It’s been about 2 weeks since Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) said the following:
CAIR was founded after 9/11, because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.
Since those words were uttered, Rep. Omar has gotten death threats (according to her) and more than a little push-back from people from all sides of the political spectrum. Rep. Omar’s defenders say her comments were taken out of context and actually meant something completely different. Her detractors say her comments downplayed the events of 9/11 and the feelings over those lost and left to carry on after the attacks.
I’ve waited a while to write about this because I wanted to dig a bit deeper and make sure I wasn’t doing what both sides of this controversy were doing: taking a side and ignoring any facts that contradict that side. After reading Rep. Omar’s comments in context, I have a few things to say.
Death threats are not cool, period. I don’t care if you’re so conservative you make Ronald Reagan look like a hippie or if you’re further left than an outfielder playing the third base line, threatening to harm or kill anyone is not the way to make your point, win friends, and influence people. And that goes double for anyone who acts on those threats. There’s a reason we’re on top of the food chain, and it’s not because we look snazzy in dress clothes. It’s because we’re supposed to be able to think. Rep. Omar doesn’t deserve death threats from any person, period. Instead, vote her out of office.
What Rep. Omar said wasn’t hate speech. I’m sorry, my Right-leaning brethren and sisthren (I may have made that last word up, but hey.). What she said wasn’t hate speech; it was stupid speech. Any time there’s miscommunication, the message and/or the messenger may be to blame. Given the sensitive nature of 9/11, it is vital to show careful consideration to the words chosen as to avoid unintentional misinterpretation. Rep. Omar and/or her speechwriter failed miserably here. Even if her intent wasn’t to downplay the events or the perpetrators of 9/11, her wording made it seem like she did. Thus, the backlash. Which brings us to…
Context matters, and not just in the moment. Rep. Omar’s defenders say her words were taken out of context, which is all too common an excuse for when Leftists make incredibly stupid comments that can be interpreted in a bad light. In context, it’s unclear who Rep. Omar was referring to by the “some people did something” line, and people adding context only muddies the water. Could it be she was referring to people attacking Muslims and non-Muslims alike in the aftermath of 9/11? Sure. Could she be playing defense for her religion? Absolutely. Could she be hinting at an oft-repeated, but utterly discredited myth that Israel was behind 9/11? Possibly. In the larger context of previous comments she’s made, one could make the argument Rep. Omar had a hidden motive like the ones I mentioned and others I didn’t. But to say Rep. Omar’s comments could only be taken in one context (that, surprise surprise, makes her seem either like a martyr or a monster) is ignoring the totality of her statements, ideas, and attitudes. And speaking of context…
Donald Trump and the New York Post didn’t take Rep. Omar out of context. Regardless of what the defenders of Rep. Omar say, her words were not taken out of context. They may not have been a full quotation, but that doesn’t negate the fact there is a legitimate interpretation of her words that she may not have intended, but is there. Claiming it was is a little intellectually dishonest and more than a little hypocritical, given Rep. Omar said President Trump was “not human” not that long ago. Live by the “otherizing” of an opponent, politically die by the “otherizing” of an opponent. And furthermore…
Donald Trump and the New York Post didn’t incite violence. If claiming Rep. Omar’s comments were taken out of context was intellectually dishonest (which it was), claiming President Trump and the New York Post incited violence is the Big Kahuna of intellectual dishonesty in 2019. The worst you can say is the Post cover was provocative to the point of exploitation, but nowhere in Trump’s tweets or in the Post’s reporting of the controversy is there a call for violent action. And don’t give me that “it was subtle” crap because it’s a double standard. If we have to be generous in giving Rep. Omar the benefit of the doubt with her 9/11 comment, the same standard should apply to Trump and the Post. But, it doesn’t because it ruins the narrative that Rep. Omar is being picked on by the mean ole Trumpmonster!
Silence isn’t golden, and neither is race and gender baiting. Since the controversy blew up (if you’ll pardon the bad turn of a phrase), Rep. Omar hasn’t retracted her statements or offered additional clarification. I’m sure she’ll get around to it once she’s done blaming the backlash on her gender and race. Yeah, not a smart move. Although I’m sure there is a lot of pushback due to her race and gender (and even her religion), there is a lot of it that has nothing to do with any of that, but rather the content of her words combined with the lack of a plausible explanation. When even Leftists are telling you what you said was troubling, Rep. Omar, you might need to take a step back and look at it from their perspective. The more she relies on the race and gender card instead of the “I screwed up and I’m sorry” card, the harder it will be for her to be forgiven.
Not all Muslims are like Rep. Omar. With all of the controversy, you may not have heard some of Rep. Omar’s critics…are fellow Muslims. And, no, it’s not because they think she didn’t go far enough. They actually don’t think she’s a good representative of their faith, and I tend to agree. Muslims attacked us on 9/11, but they’re not the representation of all Muslims, nor should they be. When they sympathize with the 9/11 attackers and those who share their interpretation of the Quran, then they cross that line, but not before. I don’t want Tom Arnold to be representative of all Iowans because we also have Brandon Routh and Jason Momoa, and those two were Superman and Aquaman. Instead, treat every Muslim like we would like to be treated, and nobody gets hurt.
I feel really sorry for Nancy Pelosi. Rep. Omar and her cohorts, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and the Socialist Socialite (D-UH), have given Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi a lot of headaches since becoming members of the House of Representatives in January. From making absurd and hateful statements to the rollout of the Edsel of the green movement called the Green New Deal to taking up all the oxygen that other freshmen Democrats could be using to advance ideas, Pelosi has her hands full. Part of me says, “You got what you wished for” and leave it at that, but a part of me feels sorry for her because I don’t think she could have ever imagined three freshmen Democrats making such a mess out of what should be an easy time of making a cogent argument in favor of their policies. Instead, she’s having to put out fires like Squad 51 of “Emergency!” while spinning more then Enrico Fermi on the Silly Silo out at Adventureland and trying to keep the various factions within the House Democrats from creating a rift so vicious it makes the Hatfields and McCoys look like an Amish pillow fight. If the Democrats lose the White House and one or both branches of Congress in 2020, a good chunk of the blame will lie at the feet of Pelosi not being able to draw attention away from the 3 Stoogettes long enough to formulate actual policy.
That’s all I have to say for now, but if I don’t stop now, I’ll get off on tangents that nobody wants me to visit.