Friday, March 8, 2019
The House Anti-Hate Bill...Was Good?
There was some reason to consider the Anti-Hate bill as somewhat reactionary--as in, it was a reaction to D.-MN Rep. Ilhan Omar once again running a bit afoul of what is considered correct language with respects to use of anti-Semitic tropes, but it was written not with this Representative only in mind, or with anti-Semitism only in mind, but as a general resolution broadly condemning hate, which seemed quite appropriate:
How does a deliberative body serve the needs and interests of a diverse nation, where hate language proliferates even amongst them?
It was overwhelmingly passed, with all Democrats voting in the affirmative, with 23 Republicans voting "nay" and Rep. Steve King only voting "present". It did not single out Rep. Omar, nor did it single out anti-Semitism only. But the voting found 23 Republicans who were not interested in supporting this anti-hate bill.
Now, I have tried to hold Rep. Omar's history in perspective, in that I don't want to unfairly judge what she has said and I do recognize her perspective is different. And if a white gentile woman's advice means anything, I could counsel that she refrain from comment regarding Israel right now and listen to how others speak about it for the time being, and especially what Jewish people have to say, because allyship begins with not always leading with one's own views--but I'm sure she is getting all kinds of advice, counsel, warning, and sadly, outright threats. I'm also not interested in the tears of my fellow white privileged gentile lady, Meghan McCain. Rep. Omar is not advancing the George Soros slur that influenced the vicious bigot that killed 11 people in Squirrel Hill or endangering the nation of Israel by her words. She is talking about lobbying on behalf of an actual country called Israel that has interests apart from US interests which need not get an immediate sign-off from US representatives when we also have stakes to consider. That is not dangerous--it's just pragmatic.
Maybe, just maybe, someone working for the Federalist appeared on a Tucker Carlson show where it was alleged that George Soros was funding caravans, is that a sign that the right has a problem? If the name of the person bringing up Soros' name was Horowitz, would that make a difference? If it was Omar, would it mean something different? Maybe the RW in the US also has a little problem, and we all have a big one--how to not use identity issues as a wedge, but always respect that all people simply have identities.
This consideration shows up in the vote totals regarding this resolution with the 23 GOP people who decided to be very circumspect about the kind of hate they intended to oppose. Maybe Louie Gohmert hates anti-Semitism, but still needs other people to hate. Mo Brooks, Lee Zeldin, Paul Gosar--there aren't a lot of surprises in this list. Liz Cheney comes close to being a surprise, but she's an Islamophobe who is pro-torture and tried to throw her sister's marriage under the bus for an election, so, well, so, so typical.
Every Democrat was willing to commit to the idea that hate was bad. 23 Republicans explicitly did not, but needed clarifications and conditions about the hate they might still have some use for.
And in the interim--let's recognize that not being hateful does not mean we can't look at the US/Israel connection critically. Should individuals and businesses be abridged from boycotting the goods and services of a country if they don't agree with the country's policies? Middle East issues and especially those of Israel and Palestine are deeply complex. This requires dialogue--where we recognize subtleties of local perspective and stakeholding, for example. We can rise above hate--but not while staying partisans who need to spit a little hate on everything.