Jul 24, 2016, 7:05:17 PM Opinion

Imagine being the mother of  Chris Stevens, the slain United States Ambassador to Libya.  As the world knows, Ambassador Chris Stevens, along with Sean Smith, the State Department computer expert and two CIA contractors Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty were killed during an attack on the United States compound in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012.  

Chris Stevens and Sean Smith died of asphyxiation when the diplomatic building was set aflame. Stevens and Smith were locked inside the building's safe haven, a locked facility within the building.  Once imagined, the thoughts of her son's brutal death must be horrific and impossible to erase.  Maybe she imagines these images of her son's last hours along with images of his early life and promising career in the State Department and finds some days hard to live through.

Now think of this mother's grief being exploited for political gain. Of hearing a crowd of nearly 5,000 Republicans during their convention in Cleveland last week, screaming with vitriol and hate whenever the name of Hillary Clinton is mentioned.  Sometimes the wound of her son's death is opened once again and there may be more days that are harder live through without an overwhelming sadness.

When questioned about these cries of hate and venom towards Clinton and the State Department's actions that night of September 11, 2012 in Benghazi, on June 21 Trump cooly tweeted "If you want to know about Hillary Clinton's honesty & judgment, ask the family of Ambassador Stevens."

Obviously, Trump had never asked the Stevens' family about the propreity of using Chris Stevens' name.  Yesterday, July 23, the mother of Chris Stevens' wrote a compelling and simple request to the Republican Party and to their nominee Donald J. Trump that was published in the editorial section of the New York Times. 

Stevens's mother, Mary F. Commanday of Oakland, California stated in her letter, "As Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens's mother, I am writing to object to any mention of his name and death in Benghazi, Libya, by Donald Trump's campaign and the Republican Party. I know for certain that Chris would not have wanted his name or memory used in that connection.  I hope that there will be an immediate and permanent stop to this opportunistic and cynical use by the campaign."

These sentiments are also shared by the sister of Chris Stevens, Anne Stevens. In an interview with New Yorker magazine last month,  Anne Stevens said, " I do not blame Hillary Clinton or [Former Secretary of Defense] Leon Pancetta.  They were balancing security efforts at embassies and missions around the world.  And their staffs were doing their best to provide what they could with the resources they had."

Anne Stevens also questioned the politicization of the Benghazi attacks and how they are utilized during this presidential campaign.

​"With the many issues in the current election, to use that incident - and to use Chris's death as a political point - is not appropriate," stated Anne Stevens. 

I am keeping a ridiculous hope that some of the Republican main players will respect this simple request.  As for Donald J. Trump, given his reflexive practice of doubling down, of not questioning or apologizing for anything he may have said or the soundness of any of his actions, I hold no hope that he will relent using  Chris Stevens' death for his own crass and opportunistic purposes. 

From the statements of the Republican nominee, the American public has learned that whatever bodes well for Trump, that is the unquestioned and final answer. Dodging military service and refusing to manufacture his products in the United States, two actions deemed unpatriotic by the masses of voters in this country, Trump easily ignores.  

Will Trump ignore the simple request of the mother and sister of Chris Stevens? Anyone with some shred of compassion and understanding would see beyond their own needs and would lay aside the exploitation of these deaths.  

​However,  the request of the Stevens family does not fit the Trump narrative, so it remains to be seen if Trump will take away some arrogance and some peace and understanding.




Published by Nancy Snyder

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