Tucker Carlson has delivered some abhorrent, racist, dangerous rants over the years but his latest against Rep. Ilhan Omar might genuinely be his absolute worst ever.
Since taking office, Rep. Omar has not held back when talking about the aspects of the country she sees as needing improvement. In a recent profile in the Washington Post, she describes the racism, classism, and Islamophobia she’s seen since she first came here as a child and a refugee. She talks about the disappointment in realizing firsthand the difference between America the myth and America the reality.
“I grew up in an extremely unjust society, and the only thing that made my family excited about coming to the United States was that the United States was supposed to be the country that guaranteed justice to all,” she recently told a group of high school students. “So, I feel it necessary for me to speak about that promise that’s not kept.”
This fight to expand the reach of the American Dream was what inspired her to run for office. Yes, much about life in this country is disappointing for so many people and communities and that means there’s work to be done. But when Donald Trump says he wants to “make America great,” he’s cheered on by conservatives. When Omar says it, Tucker Carlson calls her not just “annoying,” but “living proof that the way we practice immigration has become dangerous to this country.”
“Virtually every public statement she makes accuses Americans of bigotry and racism,” he said, and accused her of having “undisguised contempt for the United States and for its people.” The implication here is that despite being a citizen and even a member of Congress, Omar herself could never be one of the country’s people.
Carlson’s message seems to be that immigrants and refugees are supposed to live in quiet, obsequious gratitude forever. They can never criticize the immigration process or the systems designed to keep them in poverty. “After everything that America has done for Omar, and for her family, she hates this country more than ever,” says Carlson. He claims that “some of the very people we try hardest to help have come to hate us passionately.”
“Maybe that’s our fault, for asking too little of our immigrants,” he says. “We aren’t self-confident enough to make them assimilate so they never feel fully American.”
Yes, Carlson is using a woman who came to the U.S. as a refugee and rose to break multiple barriers and become a member of the United States Congress as an example of people not feeling “fully American” and not contributing enough to American society.
He also says that maybe the problem is that we’re “importing people from places whose values are simply antithetical to ours.” And again, despite the fact that Omar is a citizen and a lawmaker, it’s very clear whose values he means by “ours” and that in his eyes, she will always be a them.
It is not exaggerating to say that Carlson’s words are dangerous and have real potential to inspire violence against Omar as well as other immigrants and Muslim communities.