THE MALICE OF THE WICKED: BOEBERT VERSUS OMAR
Lauren Boebert’s racist, anti-Muslim, and xenophobic behavior only reflects the normalization of Islamophobia by the Republican Party that has been going on for 20 years. Still, it is too easy to shrug it off as evidence of the evolution of close-mindedness on the political right. While the lines between fascism and American democracy become obscured, the voices of civil rights figures have failed to tackle the underlying problems of discrimination and appear content to go down without a struggle to mount a viable movement against the agents of bigotry. Instead, Boebert and her clan, consisting of Marjorie Taylor-Greene, Madison Cawthorn, and Paul Gosar, have vigorously peddled their conspiracy theories, muddled truth with klan fiction — a tried-and-true tactic of apartheid regimes.
Their bureaucratic charades have upheld the casual use of assault weaponry, which initiated the kind of murderous actions by a violent cluster of Generation Z who have permitted themselves to become followers of gun-toting symbols of human depravity.
Lauren Boebert, in desperate efforts for attention, would have her insignificant others believe that Muslims are individuals in isolation, not part of a collective whole. The choice to practice Islam should render Muslims enslaved to the service of white people as a result of our fallen nature. If most Americans believe that, an honest examination of the national life just proves how far the United States has fallen from the high standard of equality, human rights, and civil liberties this nation built its reputation on.
You see, words like “freedom,” “justice,” and “democracy” may be common concepts, but, on the contrary, these principles are not easy to maintain. Look at our congressional leaders; how many of them actually know what these words truly stand for? It takes an enormous amount of individual effort to have the tiniest bit of respect for the freshman minority party members that claim to love America but hate American values. These would be the same values that their leader Donald Trump denounced when he declared that “Muslims knew where the terrorists are but refused to turn them in.” Of course, we know where the terrorists are, and so does he. They are in Riyadh and, instead of turning them in, he decided to keep buying their oil and pass the buck. Trump called for a “total and complete ban” on Muslims entering the United States and proceeded to host Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia for lunch at the White House. The formal lunch was purported to be a chance for the two manchildren to discuss stepping up the campaign against Al Qaeda. Odd, since the Saudis invented them.
Ilhan Omar is a long way from Somalia. She migrated to America, where the lives of Muslims are studied, and their personalities are inspected. Politicians often investigate Muslims with an incredible amount of confidence; yet, they know nothing about Muslims. Instead, to come up with distorted conclusions to justify policymaking decisions, they rely on disinformation and dummied up disclosures. Ilhan Omar is not like Lauren Boebert, who needs to rely on generalizations to categorize the understandings of her supporters and justify their prejudices. While Boebert was born in America, Ilhan Omar chose to become an American like millions of other Muslims, who have historically sought to lay claim on this nation’s freedoms even when it leads to fighting the giants of bigotry with superior weaponry of intelligence and patience over inferior gimmicks. Despite the assumptions made about who she is, what she believes and the color of her skin, she is never inclined to hurt America but contributes to its greatness. Yet, some colleagues infer she is behaving criminally, an accusation that deserves no cheers or laughter. Remember, enormous crimes were committed through the amazing venture to invent this world power called America; crimes so immense that we made a legend out of them, as they were inflicted against Native Americans, Black Americans, Japanese people, and caged immigrants.
This country should take a hard look at itself, not at Islam as a reason for its conflict or at Muslims as a cause for its fear. If we cannot make a fair and unbiased observation, we will become one of the most outstanding failures in history. You see, the scope of this country’s vision of humanity includes the preservation of justice and inclusive equality for all peoples, classes, and religions.
Despite prejudice and bigotry, one fearless woman in “hijab” has remained unafraid in her efforts to promote a peaceful and inclusive society that focuses on cooperation and negotiation as preconditions for effective partnerships with allies willing to exercise the same goodwill. So, when a black Muslim woman, whose future and identity are always dictated by others, states that she will control her destiny and exercise the right to reject the identity assigned to her, she is not talking about terrorism; she is talking about her human rights. Ilhan Omar’s stance against occupation has nothing to do with antisemitism. When a Muslim is critical of Israel’s actions or in favor of Palestinian autonomy, it does not indicate hatred of Jewish people. It should be possible to disagree about the Israeli policy of colonization without creating a disinformation campaign that Omar harbors hatred against the State of Israel. Among Jewish communities, opinions are also divided — are they antisemitic?
Robert F. Kenney reminded us that “as we move to extend and deepen government protection of our people we must understand the new meaning of justice- ending the dependency which pervades our social programs, and which is the antithesis of democracy. Our greatest failure is our refusal to recognize their rights as citizens… We must begin to rebuild our sense of community, of human dialogue, of the thousand invisible strands of common experience and purpose, affection and respect that tie men to their fellows.” He said that “the most important, must be the quest for world peace; not the quiet of desolation nor the stability of tyranny, but a world of diversity and progress, in which armaments and violence give way to the forces against reason and compromise which are man’s only hope for survival on earth.”
Corruption of the Constitution has become systemic, and the “American experiment” of Lauren Boebert and her comrades advance their own beliefs, which is that government authority comes from one kind of people, not from the innumerable citizens who make up the country. They would have some Americans to look at those who practice Islam as people with whom they share a country, but not a community; men enclosed by borders but not as brothers.
This nation is justly credited with a number of advancements in civil rights, medical breakthroughs in eras of sudden outbreaks of serious and deadly diseases, and innovative technology. It has reached heights never dreamt of before. However, we have not realized how heavy a price we have paid in the corrupt currency of rage and fury of the political right. We are too familiar with gun violence in our children’s schools and a polluted atmosphere of political impropriety that refuses to stop the growth of organizations that bankroll assault weapons.
The propagation of hate is so intense that individual efforts seem lost to prevent the violent insurrections that fuel treason. Citizen disengagement from political activism is a problem across much of the democratic world, with the public often disinterested and actively hostile to policymakers. This growing cynicism isn’t limited to politicians but skepticism about a democratic process fueled by half-ass maneuvers, which almost appear genetic in the democratic party. Liberals must develop the political muscle and stand up to those who prefer personal gain over the needs of the people or to those who lack the energy and resolve to invigorate a skillful civil rights agenda in which all people are not only said to be equal but are equal.
White Americans, until today, are still astounded and offended if, by some miscalculation, they are led to suspect that the Muslims are not happy where they have been placed. It is an insult to the intelligence of the Islamic community and the intelligence of any minority people to ask Muslims to believe that the most powerful nation in the world cannot do anything to make the lives of its Muslim citizens less oppressive. It is not unable to do it; it is only unwilling.
Khalilah Sabra (@khalilahsabra), Ph.D., LLM; BIA Accredited Representative and Executive Director of MAS Immigrant Justice Center
by the author.