Omar’s ‘All Too Human’ Politics of Dehumanization and Disingenuousness

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Oh, boy. The Democrats and the media are pulverizing Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for her comments about President Trump.

On Tuesday, Omar said it was silly to “equate” Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, adding that “one is human” and “the other is really not.”

Omar’s dehumanizing language about Trump drew immediate condemnation from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who wondered if the freshman representative did not “believe in the spark of divinity” and the “dignity and worth of every person.”

Vox published a long think piece on the “disturbing power of dehumanizing language” and emphasized that “dehumanizing rhetoric, even against criminals, is problematic.” Given the way the media has spent the past two years trying to convince us that Trump is a criminal, the implication was clear.

The Southern Poverty Law Center immediately started a petition calling for Omar to stop using dehumanizing rhetoric. Though a notably left-leaning group, the SPLC bravely condemned Omar’s language, noting “this kind of rhetoric is unacceptable from anyone.”

Dozens of commentators pointed out how Omar’s recent anti-Semitic remarks and her lackluster non-apologies and equivocations made her dehumanizing rhetoric all the more ominous. Few articles failed to reference the virulently anti-Semitic dehumanizing tactics of the Nazi party in Germany.

Even Bill Kristol—no fan of Trump, but eager to show everyone that he is even-handedpounced on Omar and said that her comments would “sound better in the original German.”

Well . . . all of this would have happened if Democrats, media, and deranged NeverTrumpers were intellectually honest and consistent. But they aren’t.

Trump’s opponents have long denigrated the president and his supporters—often in dehumanizing terms too numerous to list. It might suffice to note there is a coloring book on sale at Barnes and Noble and Amazon literally titled Trump Is an Animal and a Washington Post column not long ago carried the headline, “President Trump is a pig.”

Most conservatives don’t particularly care—they understand that hyperbole often creeps into political speech and would prefer to assume that few liberals literally think Trump and his supporters are subhuman. The world is a much more beautiful place when you have a sense of humor.

But the fact that the humorless Left never applies that standard to people on the Right yet happily ignores otherwise objectionable rhetoric when their side engages in it is telling.

They don’t really care about the purported dangers of dehumanizing rhetoric. The same way that they don’t care about the alleged triggering caused by sexist humor or casual racism. They only care about these supposed verbal offenses to the extent that they can be “wrapped” around their enemies’ necks “like a noose.”

They are happy to use whatever political weapons they can to gain power at any cost, contradictions and hypocrisy be damned.

Several years ago, I sat in the front row as Yale students threw monopoly money at a Jewish man—the president of the university—for supposedly selling the name of a new residential college. The irony initially was lost on most of the protesters. When I noted that the gesture could be interpreted as anti-Semitic, many guffawed and insisted I failed to appreciate the context.

On the contrary, I did! But I also appreciated the double standard that conservative students would be roundly pulverized in the national media if they had done something similar.

Double standards exhibit bad faith, and it’s increasingly apparent that the Democrats and the media have been engaging in bad faith for a very long time. Many in the conservative establishment have been complicit by prostrating themselves on the altar of progressivism to avoid being compared to Hitler or being called racist, sexist, or any number of other unpleasant names—as though these categories actually meant anything to those who insisted upon our submission to them.

Even most non-establishment conservatives have showed a tremendous willingness to play by the other side’s rules. Few enjoy offending people. But it is beyond abundantly clear that the other side doesn’t care about their own rules and only enforces them when it enhances their power to do so.

The Left wants us to play by the rules of soccer while they play hockey. But it’s not clear who died and made the Left king of the rules of politics. Conservatives would do well to stop taking their cues from the very people who want to defeat them. Otherwise, the political field will always be rigged against them.

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Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

About Karl Notturno

Karl Notturno is a Mount Vernon Fellow of the Center for American Greatness in addition to being an entrepreneur, musician, and writer. He recently graduated from Yale University with degrees in philosophy and history. He can be found on Twitter @karlnotturno.

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