It appears as though we’ve reached another turning point in our national dialogue because just when you think it can’t get any worse, it actually does. Donald Trump’s heated tweets about “The Squad” in response to the disagreements between Nancy Pelosi and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding was a shot heard around the world.
The President tweeted last week, “why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”
In less than a week the controversy went from Pelosi to AOC, to Trump and then on Rep. Ilhan Omar. Last Wednesday at a campaign rally in Greenville, N.C. the crowd broke into a chant of “send her back” referencing Trump’s racist tweet. So many things have transpired since the infamous tweet and the subsequent rally chant, that it’s hard to remember why it began in the first place. The fact is, Pelosi’s choice to side with moderate Democrats rather than the vulnerable communities represented by “The Squad” have set both the tone and the groundwork for Trump’s continued attacks.
The “Squad” is a very Racist group of troublemakers who are young, inexperienced, and not very smart. They are pulling the once great Democrat Party far left, and were against humanitarian aid at the Border…And are now against ICE and Homeland Security. So bad for our Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2019
In June, The House passed a $4.6 billion Senate Bill to send emergency humanitarian aid to the border. It was also a Bill fervently opposed by ACO, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley. Gaslighting much? Although the conversation has fixated on getting money to children in immigrant prisons as soon as possible, there is no guarantee that the money will be spent that way. The White House previously rejected a different version of the Bill with language that would have prevented the money from being used to fund immigration enforcement. The new Congress also insisted that the Bill should include more protections for migrants as well as higher standards of care.
Instead of fighting for legislation that wouldn’t directly fund U.S. Border Patrol and ICE, Pelosi went with Trump’s loophole version. We’ll just have to hope for the best is apparently a political position these days. Democrats are still seeing this as a victory while at the same time acting like AOC, Omar, Tlaib, and Pressley are simply nitpicking at the Bill.
Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan, co-chair of the progressive caucus, argued that moderates prioritized leaving for recess instead of supporting the key changes that progressives wanted in the Senate bill. He tweeted “Since when did the Problem Solvers Caucus become the Child Abuse Caucus? Wouldn’t they want to at least fight against contractors who run deplorable facilities? Kids are the only ones who could lose today.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told the Washington Post that when Pelosi’s targeted comments first started, she “kind of thought that she was keeping the progressive flank at more of an arm’s distance in order to protect more moderate members,” which AOC says was understandable. She also stated that Pelosi has been singling out “newly elected women of color,” saying, “it got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful.”
So far everything BIPOC women in Congress do is labeled “angry,” “fiery,” “difficult,” or something of the like. These are, of course, all the familiar racial microaggressions reserved for women of color who use their voices in any way. In actuality, they’re just doing their jobs by trying to do right by their constituents. The sad thing is that moderate members of Congress consider fulfilling your campaign promises “radical” and “unrealistic.”
Pelosi has continued to mock the only women who are fighting for the values of the communities they came from. She went on to say that “all these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world. But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.” Cuz ya know, they’re only famous on Twitter. It’s not like they won with the help of grassroots campaigns or anything.
So, ask yourself, can we really be that shocked at Trump’s venom when so much of the time it comes from within the Democratic party? Moderates seem perfectly comfortable with coded racism, but once it’s overt they want to condemn it — as they did in a nonbinding measure that is basically just lip service. Our lawmakers seem more concerned with the term “racism” than they are with the white supremacy they continue to enforce in Congress. So which brand do you prefer, white supremacy pro or lite? Ultimately they both serve the same function. One is just more efficient.
The conversation has turned back to whether or not Pelosi is a racist and reminding everyone that this ain’t her first or even 1000th rodeo. No one is saying Pelosi hasn’t worked her way up and earned her battle scars. But there seems to be a focus on her status rather than the issues at hand, being that Democrats just gave ICE and Border Patrol a whole lot of money.
“You cannot ignore the young people of this country who are passionate about economic, racial and social and environmental justice. You’ve got to bring them in, not alienate them,” Bernie Sanders said on NBC’s Meet The Press.
At the end of the day, Democrats need to accept that the landscape of America has changed. They also need to understand that they have a finite amount of time to get with the program or we’ll get another four years of the Trump administration – although it’s safe to say his influence will extend beyond his presidency. Perhaps our sense of outrage and urgency comes from a place only marginalized communities can understand. White moderates, liberals, and Republicans can all withstand another four years of Trump because they are not the ones being kidnapped and put in cages.