Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), and Kamala Harris represent the future of an inclusive America. The old white guard in Congress doesn’t like it and has despicably schemed to silence these progressive women from minority groups.
From the Hill to the White House: A Den Of Hypocrisy
When Ilhan Omar (D-MN) was criticized by conservative media outlets for her “some people did something” description in March of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, she received death threats, calls from Donald Trump to resign, and the scorn of Texan Republican Dan Crenshaw:
First Member of Congress to ever describe terrorists who killed thousands of Americans on 9/11 as “some people who did something”.
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) April 9, 2019
Her comments, of course, were taken wildly out of context and proportion from a twenty-minute speech on discrimination against Muslims. Calls for her to resign came from a president that placed a ban on Muslims entering the country in early 2017.
Omar has now been attacked as an anti-Semite by Trump:
“She (Congresswoman Omar) keeps on assaulting Jews…”
Jeff Ballabon, B2 Strategic, CEO pic.twitter.com/WMKN9RQm2n
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 9, 2019
Donald Trump’s brand of white nationalism has itself brushed awkwardly against the American Jewish community. In a December 2015 address to the Republican Jewish Coalition’s Presidential Forum, then-candidate Trump danced with stereotypes about Jews when he told the audience:
“I’m a negotiator like you folks, we are negotiators… You’re not gonna support me because I don’t want your money. You want to control your politicians, that’s fine.”
You have to give plaudits to Donald Trump for chutzpah. Who else gives a border line anti-Semitic speech at the Republican Jewish Coalition?
— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) December 3, 2015
AOC and the Art of Upsetting the Apple Cart
Outspoken Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has similarly drawn the ire of the right and ridicule for proposals such as the Green New Deal. The proposal is every bit as far-fetched and idealistic an idea as Trump’s to build a wall between the US and Mexico.
But there is one major difference. Her proposal is intended to unsettle the status quo in a quest to draw attention to the problem of climate change. Ocasio-Cortez stands for changing the narrative and pushing boundaries. Donald Trump, on the other hand, actually wants to erect a 1,954 mile-long wall to alienate a trade ally.
Trump’s brand of lunacy is genuine. AOC’s is little more than an effort to mock the status quo under the Trump regime: a status quo that says climate change doesn’t exist, windmill noise causes cancer, and protectionism is good for the economy.
Kamala Harris Silenced by Fellow Senators
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who will run for the Democratic party nomination for president, was interrupted twice in two weeks during June 2017 Senate Intelligence Committee hearings: one for Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the other during her questions to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Kyle Griffin noted how unprecedented the interruptions were:
Kamala Harris is the only Senator who's been interrupted by another senator so far, by my count.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 13, 2017
Our Politicians Are Becoming More Diverse, But Not Fast Enough
Yes, the current Congress’ noted diversity is a good signal that America is headed in the right direction. According to the Pew Research Center, the current Congress is America’s most racially diverse ever, and diversity in both houses is growing.
But compared with the country’s overall demographic mix, it remains a bastion of old white male privilege. Roughly 22 percent of members of both houses are minorities. But Washington still lags the general population. Around 78 percent of Congress is white, versus 61 percent of the country. And women are vastly underrepresented. Of the 535 members of Congress, only 23 percent are women.
AOC, Omar, and Harris are frontrunners for a changing of the guard. That change won’t come overnight, and each woman will face the pressures that come with what they represent. For the courage they have all shown, they deserve our applause – and full-throated support.