“Send Her Back!” – Speaking Truth to Power

 

I apologize for the corny title of this post, but it most succinctly gets the point across.

I also apologize for failing to take part in what must have been a dozen lively threads about Trump vs. The Squad. One point I haven’t heard anyone making is that Mrs. Omar is not a victim, abused and intimidated by evil Trump supporters. She is not the enslaved woman in the old drawing, her hands in the pose of the supplicant, asking, “Am I not a woman and a sister?” She is much higher than that and much lower. More exalted, and more despised. In a word, she is a politician. A member of the U.S. House of Representatives, who sits on three Congressional committees, and in a number of caucuses. It is probably safe to say that she has more power in the allegedly white supremacist United States than any of the individuals in that crowd, chanting for her to be sent back. Whether one agrees with the sentiment or not, the crowd was punching up; not down.

It goes without saying that Omar’s privileged position does not make it OK to hate or harm her or to commit any actual crimes against her. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s acceptable to demand she be sent back. It does mean she’s fair game for protest and ridicule, just as Donald Trump is fair game for such. After all, this is America. In America, the government is obliged to show deference to the people; and not the other way around. It is our right, it is our custom, it is our pastime to (figuratively) abuse those elected to office.

As an unapologetic sexist, I’ll be the first to say that we should pull our punches a bit more for the ladies, than for male politicians. But she’s still a politician. She shouldn’t get the kid-glove treatment for being an immigrant or for her ethnicity. As a fully equal member of the human race, she should receive exactly the same treatment that is appropriate for any white politician of the fairer sex. (Color-blindness: the handicap that dare not speak its name.) Has Omar been treated more roughly than Michelle Bachman, or Sarah Palin, or Susan Collins, in the midst of the Kavanaugh controversy?

Please bear in mind you can agree with all of the preceding, and still not approve of “send her back.” I guess the question is, would we react the same way if Omar was an ethnic Norwegian, and people called for her to be “sent back”? Or if a native-born politician, of either party, faced similar criticism? Do you see Omar as needing special treatment because of her background or skin tone?

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There are 13 comments.

  1. Jager Member

    Joshua Bissey: Has Omar been treated more roughly than Michelle Bachman, or Sarah Palin, or Susan Collins, in the midst of the Kavanaugh controversy

    I would say no. I would also add that Hillary Clinton is actually the closest corollary. “Lock her up” was replaced by “send her back”.

    Not sure that either was really helpful but a mocking chant at a political opponent had been used first against the white person. I think that is what most of this is, mocking. It doesn’t really have anything to do with race, it is taunting an adversary. 

    I agree they are punching up not down. As one of the 535 people, in a country of over 300 million, that gets to make the laws Ms. Omar has a great deal more power than some random Joe who goes to a Trump rally. 

    • #1
    • July 22, 2019, at 2:50 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  2. Randy Webster Member

    Joshua Bissey: I guess the question is, would we react the same way if Omar was an ethnic Norwegian, and people called for her to be “sent back”?

    I wouldn’t be joining in a “Send her back” chant in any case, but this question reminds me of the accusations made when Obama first ran for president that people like me were only voting against him because he was black. Like I would have voted for a white guy with the same policies.

    • #2
    • July 22, 2019, at 3:10 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  3. Joseph Eagar Member

    I don’t think any of the upper class, northeastern WASP types frothing at the mouth over Omar really believed Trump said anything racist. It’s more like they’re trying to get him on a technical foul. After all, David Duke has said nice things about Omar’s anti-Semitic comments, and all four of them are pretty clearly racists.

    This is what happens when you allow class privilege to trump political prudence in fashioning your coalition.

    • #3
    • July 22, 2019, at 4:07 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. Gossamer Cat Coolidge

    Joseph Eagar (View Comment):
    on a technical foul

    I like that phrase and it is exactly what is happening.

    • #4
    • July 22, 2019, at 4:14 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. Barfly Member

    Perhaps the best course might be to make things difficult enough for her that she might choose to go back to that open latrine she came from. No, that would damage us. What does one properly do with an ungrateful and unintelligent recipient of grace?

    • #5
    • July 22, 2019, at 5:05 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  6. Randy Webster Member

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Perhaps the best course might be to make things difficult enough for her that she might choose to go back to that open latrine she came from. No, that would damage us. What does one properly do with an ungrateful and unintelligent recipient of grace?

    Why do we need to do anything? It’s unlikely that she’ll be able to translate her anti-semitism or anti-Americanism into action.

    • #6
    • July 22, 2019, at 6:56 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. Joseph Eagar Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Perhaps the best course might be to make things difficult enough for her that she might choose to go back to that open latrine she came from. No, that would damage us. What does one properly do with an ungrateful and unintelligent recipient of grace?

    Why do we need to do anything? It’s unlikely that she’ll be able to translate her anti-semitism or anti-Americanism into action.

    I believe Henry Ford said the same thing in defense of his anti-Semitic newspaper prior to the Nazi Party getting a hold of it. Fascists in the 1910s/1920s were just as incredulous at the idea that their ideas have power as the modern “left” is today. The parallels really are uncanny. 

    That said, of course no one wants to deport these four or anything like that. We just want to call them out for the hypocrites they are. Like I said, they make their living telling rich white progressives how evil America is for disrespecting rich white progressives for its treatment of minorities, and how its population needs to be punished. It’s disgusting.

    • #7
    • July 23, 2019, at 10:55 AM PDT
    • Like
  8. Marjorie Reynolds Lincoln

    I started a new job last week and already I’ve gotten into break time political arguments over Trump for the 3rd day in a row. It’s amazing how some people get so riled up by what they hear on RTE news about a politician they can’t vote for in a country they don’t live in. 

    • #8
    • July 23, 2019, at 2:42 PM PDT
    • Like
  9. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    To give any Representative special treatment is to change the very purpose of a House of Representatives. I think it is a mark of class to avoid sexually-specific attacks, such as ‘bitch’, but I wouldn’t limit myself if that particular shoe fit. I would similarly avoid ‘hysterical’ and ‘shrill’ unless there was simply no more accurate word. 

    • #9
    • July 23, 2019, at 4:00 PM PDT
    • Like
  10. Joseph Stanko Member

    Joshua Bissey: Whether one agrees with the sentiment or not, the crowd was punching up

    Sucking up is more like it.

    “Speaking truth to power” would be going to a town hall meeting hosted by a member of the squad, on their home turf, and asking pointed questions. It’s putting something on the line, facing hostility and standing your ground. Chanting from the anonymity of a crowd at a rally, at the instigation and in support of the most powerful man in the world, is not in any meaningful sense “punching up.”

    • #10
    • July 23, 2019, at 7:29 PM PDT
    • Like
  11. Joseph Eagar Member

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Joshua Bissey: Whether one agrees with the sentiment or not, the crowd was punching up

    Sucking up is more like it.

    “Speaking truth to power” would be going to a town hall meeting hosted by a member of the squad, on their home turf, and asking pointed questions. It’s putting something on the line, facing hostility and standing your ground. Chanting from the anonymity of a crowd at a rally, at the instigation and in support of the most powerful man in the world, is not in any meaningful sense “punching up.”

    It is when doing so can get you doxxed and fired. 

    • #11
    • July 23, 2019, at 8:51 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. Joshua Bissey Coolidge
    Joshua Bissey Post author

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Joshua Bissey: Whether one agrees with the sentiment or not, the crowd was punching up

    Sucking up is more like it.

    “Speaking truth to power” would be going to a town hall meeting hosted by a member of the squad, on their home turf, and asking pointed questions. It’s putting something on the line, facing hostility and standing your ground. Chanting from the anonymity of a crowd at a rally, at the instigation and in support of the most powerful man in the world, is not in any meaningful sense “punching up.”

    I’m not saying the people chanting were being especially brave. And strictly speaking, an imperative like “send her back” can’t be true or false. I just said “truth to power” as a (admittedly inaccurate) way of framing the article. It makes for a snappy headline.

    The point is that Omar is being portrayed as a victim, and the crowd as the baddies. In reality, Omar is doing pretty well for herself, and the crowd were citizens voicing their displeasure at a member of the government class.

    • #12
    • July 23, 2019, at 9:50 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. Gossamer Cat Coolidge

    Joshua Bissey (View Comment):
    The point is that Omar is being portrayed as a victim, and the crowd as the baddies. In reality, Omar is doing pretty well for herself, and the crowd were citizens voicing their displeasure at a member of the government class.

    Exactly

    • #13
    • July 23, 2019, at 9:59 PM PDT
    • 1 like