Let's not deny the importance of an argument because we don't like the way it was phrased.


Ever wish Representative Ilhan Omar would just shut up? Ever wish Donald Trump would do the same?


More important, whose shutting up do you wish for more frequently and more fervently and, I would guess, more justifiably?


If you said Omar, I would respectfully submit that your most frequent source of news is Facebook or Twitter or FoxNews or messenger-raven. If, on the other hand, you selected Mr. Trump, let me congratulate you on (1) your consciousness and (2) your ability to keep listening to him.


We have, every one of us (and especially those of us to traffic in words) have said the wrong thing, or maybe said the right thing in the wrong way. (I could provide my own lengthy alphabetized list that would barely scratch the surface.) Representative Omar is guilty of the latter: in speaking of 9/11 she said that Islamophobes still seize on those attacks to justify their prejudice. Her words: "...some people did something and...all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.” Questionable word choices do not alter the truth of her statement.


The super-patriots (most of the Fox News analysts) and the phony flag-wavers (the president, et al.) took offense at the the phrase, "some people did something," claiming that 9/11 was more than something. But I don't know what's worse: Omar' seeming but unintentional diminution of the September 11 attacks, or the President's continual ease at using the deaths of 3000 Americans as political fodder.


But there's something else at play here: there are patterns of bigotry and misogyny that keep playing themselves out.

  • On the day he declared his candidacy, he declared war on Mexicans;

  • Within the Access Hollywood tapes he declared war on women;

  • With the removal of transgender Americans from the military he declared war on the LGBTQ community;

  • With his "good people on both sides" asininity in Charlottesville, he declared war on people of color;

  • And with his purely apocryphal and patently false story about Muslims cheering the towers' fall, he declared war on Islam.

Unless you're a white American male, Trump doesn't like you. Except, if you're a white woman who can wink at his misogyny, then you're pretty much okay too...or at least okay enough to have a place at the table.


But women of color, they scare the hell out of Trump, from Maxine Waters to AOC. These are the ones who don't know "their place," who speak in voices that rattle the white Republican patriarchy with words that point out bigotry and prejudice. And more bad news for Trump: Stacey Abrams has barely gotten started.


Assuredly Ilhan Omar disconcerts, even intimidates Trump, but as a minority, she is an easy target for a bully like him. But even there Trump faces a problem: Omar doesn't care. She knows that all those Twitter attacks are merely jingoistic palaver from a draft dodging tax-evader.


The same way we know it.





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