When divisive politicking goes haywire, the inevitable outcome is a fetid stew of half-baked pipe-dream solutions and fever-dream-level bizarre defenses of the indefensible. In pursuit of the spotlight, the likes of Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and their ilk have reached new lows in their willingness to court the extremist voter and grab headlines at any cost.
After freshman Minnesota U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar dug her own political grave during a speech at a Muslim rights group’s event wherein she summarized the September 11, 2001 terror attacks as “some people did something,” one would think that her party colleagues would distance themselves from her.
Mind you, Omar’s career in politics is still vulnerable from a number of anti-Semitic controversies, such as the time she tweeted that “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”
To this, freshman Congresswoman Katie Hill responded, “We really want to stay focused on our agenda. There’s always going to be distractions… It’s something where you can’t control people’s speech. Each person has their own priorities and their own opinions.” Personally, I’ve never thought of anti-Israel sentiment as a “distraction,” but then, I’m not a career politician with loose-cannon colleagues to defend.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar. Courtesy: axios.com
The blue ribbon for creativity, however, goes to Illinois Representative Jan Schakowsky for her rather acrobatic defense of Ilhan Omar’s anti-Israel remarks: “I want to tell you, Ilhan Omar is a refugee from Somalia. She comes from a different culture. She has things to learn.” Aren’t you glad that Representative Schakowsky has volunteered to chair the anti-racist orientation program for freshman congresspersons?
And in this capacity, Schakowsky will have plenty of backing from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who played defense better than an all-American linebacker with “She didn’t have a full appreciation of how they landed on other people where these words have a history and a cultural impact that might have been unknown to her.”
Bizarre spin doctoring aside, Omar’s “some people did something” remark has drawn ire from a number of prominent public figures, including GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who tweeted, “Ilhan Omar isn’t just anti-Semitic – she’s anti-American. Nearly 3,000 Americans lost their lives to Islamic terrorists on 9/11, yet Omar diminishes it as: ‘Some people did something.’ Democrat leaders need to condemn her brazen display of disrespect.”
Texas Representative Dan Crenshaw also slammed Omar for her description of the terror attacks, describing it as “unbelievable”:
Courtesy: @DanCrenshawTX, Twitter
Even the New York Post took issue with Omar’s cavalier dismissal of the terrorist attack’s impact: their April 11 issue featured a graphic of the bombing of the Twin Towers coupled with the caption: “Here’s your something: 2,977 people dead by terrorism.”
And thankfully, not everyone in the Muslim community supports Omar’s verbal transgression, as Imam Mohamad Tawhidi countered her offensive speech with “now we have Ilhan Omar that refers to the biggest terrorist attack in modern time as ‘Some People Did Something’… They do this on purpose to laugh at your wounds.”
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With Ilhan Omar roundly and justly lambasted for her “some people did something” remark, it would have been a simple matter for her party colleagues to shun Omar, or at least condemn this particular verbal atrocity. As it turns out, however, their knee-jerk reaction has been to come to Omar’s defense.
Take Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib, for example, who has responded to the criticism of Omar’s “some people did something” remark by stating that Omar “speaks truth to power” and that “My sister, Ilhan Omar, what she was talking about was uplifting people by supporting their civil liberties and their civil rights.”
Exactly how Omar saying that “some people did something” on September 11 equates to “uplifting people by supporting their civil liberties and their civil rights” has yet to be fully clarified, but that’s not atypical: obfuscation is a tool of the trade among those who would defend the reprehensible.
Courtesy: New York Post
Tlaib continued with her jaw-dropping line of reasoning with this gem: “They do this all the time to us, especially women of color. They do that. They take our words out of context because they are afraid because we speak truth… Taking it out of context, this is just a pure racist act by many of those, hateful acts by those, because she does speak the truth.”
So evidently, those who take issue with Ilhan Omar’s “some people did something” remark are both sexist and racist. I’ve listened to the entirety of Omar’s speech and have yet to discern exactly how the surrounding context of “some people did something” justifies this utterly offensive phrase, but I’ll leave that analysis to Tlaib and her colleagues, who surely must be much smarter than I.
I’d also be interesting in seeing the evidence to back up Tlaib’s claim regarding Ilhan Omar that “more and more people believe in what she’s doing than people against it.” I’m fairly confident that there are more Americans condemning or at least disapproving of Omar’s ideologies and agenda than supporting them, but that’s something for the pollsters to figure out.
Much like Tlaib, New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez scrambled to defend Ilhan Omar, though her preferred communication avenue was Twitter. Ocasio-Cortez condemned the New York Post’s cover as “horrifying” and “hateful,” and attacked Representative Dan Crenshaw for his “audacity to drum resentment towards Ilhan w/completely out-of-context quotes.”
Again with the “out-of-context” defense: the last resort when claims of sexism and racism fail the tests of logic and common sense. As for “horrifying,” and “audacity,” I would associate those descriptors more closely with Omar’s remark than with Crenshaw’s outrage, but I’ll let you decide where you stand on that one.
Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Courtesy: foxnews.com
Shocking as this is, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by any of it. To provide you with a clearer sense of the quarters from which Ilhan Omar’s most fervent defense is forthcoming, consider that Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan – not exactly known as a beacon of prudence or a uniter of people himself – has been effusive with praise for Ms. Omar.
“They are trying to make her apologize. Sweetheart, don’t do that. Pardon me for calling you sweetheart, but you do have a sweet heart. You sure are using it to shake the government up, but you have nothing to apologize for,” quoth Mr. Farrakhan – is it just me, or might there be a long-distance romance brewing here?
I daren’t speculate on that one, but I don’t mind predicting that the level of divisive rhetoric will only get worse before it gets better. Case in point: Omar – who, we must bear in mind, serves as a United States representative – has proclaimed that “our nation was founded by genocide and we maintain global power through neocolonialism.”
Between that delightful statement and her cryptic self-description as an “Intersectional Feminist,” there’s a lot to unpack if we’re to fathom the depths of Ilhan Omar’s psyche. But it’s okay if we don’t feel up to the task: by all accounts, Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, and other of her cohorts are more than happy to bask in the strange, superficial glow of Omar’s 15 minutes of fame.
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