Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) at a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing, July 18, 2019. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
Earlier today, David Harsanyi observed how Representative Ilhan Omar has a familiar playbook whenever she “says something incendiary and/or idiotic.” It mainly involves smearing her critics and claiming to be the victim of efforts to silence her. Rep. Rashida Tlaib is now picking up the baton after House leadership was finally forced to criticize Omar for her conflation of the U.S., Israel, Hamas, and the Taliban.
Freedom of speech doesn’t exist for Muslim women in Congress. The benefit of the doubt doesn’t exist for Muslim women in Congress. House Democratic leadership should be ashamed of its relentless, exclusive tone policing of Congresswomen of color.
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) June 10, 2021
This, of course, is absurd. Omar and Tlaib are free to say whatever they want to and they take advantage of that right frequently. As Israeli civilians were under fire from thousands of rockets recently, the two Congresswomen spent weeks parroting out Hamas talking points without consequence. But freedom of speech also means that other people have the freedom to criticize them when they say dumb things. What’s more, statements by Omar and Tlaib have gotten amplified more than typical junior members of Congress. Tlaib’s tweet lamenting her lack of freedom of speech was sent out to her 1,491, 048 Twitter followers. Omar, meanwhile, has over 3 million. That’s quite a silencing.
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