This is one of those days I will not listen to the news as I drive my daughters to preschool and day camp. Not because I worry about them hearing about yet another school shooting or another child dying while in ICE custody. They will understand those events are horrific. I refuse to turn it on because I cannot bear for them to get the idea at their young age that there could ever be a debate as to whether President Trump telling Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), four women of color, to go back where they came from is racist or not. To deny the president is racist is to deny the plain truth.
Last night, only four Republicans voted for a resolution to condemn the president’s remarks. Four. The rest of the GOP members of Congress are either racists themselves or they are too cowardly to have any business representing anyone. It is no surprise that the Arkansas delegation all voted against the resolution. They have made it clear they are the president’s men through and through. Trump first. Arkansas second.
My daughters are white. They will probably never hear a statement like Trump’s latest directed to them here in Arkansas, but, as much as I want to shelter them from the world, they need to know there are those would say such a thing to their friends, teachers and family members. They need to be ready to stand up against those bullies. When the school year starts up again, we all know there will be kids who, having heard their parents defend the president’s remarks, say similar things to their classmates. I do not want mine to even think for a second there could be “both sides” to this issue. There should be no gray area here. There should be no doubt these comments are part of Trump’s long pattern of ugly comments based on race, national origin and gender. As Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) pointed out yesterday, federal law classifies the statements Trump made as discriminatory harassment based on national origin, meaning it is against the law to say such comments to a coworker because such comments are racist. How hard is this to understand?
Will Trump-supporting teachers and principals allow this type of talk in school? Will evangelicals laugh and call it a joke when their own kids taunt classmates and tell them to go back where they came from? To show my girls how what we should expect from those in government, I will play the video of Ocasio-Cortez responding to the Trump by telling all the children in the United States that “no matter what the president says, this country belongs to you.” Because it does, no matter what our racist president says or how the sorry bunch of U.S. representatives from Arkansas vote.