By Fred Trzcinski
The jackals have been unleashed!
The venom and the smears have been spreading daily, notably targeting three of our newest congressional representatives, viz., Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. Besides being “freshman” Members of our Congress, they happen to be women of color, outspoken, well-educated, young and smart as the dickens! Oh, and by the way, two of them are (Gasp!) Muslims.
In my opinion, the attacks on the aforementioned individuals have reached their zenith with the publication of the New York Post’s cover page this past April 11th. With a backdrop of the horrific burning World Trade Center, Representative Omar was grossly misquoted regarding 9/11. With no pun intended, the cover was inflammatory, insensitive, racist, hateful and outrageously misleading. Seemingly, by impulse and no surprise to anyone, our president jumped into the fray to add fuel to the firestorm by tweeting his own hateful and misleading video. Fox News and various right-wing pundits piled on with their own diatribes.
Sadly, the April 11th piece is just the tip of the iceberg as to what the far right media have been spewing since the election of these three Members of Congress. Representative Tlaib quickly attracted right wing wrath when she used an expletive (Oh horrors!) while suggesting that President Trump should be impeached. Given our president’s expletive use (think of the Billy Bush interview on the bus), she was probably thinking that such language is the new Washington norm. Nevertheless, Tlaib was incessantly attacked.
Even more notable, Omar early on touched the “third rail”, criticizing the
relationship between our nation’s leadership and the Israeli lobbies and “allegiance to Israel”. A firestorm erupted and as published in the April 1st edition of the The Nation, “irate lobby officials demanded that the Democratic House leadership punish Omar for what they falsely claimed was her use of an anti-Semitic slur regarding Jews and dual loyalty— words and meaning that she never spoke or implied.” And of course we all know that Israeli lobbyists have little, if any, influence upon our elections or legislation. It is just the right thing to do to funnel billions of dollars each year to Israel rather than support the people of Flint, Michigan or Puerto Rico (Wink! Wink!).
Turning attention to Representative AOC, she has genuinely been fresh meat for the right-wing media. In particular she has been, and continues to be attacked for her support of “The Green New Deal” which addresses climate change and income inequality. Frankly, a day does not seem to go by when the New York Post or Fox News does not attack or mischaracterize what either of our three new representatives have to say or do.
The same seems to be true for our president and his attacks on anyone who dares to speak truth to power.
Lastly, and perhaps most disturbing has been the silence and absence of support for these three courageous representatives from their more senior colleagues of their very own party. Not much from Senators Schumer or Gillibrand. Not much from Speaker Pelosi. And so it goes.