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Boardman writes: "Protecting Ilhan Omar should be a reflexive no brainer."

Rep. Ilhan Omar. (photo: Patrick Robertson/Getty)
Rep. Ilhan Omar. (photo: Patrick Robertson/Getty)

Trump Puts Ilhan Omar at Risk, Democrats Do Lunch

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

03 May 19

… we’re the party of love, we’re the party of compassion, we’re the party of inclusiveness. What we are fighting for is not for the few, but for the many. Every single one, just this week, when we’ve had the attack in California on a synagogue, it’s the same person who’s accused of attempting to bomb a mosque. So I can’t ever speak of Islamophobia and fight for Muslims, if I am not willing to fight against anti-Semitism. We collectively must make sure that we are dismantling all systems of oppression.

– Rep. Ilhan Omar, Minnesota Democrat, April 30, 2019

f the 435 members of Congress elected in 2018, Ilhan Omar won her race with more votes than 428 of her colleagues of both parties won theirs. She is a black woman born in Somalia, an immigrant, a Muslim, intelligent and outspoken. From her first moment in Congress, right-wing bigots have targeted her with whatever smear seemed useful. The most effective has been the bogus claim that she’s anti-Semitic, rooted in imaginary evidence. Democrats failed to understand the fraud and still haven’t rallied around a party member whose life has been endangered by the occupant of the White House. Media reports routinely include comments referring to the accusations of anti-Semitism as if they were real, giving continuing credence to political lies. All in all, it is a massive cluster-fiasco of incompetence and bad faith from a huge portion of the supposed “leadership” class in the US.

On April 30, Black Lives Matter organized a rally on Capitol Hill calling for “Hands Off Ilhan Omar.” More than a hundred African American women leaders in and out of Congress gathered in Omar’s support, issuing a call to Congress to censure President Trump for endangering the life of a sitting member of Congress. There is no doubt that a Trump tweet on April 12 constituted reckless endangerment with an incendiary but false incitement against Ilhan Omar. The tweet sparked a sharp increase in death threats against the congresswoman by tying her to the collapse of the twin towers on 9/11, with no basis in fact.


Tweet from Pres. Trump, 6:35 p.m., April 12, 2019, accompanying a 43-second fraudulent attack video dishonestly suggesting that Rep. Ilhan Omar was somehow accountable for the attacks of 9/11, a fascistic meme of Islamophobic demagoguery of the first order.

The 43-second video is a polished production, with the same manipulative slickness as the Nazi propaganda films of Leni Riefenstahl. This was more than just another apparently casual tweet from the White House. This tweet required production and planning. It was apparently inspired by an April 9 tweet from Rep. Dan Crenshaw,  Texas Republican, who once called for toning down political rhetoric. Crenshaw supports Trump’s border wall, denies climate change, opposes any ban on assault weapons, and voted against the election reform act of 2019. His tweet about Rep. Omar used an out-of-context quote to create a political lie based on a racist trope:

Omar’s choice of words is similar to President Bush’s language in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, and both require context to determine meaning. Crenshaw’s policing of right-wing political correctness had its own problems, since he forwarded, without qualification, a tweet that called CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, “a terrorist organization” – another lie.

Piling on in the endless demonization of Ilhan Omar, GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called on Democrats to enforce dishonest Republican perceptions. Well, Democrats had done it before, right?

The next day, Omar responded to Crenshaw:

Two days later, the president raised the ante with his unconscionable 9/11 Big Lie. For the Democrats, whether they liked it or not, this was a moment of truth.

Establishment Democrats have failed dismally to react responsibly to the dishonest attacks on Ilhan Omar, mustering neither courage nor coherence in the face the latest form of McCarthyite bullying over the past four months. The president’s over-the-top tweet using 9/11 as a bludgeon gave Democrats another chance to behave honorably. Some of the presidential candidates did, but the first response appears to have come from New York Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. [The Twitter date stamps are mysterious. There are two sets, an hour apart. I have followed the same sequence for all the tweets, so while the exact time may be wrong, the interval seems correct.]

The first Democratic presidential candidate to respond was Bernie Sanders, with prompt and unambiguous support:

A few minutes later, Elizabeth Warren issued an even stronger condemnation, with a direct rebuke to the president and a direct challenge to her fellow elected officials:

As the evening wore on, Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted that Trump was jeopardizing Omar and all Muslims. Former congressman Beto O’Rourke tweeted that Trump’s action was “incitement to violence” without mentioning Omar. Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s tweet accused Trump of using 9/11 “to incite his base against a member of Congress, as if for sport,” without mentioning Omar. Senator Amy Klobuchar’s tweet tried to have it both ways, referring to an arrest for a threat on Omar’s life but noting that she had disagreed with Omar before. And that was reportedly all the significant Democratic response to a president deliberately putting a congresswoman in the cross-hairs. The next day’s responses were generally weaker or absent. There was no word of note from Speaker Nancy Pelosi or the rest of the House “leadership.”

Since April 13, there has been no effort to censure the president for reckless endangerment of a Congress member’s life. The president committed this crime in plain sight and House Democrats do nothing. By doing nothing, House Democrats signal that as far as they’re concerned, Ilhan Omar is fair game. Most of the presidential candidates are no better. This is shameful. My guess is that most Trump supporters look at Democrats with greater scorn than ever for their unwillingness to defend one of their own. As far as Ilhan Omar is concerned, most Democrats have acted and continue to act without principle, without courage, without integrity. This doesn’t seem like a really great way to win an election in 2020. Standing up to bigots should be one of the easier things to do politically. If Democrats can’t do that, what can they do?

It looks like the Democratic establishment has been doing things the Washington way for so long they can’t see themselves clearly in the mirror anymore. No matter who Ilhan Omar truly is, no one has a right to lynch her, and those who stand by and watch the lynching happen are just despicable. Here’s the way Ilhan Omar described herself to her supporters on April 30:

Here’s the thing that really offends a lot of people and the reason that we are here. I was born—I was born as a very liberated human being, to a country that was colonized, that recognized that they can colonize the land but they can’t colonize your mind, to people who recognized that all of us deserve dignity and that no human being was ever, ever going to tell you that you are less than them. Thirteen people organized for our independence in Somalia. So I was born in that breath of recognizing that they might be more powerful than you are, that they might have more technology than you have, they might think that they are wiser than you, they might control all of the institutions, but you control your mind, and that is what sets you free.

… the thing that upsets the occupant of the White House, his goons in the Republican Party, many of our colleagues in the Democratic Party, is that—is that they can’t stand—they cannot stand that a refugee, a black woman, an immigrant, a Muslim, shows up in Congress thinking she’s equal to them. But I say to them, “How else did you expect me to show up?”

… So, I know my place in this society. All of you know your place in this society. And it’s one that is equal to every single person that walks in it.

Protecting Ilhan Omar should be a reflexive no brainer. Protecting Ilhan Omar is so obviously the right thing to do, it should come easily to anyone of conscience. This is not rocket science. This is not morally ambiguous. To protect Ilhan Omar is to protect us all. The Democratic Party doesn’t seem to have a clue that it is in the midst of an existential litmus test. Does the Democratic Party actually stand for anything anymore? There’s still time to figure it out, if they start soon. A good starting place would be to stop going for the bait of trolling Republican bigots. Is it some perverse political calculation that brings on timidity, silence, cowardice, a betrayal of the best American values to appease the values of the worst Americans? If the Democratic Party lacks the strength to defend and protect Ilhan Omar just because she’s human, then all the talk of American values and freedoms and principles and “the soul of the nation” is just more political garbage.

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William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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+36 # aDog8myH8 2019-05-03 19:46
Damn right!
+26 # futhark 2019-05-03 19:46
In granting freedom of religion as a Constitutional right, the Founders were motivated by their knowledge of European history and, specifically English history, in an effort to forestall a repeat of the sanguinary and economically crippling results of sectarian conflict. From the time that King Henry VIII announced the separation of the Anglican Church from the Catholic Church in the 1530s to the Glorious Revolution of 1688, thousands suffered torture and death, with an attendant decline in prosperity.

It seems the Founders wisely decided that the cost far exceeded any tangible advantage to either combatant sect and did not wish their new nation to suffer from like trauma for inconsequential reasons. Those who incite sectarian bigotry would do well to study the historical results.
+3 # NAVYVET 2019-05-04 17:51
Futhark: Horrors happened because the Anglican church was Magisterial, ruled by the secular leader, the king, and the Catholics also had top-down rule. BUT... the "Free Churches" existed underground, and were growing. Read Huntston Williams' THE RADICAL REFORMATION. They included the Anabaptists, peace churches like the Mennonites, the Unitarians, the Universalists, a bit later the Quakers. They weren't perfect--who or what is?--but they were the direct descendents of Medieval dissenters like the Waldensians and Bohemian Brethren (Hussites, Taborites), who were earlier than Luther's, Calvin's and the Anglicans' magisterial top down governance. The Waldensians have been a Free Church since the 12th century! In their churches women preached and in some women were equal, Jews were respected and their polity imitated and evolved to become even more free of control & democratic, scholars in the Free Churches lit the spark of Humanism then the Enlightenment, imperialist capitalism was taking over everywhere in Europe except in the Free Churches where social justice goals were common. No, they weren't perfect, but they and their Medieval forebears were OUR POLITICAL ANCESTORS! Learn about them. I have, and they are worth loving.
+1 # futhark 2019-05-04 22:23
Thanks NAVYVET, I was raised a Unitarian and have identified with the Society of Friends (Quakers) for over 40 years. I agree that these non-hierarchica l churches have a long history of being on the cutting edge in advancing the legal equality inherent in the Bill of Rights.
+2 # economagic 2019-05-03 20:27
"Protecting Ilhan Omar should be a reflexive no brainer."

The pResident (sic) is reflexive, and he is a no brainer. The "Democratic" misleadership are no brainers, but also lack reflexes, a sign of rigor mortis.

The more of this crap I see, the more likely I am to once again "waste" my vote on a candidate who given a chance would stand up for what I believe in. Other things equal I would probably vote for any Democratic nominee that was better than Clinton (either one). But with this in the background and no redemption on their part, any Democrat will have to do a LOT better than "I'm not as bad as Hillary" to get my vote. Sorry ladies: While some jerks who might not otherwise have voted for T-Rump but did so because they could not bring themselves to vote for any woman, it was not because of them that Hillary lost the election.
0 # WBoardman 2019-05-05 19:15
Democrats have not failed to defend Ilhan Omar – yet –
but the window of opportunity won't be open long.
+10 # janie1893 2019-05-04 00:14
If Congressional members of both parties do not
defend this woman and if anything happens to her, it will be an open season on all Congressional members! WHY CAN THEY NOT SEE THAT?
+9 # 2019-05-04 00:46
Important article. Thank you. As Mr. Boardman alludes, can we give some credit to the many fellow Americans who voted for Representative Omar, and to her political colleagues who defend her, instead of being so quick to excoriate? Unfortunately, as an important factor, I believe the two-party system sets us up for dysfunctionalit y from day 1. We should change to perhaps a numeric type system, with a dollar cap on costs to candidates (with subsidies available), & no lobbyists. This type of system would allow more candidates & varying income levels, who could be judged on many more factors than the "us vs. them" counterproducti ve, wasteful, dichotomy-duopo ly we have.

I imagine we would all agree that politics is tough, particularly as a newcomer at this level. I appreciate Omar's outreach in her April 30th message (top here), after more religious tragedies & concerns. In America, our fight for "the many" begins in school, where we teach all children to respect other cultures and religions. We should continue this teaching at home, & learn about our neighbors & colleagues, & build on those friendships. We can & should also attend religious or cultural events of other groups... In America we have good people of all beliefs & cultures, willing to learn, & to help each other. We thank Representative Omar for her desire to be of service to America, and hope she can indeed bring people together, and help solve some of her concerns, in her new position for Minnesota's 5th district.
+3 # economagic 2019-05-04 12:33
"I believe the two-party system sets us up for dysfunctionalit y from day 1."

A bit of info re the US Constitution: Political parties are not mentioned in any respect anywhere therein, including the Bill of Rights. Washington warned against them--fine in principle but naive with regard to human nature. We must forgive him for that, as he had next to zero precedent to guide his thinking.

As Gore Vidal and many others have pointed out, the problem is that we have ONLY two parties. Once the duopoly was firmly established in the wake of the War Between the States (prior to that war parties came and went), it has held the Republic in its iron grip.
-1 # 2019-05-06 04:48
Thank you. Yes, Washington abhorred parties. See his quotes on my Links page. I think using names for parties will continue to support this expensive, vicious, and antagonistic system, even if we could have a greater number of strong parties. It will always devolve to a war of two. With numbers as a gauge of the positions (a system of points with the sum total reflecting numerous positions of the candidate, on a scale), the total also reflects the candidate most in-line with one's views. So, the candidates use their personal name, and are only representing themselves, not a party. One is voted on strictly on their views, without all the other machinations and huge costs associated with this current political circus. Again, no lobbyists, with caps on expenses (with subsidies to the max) so that even a poor person could run if s/he had enough names on petitions, for example. Let's do it!!

More imminently important to Our Republic is to protest the medical-militar y industrial h_ll (see info & pics on my site ourconstitution .info) if anyone wants to join me in Miami, or send pics from wherever you are & I'll post ... We do have "a lot of killers" ...Reign in the Intel Apparatus – heed Eisenhower’s warning! ...CIA OUT of our schools ...We have begun that steep and treacherous descent -- it is up to US, the PEOPLE ...If Congressional Intel overseers were doing their job, we wouldn't be in this position...We are losing Our Republic and Constitution ... protest wherever you are!
0 # 2019-05-06 14:08
I saw this today... Appreciate the Imam voicing his very serious concerns... Also, I am not sure what hope the World has as long as countries teach hate to their children; this would be one of the most important areas of change towards peace that Omar, or anyone who wants peace, could help implement.

Imam Mohamad Tawhidi Retweeted
Imam Mohamad Tawhidi‏Verifie d account @Imamofpeace
May 4
Remember that time @Ilhan and @RashidaTlaib condemned Hamas’ terrorism?
Neither do I.
+7 # engelbach 2019-05-04 03:51
It's even worse than what Boardman writes.

Read the posts on other blogs. A significant number of so-called "liberal" readers are just as clueless and cowardly as the Democratic Party leadership, refusing to defend Omar and even castigating both her and AOC for being "too radical."

A Trump impeachment will afford a perfect opportunity for the Democratic Party to compile all of Trump's "crimes and misdemeanors" in one place at one time, for nakedly transparent exposure on a mass public forum for all to see.

Yet the party leaders and an apparently large number of Democratic supporters want to hang back and conduct business as usual — except, of course, the odious DCCC, which openly condemns and tries to prevent the funding of any attempt by principled candidates to challenge the failed policies of conservative Democratic incumbents.

To Nacy Pelosi and Company capitalism, it seems, must be protected by any means, even if it means blinding themselves and many of their own constituents to a rising tide of fascism that every day becomes more tangible.
+7 # rural oregon progressive 2019-05-04 04:37
I know I'll get "thumbed down" for this, because every time I point out the hypocrisy of Establishment Dems, I get that treatment. So be it. Boardman hi the proverbial nail on the head. I no longer recognize my party. This is, in fact, the demise of our republic. The inbreeding between the neolibs and neocons have populated out halls of Congress to the point that there is little difference between the parties except for one side pretending to be polite, and the other rancorous. Ilhan is an American hero. I am sick of my party being afraid to speak truth, and sick of their reluctance to be honorable.

The struggle for honesty and accountability continues.
+1 # economagic 2019-05-04 16:27
"I know I'll get "thumbed down" for this, because every time I point out the hypocrisy of Establishment Dems, I get that treatment."

Looks for now as if the message is beginning to seep through!
+1 # rural oregon progressive 2019-05-05 03:15
Thanks for the encouragement economagic!
+11 # SusanT136 2019-05-04 06:04
In the absence of “spine” in much of the Democratic leadership in regards to Ilhan Omar, we the people must be even stronger in our defense of her. She deserves to do the job she was elected to do without fear for her life. Additionally, she is a progressive and we need her in Congress.
+4 # MikeAF48 2019-05-04 08:25
Beware Democrats follow your hearts and sole. President Trump is drunk with power he hasn't legally earned it will come out just takes time. Slow walk this guy.
+1 # WBoardman 2019-05-05 19:23
Two years in and slow walking is the best we get,
that is when there is any real movement at all.

We need constant pressure on Trump on as many fronts
as possible to make any difference.

And it has to happen now and and insistently
if the 2020 election is to have any hope of a happy outcome.
0 # MikeAF48 2019-05-06 20:03
OK that's it flash mob U. S. A. song and dance.

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