Ingratitude is a crime more despicable than revenge, which is only
returning evil for evil, while ingratitude returns evil for good.
— William George Jordan
Conventional wisdom would suggest that a person who spent her early childhood in a poverty-stricken, war-torn country and then was gifted with asylum in the richest, most tolerant, and generous country in the world would feel some measure of gratitude towards it.
Not so for Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who represents Minnesota’s fifth congressional district. According to Omar, her life in “Trump’s America”:
[Is] an everyday assault. Every day, a part of your identity is threatened, demonized, and vilified. (Vogue Arabia)
Coming to America
Omar was born in Somalia (1981) and spent her first nine years there. As Somalia devolved into a vicious civil war, her family fled to a Kenyan refugee camp, where she spent the next four years. In 1995, her family was granted asylum in the U.S.
Shortly after their initial arrival in New York, Omar’s family moved to Minneapolis, which hosts the largest Somali refugee population in the U.S. She became an American citizen in 2000.
Omar’s rise to prominence after her arrival in the U.S. reads like a classic immigrant success story. Following her 2011 graduation from North Dakota State University, she was employed by the University of Minnesota and became involved in local and state politics.
From 2012 through 2015, Omar served as campaign manager for two DFL (Democrat Farmer-Labor) Party candidates. In 2016, she ran for and was elected to the Minnesota State Senate on the DFL ticket.
Following Rep. Keith Ellison’s announcement that he would not run in the 2018 midterm election as the representative for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, Omar ran for his seat. She won easily, as this Minneapolis district is so heavily Democratic that her DFL endorsement virtually guaranteed her election.
Wearing the hijab
Whether for religious and/or cultural reasons, Omar follows the tradition of head covering for women that is strictly enforced in many Islamic countries. Following her election, this became an issue, as it conflicted with a long-standing (since 1837) rule prohibiting the wearing of a head covering on the House floor.
Although Omar constantly berates America for treating Muslims as “second class citizens,” the House voted to eliminate its 182-year-old ban on head covering solely to accommodate her. (While Omar and her fellow Democrats lauded this elimination as a victory for “tolerance” and “diversity,” the fact that women are forced to cover their heads in Somalia and many other Islamic countries seemed lost on them.)
Blame America First
Jeanne Kirkpatrick (Reagan’s ambassador to the U.N.) famously excoriated the “blame America first” crowd of revisionist historians and other critics of American foreign policy (mainly on the left) who defaulted to blaming U.S. intervention for virtually every international crisis and/or problem.
As of this writing, Omar has been in Congress for almost 5 months. In this short time, she has emerged as the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s most vocal proponent of “blame America first,” accusing the U.S. of fomenting “perpetual war and aggression.”
Black Hawk Down: Given her personal history, one might expect a few kind words from Omar concerning America’s humanitarian intervention in Somalia during the 1990s, including the “Black Hawk Down” battle (which claimed the lives of 18 U.S. servicemen).
No such consideration from Omar, whose sympathies apparently lie with our dead soldiers’ attackers. In response to a 2017 tweet memorializing the battle, Omar observed that
In his selective memory, he forgets to also mention the thousands of Somalis killed by the American forces that day!
The 9/11 Attack: Omar’s most controversial statement to date was delivered in her speech to a CAIR convention (March 23, 2019), during which she appeared to trivialize the most traumatic event in recent American history.
For Omar, the primary significance of 9/11 was not the immolation of thousands of her fellow citizens by Islamic terrorists. Rather, it was a perceived threat to her and other Muslims’ “civil liberties”:
…here’s the truth, here’s the truth, far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen. And frankly, I’m tired of it. And every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it. CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.
Venezuela: Instead of acknowledging the fact that the socialist policies of the Chavez and Maduro regimes have wrecked the Venezuelan economy to the point of mass starvation, Omar blames the U.S.:
You know, I mean, a lot of the policies that we have put in place has kind of helped lead the devastation in Venezuela. And we’ve sort of set the stage for where we’re arriving today. (2019 “Democracy Now!” interview*)
*This interview offers the best insight (to date) on Omar’s personal and political views. It may be found at https://www.democracynow.org/2019/5/1/im_a_survivor_of_war_i
From her prestigious seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Omar also excoriated America for its Reagan-era “war crimes” in Central America, implying that they are still occurring. This criticism was made in the context of a vicious personal attack on Elliott Abrams (Assistant Secretary of State under Reagan):
Omar asked Abrams if he would “support an armed faction within Venezuela that engages in war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide if you believed they were serving U.S. interests, as you did in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.” (USA Today)
Immigration: Calling efforts to seal the border “racist and sinful,” Omar advocates abolishing ICE, supporting sanctuary cities, ending the “caging” of children, and prosecuting Border Patrol and other officials for violating the human rights of migrant detainees.
In Omar’s view, America’s inhumane immigration policies are inextricably linked to her own perceived victimization:
[her critics] cannot stand that a refugee, a black woman, an immigrant, a Muslim, shows up in Congress thinking she’s equal to them. (2019 Democracy Now! Interview)
“American hate is not new…”
Ilhan Omar’s America is a dark and intolerant place which not only relegates her and other minorities to “second class citizen” status but foments war and aggression abroad. Her sense of personal victimization is implied in a 2019 tweet directed at Trump:
You have trafficked in hate your whole life—against Jews, Muslims, Indigenous, immigrants, black people and more…
Considering Omar’s ungrateful and jaundiced opinion of America, it’s fair to ask this question:
What would Omar’s life be like if she and her family had not been granted asylum in America?
> How long would she and her family have continued to languish in a squalid refugee camp?
> Would another country have offered her the same educational and employment opportunities, personal freedom, and success that she has had in America?
> Would another country have offered her the opportunity to campaign for and win high political office?
> Would another country’s legislature have eliminated a 182-year old rule solely to accommodate her religious preference (wearing the hijab)?
Omar’s mostly negative attitude towards America confirms the truism that ingratitude is one of the least attractive of human traits.