Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Anti-Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Too

Though Protestant, I must be anti-Protestant, for I dislike Donald Trump, a professed Presbyterian, Mike Pence (Catholic turned evangelical Protestant), and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, presumed to be the Baptist her father is.

On Monday Ilhan Omar tweeted

Stephen Miller is a white nationalist. The fact that he still has influence on policy and political appointments is an outrage.

Slamming Omar, GOP strategist, Trump campaign adviser and Orthodox Jew Jeff Ballabon remarked

The fact is, Jews are not only minority. Jews are the most victimized minority in this country, far more than blacks, Muslims and women, which is what Ilhan Omar keeps on being characterized as though she’s being attacked.

That's an actual quote from one of Stephen Miller's defenders, another of whom is Donald Trump:

'What’s completely unacceptable is for Congesswoman [sic] Omar to target Jews, in this case Stephen Miller.' Jeff Ballabon, B2 Strategic, CEO. @Varneyco," Trump tweeted, referencing a segment on Fox Business Network.

Eager to please the boss, Representative Lee Zeldin of New York tweeted "During my time in Congress before @IlhanOmar got here, I didn't once witness another Member target Jewish people like this with the name calling & other personal attacks. In 2019 though, for @IlhanOmar, this is just called Monday."

For Lee Zeldin (and Donald Trump). this is just called dishonest.   Omar did not criticize a Jew; she criticized someone she considered a white nationalist who happens to be Jewish, whose religion would have escaped the attention of most of America if the President hadn't pointed it out.

Successfully straining to be objective, Eric Levitz explains

Reasonable people can disagree about whether or not it is worth maintaining a semantic distinction between individuals who openly identify as white nationalists and those whose words and deeds betray an ideological commitment to maintaining the United States as a majority-white nation.... But we do know that he has tried to ban Chinese students from American universities and pushed for the deportation of Vietnamese refugees who have been in the United States for decades — a policy with no national-security, economic, or assimilationist rationale. We also know that Miller reportedly told a colleague, “I would be happy if not a single refugee foot ever again touched American soil”; and a middle-school classmate, that they couldn’t be friends anymore because of the classmate’s “Latino heritage.” And we know that he wrote in his high-school yearbook, quoting Teddy Roosevelt, “There can be no fifty-fifty Americanism in this country. There is room here for only 100 percent Americanism, only for those who are Americans and nothing else.”

But as Levitz would understand, facts are not at issue when the objective is to stir up animosity among religious and ethnic groups.  There was no mention or hint of Miller's religion, heritage, or ethnicity in Representative Omar's statement. Maintaining merely "Stephen Miller is a white nationalist" who should not have " influence on policy and political appointments," the congresswoman was criticizing someone impersonating a white supremacist who happens to be Jewish.

The GOP response, invoking anti-Semitism out of thin air, was taken following a particular comment by a particular member of Congress. That would qualify me as anti-Protestant, given that I believe that the entire GOP Congress, about half of which is Protestant, is a pack of cowards cowering before a president doing a bad impersonation of a President, a worse one of a human being.

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