Bigoted remarks from politicians a cause for concern


At a recent speaking engagement, Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado (left) told an anecdote suggesting that Rep. Illhan Omar of Minnesota (right), a Muslim, is a terrorist.

The United States regularly sees an influx of immigrants. Despite the often repeated factually incorrect argument, immigrants are not a huge drain on the American economy. In fact, overall, working immigrants are beneficial to the economy as they pay income tax while often not benefitting from it as much as American citizens do. Also, despite claims to the contrary, non-working immigrants cannot collect unemployment benefits.

However, immigrants are often berated with hateful speech and violence despite their contribution to society. Polling indicates that about 65 percent of Americans say that racism has become more common, and about 52 percent of U.S. Hispanics say they have experienced some form of racism.

Recently, Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert of Colorado told a story regarding Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, a Somalian immigrant. Boebert mentioned that when Omar entered the elevator she was on, she was grateful that Omar didn’t have a backpack; backpacks sometimes being a way terrorists carry explosive devices into crowds. Boebert also called Omar a member of the “Jihad Squad.” Obviously, Boebert was implying that Omar, being Muslim, is a terrorist. 

Many students feel strongly that this was an instance of extreme racism. “What Boebert said isn’t right and shouldn’t have been said to Omar,” expressed Olympic Heights sophomore Evan David. He believes Boebert’s comments were outright disrespectful and completely out of line. 

“This clearly puts out how disdainful and hurtful politicians can be in regards to their views and morals,” said OH senior Zidane Saleh. “Being Muslim, I think that her comments and ‘jokes’ are uncalled for, considering how she was not taking into consideration how other people might think of her ideals.” 

Saleh explains how a politician’s words have so much influence behind them and can greatly affect the opinions of their supporters. Saleh questions how others may interpret Boebert’s racist comments. 

Other Congresspersons believe that Boebert should be removed from Congress. “[Islamophobia] has no place in the halls of Congress and it diminishes the honor of the institution that we all serve in,” Representative Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts announced. Pressley understands the struggle of marginalized individuals, and has little tolerance for Boebert’s inflammatory remarks. 

David said, “Congress should strip her from her job for an amount of time based on the severity of her actions even if they were verbal and not physical.” Saleh agrees with David and isn’t confident that action will be taken against Boebert since Congress tends to overlook incidents like this. 

In fact, Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has yet to condemn Boebert’s statements, even though people have called on him to publicly do so. Omar expressed how disappointed she was in McCarthy, and called him a “coward and a liar.”  Obviously, it’s hard to strip a Congressperson of their title without the support of the House Leader. 

Omar and Boebert talked on the phone, where Boebert supposedly apologized for her comments, but still refuses to apologize publicly. When the call became unproductive, Omar hung up. Some students, including David and Saleh, feel that Boebert’s relationship with Omar is past the point of reconciliation. 

“I don’t think there is anything Boebert could say… there is no level of respect,” David said. David feels that Boebert instigated this argument, so Omar should feel no obligation to respect Boebert, as respect is mutual between two individuals. 

Americans question what comments such as Boebert’s say about America and its leaders. Many people shrug them off as insignificant while many believe that they will inspire Islamophobia and xenophobia. Both David and Saleh agree that racist statements such as Boebert’s, which are becoming more commonplace, will definitely bring more hate to America. 

According to Rolling Stone,Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) played a nasty, racist, threatening voicemail she received after a viral video showed Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) suggesting Omar, a Muslim, was a terrorist.”

One example of the threatening messages Omar received was from an unidentified male published by CNN. The message said, “We know what you are. You’re a [explicit] traitor.” The message went on to say she wouldn’t be alive much longer. This is a direct threat to her life. Omar has received threats before, but not instigated by other members of Congress. 

Saleh believes that these types of blatantly racist comments “could potentially spark untrue beliefs among young people leading them to believe that all Muslims are terrorists, which is not true whatsoever.” Clearly, Saleh is concerned about how younger generations will view Boebert’s comments and assume that their Muslim classmates and friends are terrorists.  

“The ideology and social propaganda she is spreading will influence others to perceive Muslims as this ‘other’ or negative influence in society,” said David. Like Saleh, David is frightened that people will be influenced to believe that all Muslims are terrorists.

House lawmakers have since passed an Omar-backed bill regarding Islamophobia, following the incident with Boebert. According to ABC, the bill “requires the U.S. State Department to create a Special Envoy for monitoring and combating Islamophobia and include state-sponsored Islamophobic violence and impunity in the Department’s annual human rights reports.’’

The passing of the bill will “‘help policymakers better understand the interconnected, global problem of anti-Muslim bigotry.’ It will also establish a ‘comprehensive strategy for establishing U.S. leadership in combatting Islamophobia worldwide,’ according to a summary of the bill,” ABC reported.