded to the comment by posting a picture on Twitter of herself in uniform with her father displaying all of his medals, and her mother. This graceful response showed that despite Kirk’s attack, Duckworth is still proud of her family and their history of service.
The Trump campaign has normalized racism for politicians. Many politicians verbally attack groups of people based solely on race, setting dangerous precedents for the future. Sign this petition to let Kirk know that this kind of behavior is unacceptable, and to demand that he issues a public apology to Tammy Duckworth.
Dear Senator Kirk,
The comment that you made during the debate on October 27th about Tammy Duckworth’s family’s military service record was discriminatory and offensive. You should make a public apology to her for implying that, because her mother is from Thailand, her family’s sacrifices for the United States are less meaningful. Having a relative from another country doesn’t make you any less American. We are a country founded by immigrants. Kirk isn’t an American name; It is Scottish.
Duckworth has already lost a lot in service to this nation. She was a combat pilot that lost both legs in helicopter crash. Her father met her mother while serving in Vietnam. She is an American citizen from a proud military family. Thailand is a country that we have had a positive relationship with, and it is a key security ally in Southeast Asia, so why would you attack Duckworth for having ties with Thailand?
You denounced Trump as a candidate for president; a move that showed that you didn’t share the man’s values. However, your comment sounded a lot like something Trump would say. Apologize for this comment to show that you don’t tolerate divisive racial remarks and let America know that you stand for real American values.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: US Congress