Ilhan Omar, the West Virginia GOP, and that 9/11 Poster
Ilhan Omar, the West Virginia GOP, and that 9/11 Poster
WVGOP Day, in honor of the West Virginia GOP, was to be celebrated with events yesterday at the state Capitol building in Charleston. But a poster — connecting openly racist, anti-Israel/America demonizer Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to 9/11 — captured the attention.
And all the people went nuts.
Along with several other display tables set up in the Capital’s rotunda, the 9/11 poster in question was couched within a larger display affiliated with “Act for America” founded by Brigitte Gabriel. (She’s tough on terrorism and calls out terrorists in very blunt terms, but AfA has denied being responsible for the poster.) The offending 9/11 poster featured an image of Ilhan Omar, in a black hijab, underneath that oh-so-vivid picture seared in our memories of the Twin Towers burning. The text on the poster? Apparently to some, it was like a hot knife in butter. To others, it was crazy juju.
“’Never forget’ – You said,” read the text placed over the photo of the World Trade Center.
“I am the proof – you have forgotten,” read the caption under Omar’s image.”
Here’s a picture of the poster.
The mere presence of this poster caused quite a bit of distress to some in the hallways outside the WV House of Delegates, eventually spilling over into the chamber itself. And the fallout? Well, bigly.
— (((Mike Pushkin))) (@pushkinforhouse) March 1, 2019
Lots of noise, bluster, chaos. The Sergeant at Arms has submitted a letter of resignation after being accused of making an anti-Muslim slur during the dispute.
But THIS from minority whip, Delegate Mike Caputo (D), who was so worked up, he apparently kicked in a door to the chamber during the opening prayer session slightly injuring a young doorkeeper, wins the bat guano crazy award. Here’s his explanation:
“We’ve got doorkeepers going nose to nose with members, Sergeant at Arms going nose to nose with members. We have created an anger that I’ve never witnessed in 23 years in this body and it’s sickens me. It absolutely sickens me. But, yeah I, kicked that door open. I’ll own it,” Caputo said. “I did and I said some things that I don’t normally say. So, the point should be that we shouldn’t do what’s going on outside here. Whether it’s the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, there’s no place for that.”
You’ll “own” it, Mr. Caputo? You’re behavior was disgraceful and the people of your district in West Virginia deserve much more than that arrogant bully-of-the-playground response. Be a man and apologize. Admit your behavior — your “anger” — was as bad, if not worse, than anyone else there.
Actions here do have consequences, hopefully. For Caputo’s little outburst, the WV House Rules Committee will meet at 8 a.m. Saturday to decide if Caputo will face any repercussions for his behavior in all of this. Many say he won’t, but I hope so. I’ll update the post if we hear something.
And… of course… never ones to let a
crisis political opportunity go to waste, some Democrats are having a field day, assisted by their accomplices, the mainstream media. I can see the campaign fundraising letters being generated now, can’t you?
— WV Democratic Party (@wvdemocrats) March 1, 2019
In West Virginia, the State House is made up of 59 Republicans and 41 Democrats. There have been only a handful of GOP comments on the chaos. I don’t think that’s necessarily good.
And the maligned freshman congresswoman from Minnesota? She’s definitely talking. Anti-Semite and America demonizer, Ilhan Omar looks at this as a gift to do a little bit of self promotion.
No wonder why I am on the “Hitlist” of a domestic terrorist and “Assassinate Ilhan Omar” is written on my local gas stations.
Look no further, the GOP's anti-Muslim display likening me to a terrorist rocks in state capitols and no one is condemning them! https://t.co/0ouCaloWqh
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 1, 2019
So here we are.
Bold anti-Muslim sentiment causing brawls in a statehouse. Is this hate speech as some suggest? I don’t think so, but it’s definitely ugly speech.
Many people love to reflect on this kind of event as symptomatic of the “coarsening of the culture” — especially with politics in the Age of Trump. I do think the coarsening is at an all time high in politics. But is it all because of Trump? No. (And no, I’m not a huge Trumpkin or a NeverTrump conservative. I’d say I’m more a “Sometimes Trump” conservative. Mostly, frankly, he just gives me heartburn.)
I think culturally our restraint and boundaries are now almost nonexistent. Its perfectly OK to be mean, even cruel. During social media discourse, we love to “throat punch” or leave stupid people in puddles on the proverbial thread floor. We have zero coping skills left when an offense, even the smallest, occurs. We go ballistic. Perpetually butthurt rules. We no longer understand the concept of “the lowest level of intervention.”
I reject all of that.
There is no evidence whatsoever that Omar had anything to do with 9/11. That said, I do think she is a nasty, hate filled racist who lies through her teeth as a means to an end. She is a virulent anti-Semite and I don’t think she likes America very much either.
I feel bad for all involved in this situation. (Except Omar. I don’t feel bad for that hating racist for 1 nano.) I do think this poster was bad. I wish it hadn’t been used. But wishing it so, or not so, means nothing anymore. I’m for elevating our speech and practice. I miss the days of the clear White Hats v Black Hats. And while I don’t agree with everything that is out there, and most of us don’t, I do strongly believe that Freedom of Speech is such a gift and something that we have to protect fiercely, even if we don’t agree with it.
Especially when we don’t agree with it.
Featured photo, cropped: Mike Pushkin, Democratic member of the House of Delegates, Twitter.