Ilhan Omar’s Bigoted Remarks

Published at 10:12 on 8 March 2019

Some points:

  1. Yes, she did use the phrase “allegiance to a foreign country.”
  2. Accusations of dual or conflicted loyalty have an ugly history behind them, to the point of being a standard trope in antisemitism.
  3. Yes, the phrase was part of one sentence of a larger speech, the rest of which did not exhibit antisemitic rhetoric.
  4. Point (3) is less relevant than it may seem. There’s a long history of political gaffes being ripped out of larger context and getting repeated over and over. This is hardly the first case. It’s a standard occupational hazard of being a politician.
  5. There’s basically two options at play here, neither of which make Ms. Omar look particularly good:
    1. She said what she said because it reflects her true inner biases; i.e., she’s a bigot.
    2. She said what she said because she didn’t know better; i.e., she’s an ignoramus.
  6. The Republicans have been far worse; just witness how little they did over the years as Steve King evolved into being an outright fascist.
  7. The resolution that passed was a pretty good one. It acknowledged the generally bad record of bigotry in the House in recent years and condemned it in general, instead of simply singling out a possibly bigoted left liberal and being silent on all the other instances.
  8. It proved a political masterstroke as well, because the Republicans, being a party of re-branded fascism, could not stomach the idea of condemning bigotry in general—and are now on record for it.

Might this all end up proving that being a somewhat bickersome “big tent” party is in the Democrats’ best interest? Consider that the resolution that was brought up and passed was nobody’s first choice: The left wing of the Democratic Party didn’t want any criticism of any one of their own, and the right wing wanted something that only went after this particular instance of bigotry. In the process of bickering and squabbling the Democrats came up with… a political masterstroke that neither faction would have come up with on their own.

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