Over the last half decade, I’ve found myself sympathizing more with the right.* One of the main reasons for this is that many of my classically liberal principles (freedom of speech, religion, thought, expression, etc.) have been championed by the political right, while the left has become increasingly hostile to these core liberal principles. However, while the right seems to be a better guardian of these principles, I’ve always know that there is one big fat asterisk next to those principles in their ideological platform. Next to that asterisk, you’ll find “except for Muslims!” This is also coupled with a double-standard when it comes to political opponents.
Since Trump’s rise, this hypocrisy hasn’t been more evident than with the recent vitriol directed at Rep. Ilhan Omar.
Except for Muslims
I saw this ugly side of the right plenty of times during the Obama era, but with the rise of Trumpian populism, being moderate on LGBT issues, pro-working class, pro-free speech, protective of religious freedom (asterisk!); I figured right-winged political correctness was on the back burner. It has been. But now they’re pulling that pot back to the front burner.
Omar gave a speech to CAIR in late March, stating that following the 9/11 attacks, all of Islam has been held accountable by society, and it has become socially acceptable to strip Muslims of basic civil liberties. Her exact words that have earned her so much hatred were “some people did something…”** by which she explains that it was some Muslims, and consequently, all Muslims are being held accountable. But that “something” was not the best choice of words, admittedly. But that has been taken out of context to slander Omar and claim that she is trivializing the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks. Memes are circulating showing Omar with her hijab smiling, and people fleeing for their lives from the falling towers in the background. This is absolutely despicable!
You Reap What You Sow
Trump supporters don’t like it when they’re treated this way, and neither do I. Trump’s words have often been taken out of context and twisted around. Trump supporters have also been targeted by politically correct SJW’s who want to ruin peoples’ lives over poorly chosen words taken out of context. Roseanne lost her show because she issued one bad tweet with reference to “Planet of the Apes” about a multi-racial woman who worked for Obama, who is partly African American. At first glance, most people probably wouldn’t know that she is partly African American. But the twitter mobs relentlessly pursued her, and ABC, like the cowards they are, cancelled her highly rated, pro-LGBT, pro-racial equality, sitcom.
A few months ago, the Catholic Covington high school boys were targeted by the SJW twitter mobs. Some of them we wearing MAGA hats, and they had a difficult confrontation with a group of native Americans. At first, they were accused of bullying these native Americans. People were demanding they be expelled from school; they were being compared to 1950s segregationists; memes were circulating with one of the boys’ face calling it “punchable”; and then the truth came out. The boys had actually been harassed for hours by a small group calling themselves the “Hebrew Israelites”, and they were subjected to racial and homophobic slurs. The native Americans came along late in that confrontation to diffuse the situation by playing their drums and chanting. It was an awkward situation for these teens, and some of their behavior deserves a reprimand. But they did nothing to deserve the backlash they got.
Trump supporters hate it when this happens to them, and I’ll continue to defend the right of my dear deplorables to express their grievances in this free country, in the face of Antifa savagery, twitter mobs, doxing, deplatforming, etc. Free speech is not “white privilege”; it is an American right!
Ilhan Omar’s Rights as an American Citizen
I know there are some who simply don’t see Muslims as Americans. I hear comments like, “I don’t wish them any harm; I just want them to go back from where they came.” However, many are natural born American citizens. Others, like Omar, are naturalized American citizens.
Twice now Ilhan Omar’s words have been twisted around and taken out of context by Trump supporters who are rightly angry when this was done to Roseanne, to those Covington High School teens, and to Trump himself. First, Ilhan Omar dared to question the influence that AIPAC has on American foreign policy. Questioning AIPAC has been equated with “anti-Semitism”, because they represent the state of Israel, and if you question a lobbying group that represents the views of about half of Israel’s population, that apparently makes you an anti-Semite. Omar’s hijab likely only adds to the stigma. However, as old time conservative Pat Buchanan rightly stated in Omar’s defense, Omar’s questions of dual loyalty are very consistent with American tradition and past leaders. Questioning the influence of AIPAC does not equate to hating Jewish people any more than would questioning the influence of CAIR equate to Islamophobia.
And now, Omar again is having her words twisted around to suggest that she doesn’t think the 9/11 attacks were a big deal.
As an American citizen, Omar has every right to expect religious freedom, and every right to peacefully voice her grievances. She has every right to question American foreign policy, as well as the influence of any foreign nation on that policy, including but certainly not limited to the state of Israel.
I hope nothing happens to Omar
Omar reports having received death threats as a consequence of this. As a public official, her words and actions are subject to scrutiny, but this should remain peaceful. She has done nothing to deserve death threats, or worse!
Aside from that, there’s a second reason I hope nothing bad happens to her. I can already see how the PC left will use any harm against her for their own agenda. They will hold it up as further evidence that “hate speech” is not free speech, and claim that a peaceful society has an obligation to suppress such speech. They’ll repeat their circular arguments that tolerance doesn’t mean tolerating “hate” because “hate” is intolerance, and you can’t tolerate intolerance. The rights the PC left rightly demand for Omar, they will deny to my dear deplorables.
I hope that those on the #trumptrain will heed Mr. Buchanan’s wisdom, and defend Omar’s basic rights as an American. Continue to criticize her policies as you see fit, but please stop standing by while her words are twisted around and she is treated the same way that so many of us have been treated. Let’s be better than that!
*I’m still an old school progressive, fellow traveler on the #trumptrain unless and until the Dems start representing working people again
**You’ll find the remark in question about 15 minutes into this video