The War on Words
Congressman Steven King, of Iowa, is under fire in the House of Representatives because of comments he made recently asking when white nationalism, white supremacy and western civilization became offensive words. His history includes other questionably prejudicial or racist remarks.
He says his words were distorted and taken out of context by The New York Times, and that he was simply defending the value of western civilization, not white supremacy.
House Republican leadership has stripped him of his committee assignments. Other Republicans are denouncing him and suggesting he resign, stating he is clearly not capable of representing his constituents fairly. Some Democrats are moving to censure him, this reprimand coming only one step above removing him from office.
This response sounds highly appropriate, especially considering his past offenses. Unusual, though, is that he is being punished by his own party, Republicans.
President Donald Trump, known for personal attacks and distinctly thoughtless tweets, was also roundly criticized by his party for his failure to publicly criticize Vladimir Putin after the Helsinki meeting of last year.
Keith Ellison (D., MN) and Democratic National Committee vice chairman, and Gregory Meeks (D. NY), and Andre Carson (D., IN) met for a dinner hosted in September 2013 by Hassan Rouhani, Iranian president that included Louis Farrakhan, who, among other things, says Jews were behind the September 11 attack on America’s World Trade Center.
Mr. Ellison lied about the time his association with Mr. Farrakhan ended when running for DNC chairman. New York Sen. Chuck Schumer’s response, according to a February 8, 2018, article in The Wall Street Journal was: “I’m not worried about the Israel thing.”
Maxine Waters (D., CA), while incessantly calling for the impeachment of President Trump, has called on fellow liberals to harass and persecute members of the Trump Administration and his supporters while they’re living their personal lives, even going so far as demonstrations in front of their homes. “Tell them you are not welcome here!”
Congressman Nancy Pelosi (D., CA), while mildly disapproving of Ms. Waters’ comments, blamed them on the atmosphere created by President Trump. Senator Schumer gently expressed disapproval. There were, otherwise, no repercussions for Ms. Waters.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D. MN), at a press-covered MoveOn.org reception after her swearing in stated: “We’re gonna impeach the MF-er!”
Although Republican leaders were quick to criticize her, House Speaker Pelosi’s response was that she didn’t approve of the remark, but wasn’t in the censure business, and that Congressman Tlaib’s comments wouldn’t have been so harshly criticized if she were a man. Other Democrats commented that she was channeling their frustration with the Trump Administration.
So, kudos to the Republican leadership for their stand on Representative King, and a big thumbs down to Democrats for tolerating and even encouraging such behavior, along with their extreme tolerance for frequent comparisons between the Trump Administration and Nazi Germany.
The American people have been treated to many such comments over the past two years, from former Attorney General Eric Holder’s comment that “When Republicans go low, we kick them;” to Madonna’s “I’ve been thinking a lot about blowing up the White House;” to Peter Fonda’s comment, with a later apology, that Barron Trump should be in the care of pedophiles; to Kathy Griffith’s display of a simulation of the severed head of the president.
The American news media, and quick-to-post social media players, share the blame for the acceptance of such comments, and frequently misinterpret comments from President Trump and his supporters. When Mr. Trump, in his infamous recorded conversation with Billy Bush, said, “You could even grab them by their genitals,” his comment was reported as an admission that he did so.
Rudy Giuliani just apologized for saying he had no knowledge of collusion with Russia by the Trump campaign, widely interpreted and reported to mean he believed there was collusion.
The take away: if you’re on the Republican side, don’t speak in public without being misinterpreted by both the press and social media, and held accountable by your own party. If you’re a liberal, say whatever you like wherever you like.
There might be a few short-lived consequences if you’re beyond abhorrent, but everyone will soon get over it.
And, no surprise here, President Trump and the Republican Party are responsible for the virulence and discord so widespread in present day society.