It has been a tough 2019 already for the Democrats. As they expected to rise anew in D.C. with their takeover of the House in November 2018, their agenda has frequently been stalled by unforeseen challenges. Brash freshman newcomers have made the process difficult with demands, naive policies, and very questionable behavior.
Between the need to rein in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and then dealing with the PR fallout from the highly touted but lowly regarded Green New Deal there was the recidivist way Ilhan Omar has been incapable of refraining from making anti-semitic remarks. The House was actually compelled to draw up a resolution to rebuke the newly-arrived Congresswoman, but they only managed in passing a neutered document that ultimately read completely differently than its stated goal; the end product essentially reads, “Don’t say mean stuff to anyone.”
In the Florida legislature bills have been drawn up to combat anti-semitism, with the stated purpose being to stand in opposition to the seeming permissive attitude in Washington regarding the matter. Rep. James Grant (R-Tampa), held the vote in the state House citing the debate over Omar’s comments, specifically when she accused the US government was showing an “allegiance to a foreign country.” The bill will require schools and colleges to treat allegations of anti-Semitism the same as they would allegations of racial discrimination.
“Washington,” said Grant, “seemingly doesn’t have the spine to make this statement.” A co-sponsor of the bill was Rep. Randy Fine (R-Melbourne Beach), who added to the focus on D.C. inactivity. “When you have open anti-Semites serving in Congress, it’s important that the state of Florida take a strong stand against this sort of thing,” said the Jewish politician.
The bill breezed through the house without a single vote of opposition. However once it was taken up by the Senate things changed. On Monday Senate Democratic Leader Audrey Gibson voted against the Senate version of the bill. “I will tell you this kind of thing is what creates divisiveness in this country,” said the minority leader. It’s an intentional piece of legislation to divide.”
Rather a curious choice of wording, considering the thrust of the bill is meant to curb the very behavior that has been divisive in nature. Gibson’s explanation was that she was concerned that the bill only addressed one particular religion. She then invoked the news of recent black churches that have been firebombed, by way of explaining her position. This is a curious detail to provide, given that no members of Congress have been speaking in support of church burnings.
Gibson’s opposition here, and her use of broadening language, is perfectly reflective of that impotent resolution that the House Democrats drew up. They underwent numerous rewrites on their resolution, beginning with condemnation of anti-semitic remarks, and then broadening to include bad language towards all faiths, ethnicities, and various societal sub-categories, while invoking a list of troublesome groups they deem a threat. Ilhan Omar — the sole inspiration of the resolution — escaped the final draft without being mentioned at all, and the document supposedly addressing anti-semitism had an additional segment noting Islamophobia as a bad look.
What is it about the Democrats that they seem so trigger shy in condemning this type of language? It was just months ago they were perfectly content to accuse the Trump administration frequently with the charge that he was fostering this exact type of intolerance. Yet when they are faced with an opportunity to make a direct statement of opposition they turn timid and show a fear of being labeled as something else entirely.
The result is the problem is not going away, it is festering on their watch.