There’s no getting around it. The people who demagogued and egregiously misrepresented Hayes caused far more upset to military families than his actual remarks, especially in context, ever could.
Yet no one is outraged by their behavior, or calling on them to apologize.
Why is that?
Their larger transgression is contributing to a political culture where most participants shy away from certain subjects because they cannot be forthrightly addressed without ginned up bursts of pointless outrage, much of it feigned. You can have a political culture where controversial subjects are discussed with maturity, or you can have one where nothing arguably offensive is ever said without paroxysms of upset. But you can’t have both. Right or wrong, if the mere suggestion that only some American troops are “heroes” — while the rest are “merely” noble and courageous people making a profound sacrifice — has you demanding apologies, it’s time to recalibrate what outrages you.