Sometimes there’s a benefit to hanging back a few days while the opposition simmers down a bit and the support builds. Opposition flares and support mostly comes along at a very slow simmer.
Essentially, Ilhan thinks Israel has gone way too far in its Palestinian policies and questions the U.S. continued support. That set off Republicans, who never saw a right-wing nation they didn’t love. They accused Omar of leading the Democratic Party way too far left. That said, you wouldn’t have to be very far left to be way left of where the GOP finds itself today. They want guns for everyone, voting privileges for everyone who’s white, no action on climate change, a clean slate for everyone who attacked the Congress on January 6th and praise for all 88% of House and Senate Republicans who refused (and continue to refuse) Joe Biden’s election as president. Oh, and of course Omar is Muslim, one of two such Representatives currently elected to the House. That really drives them nuts.
The response has been interesting and Omar may have shaken, if not moved, the immovable rock that was U.S. support for Israel. Here’re a few samples:
Letter from a constituent: I'm confused. A democratic country is not capable of committing a war crime because it is a democratic country. How so? To think this is illogical.
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) has courage. That is why so many in Washington are afraid of her and are trying to shut her up. The U.S. war machine is a sacred entity. She's holding it accountable. Martin Luther King Jr. would have approved. When all you have to justify the killing of Iraqis is that you killed them without doing "war crimes" — you've committed a war crime.
Frank Erickson, Minneapolis
ICYMI: Over 100 Members of 5th District Jewish Community Publish Letter of Support for Rep. Omar:
In the open letter, 5th District constituents write: We know some folks who want a softer touch in their politicians. But here’s the thing: Martin Luther King was divisive. Hubert Humphrey was divisive. Paul Wellstone was divisive. And even now, Black Lives Matter is divisive — but their protests are now supported by 64 percent of Americans. Sometimes that’s the way change happens. Jews have long been at the forefront of movements for social justice, and our support for Ilhan Omar is rooted in our deepest Jewish values. We’re proud to have her as our representative. And we’re proud to support her reelection.
David Brauer writes: It comes down to this: Minneapolis’s Fifth District is one of the most progressive districts in America, which should push America toward ideas that broaden justice. In the end, though, my vote is a positive one, honoring people truly at risk who have poured into the streets to hasten America’s endlessly overdue reckoning, demanding more than the arid comfort of conventional wisdom.
Ben Gerber writes: I know Ilhan and I will continue to discuss and disagree on issues big and small, but I also know the person she is — a fierce advocate for the ideas and the country she loves.
The times they are a changing
Or so it feels. And change brings uncertainty, something none of us like very much.
Our police forces are under fire, ordinary citizens (including police) are leaving their jobs in droves, essentially refusing to go back to the old grind without better terms and better pay. Corporations are beginning to understand (and admit) that shareholder returns are not their primary purpose. Social value trumps (will we ever use that word again without flinching?) profit. Even the super-rich are becoming self-critical about their position in the tax structure.
The young and the colorful are coming into their own
That seems paternalistic to even have to put into words, but it’s true. Old, white men (including myself) have had our day and didn’t do much with it except to get us into wars we could not win, arguments we could not advance and in the case of economic fairness, bacon we could not bring home. Some of us will continue to serve society and our country with the value of experience, but our day is over running the show—and none too soon.
Not a bad thing to remind ourselves of our roots
We’re a nation of junkyard-dogs and that’s our strength. Cross-bred and wary, but with a pack-mentality that’s served us well. White America is unnecessarily concerned about losing its majority, but that’s merely a strengthening of the pack DNA. Chicago, where I come from, is now 1/3 Hispanic, 1/3 black and 1/3 white. Visit there some time and you’ll see that New York City is not (and never has been) truly American. NYC is great and throbs with life, but it’s an international city. Chicago is the true essence of what makes America strong—raucous, sophisticated, sweaty and perfumed, glorious and imperfect, with a 17-mile lakefront that is the envy of the world. Saturday Night Live and Lems Bar-B-Q. True story: I was bicycling along the lakefront thirty years ago and paused for a moment in the drift of a black family's picnic, ribs and corn simmering on their grill. The father glanced over.
"Smells good, don't it?" "Sure does." "Well climb off that bike and come over and have some."
Where else does that happen? All Chicago is home to junkyard-dogs, whether from the Gold Coast or the ghetto, Lincoln Park or Cicero. Ilhan Omar would love it.
Image Credit: Salon