That thing some people did that one time

FILE - In this March 6, 2019, file photo, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., sits with fellow Democrats on the House Education and Labor Committee during a bill markup, on Capitol Hill in Washington. President Donald Trump is weighing in on the most recent controversy involving Omar, retweeting video edited to suggest that the Minnesota congresswoman was dismissive of the significance of the Sept. 11 attacks. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Over the weekend, the political arena was lit ablaze yet again after word emerged that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) made a ridiculously negligent statement last month during a speech. The thoughtlessness of these particular words was infraction enough, but far more petulant was Omar’s doubling down and the left’s willingness to defend her.

Speaking at a Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) banquet, Rep. Omar stated the following:

“For 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.”

First of all, CAIR was founded in 1994, nearly a decade before the September 11th terrorist attacks; and Muslims are treated far better in America than anywhere else on the planet. Aside from that, there is something much larger here in case you missed it.

Omar, a sitting U.S. congresswoman, referenced the September 11th terrorist attacks—the deadliest in American history—as “some people did something.” Let’s rehash that thing some people did that one time a while back.

At 9:59 a.m. on September 11, 2001, the South Tower collapsed less than an hour after hijackers flew United Airlines Flight 175 directly into it. The North Tower, which was struck by American Airlines Flight 11, fell at 10:28 a.m. exactly 51 minutes after hijackers crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon. Less than half an hour prior, United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania at 10:03 a.m. while passengers attempted to subdue the terrorists on board.

2,977 Americans were killed during this attack—including 412 firefighters, law enforcement officers and first responders—many of whom woke up that morning, kissed their children and spouses goodbye and said they’d be home for dinner. Instead, they were incinerated on impact, burned alive, crushed to death or plummeted toward the sidewalk having chosen to jump rather than sear.

Some people did something. Remember?

Those words amount to one of the most utterly negligent and asinine statements I've heard a politician let slip—and I listen to President Trump every day. Yet, legitimately all Omar had to do was publicly acknowledge the laxity of her statement. Instead she doubled down, citing President George W. Bush’s post-attack declaration that “the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon” as somehow evidencing the preposterous notion that “Bush [was] downplaying the terrorist attack”—the very terrorist attacks that he sent America to war over.

Speaking of war, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) naturally had some words for Omar, tweeting, “First Member of Congress to ever describe terrorists who killed thousands of Americans on 9/11 as ‘some people who did something.’ [sic] Unbelievable.” The Fresh Face™ of the Democratic Party, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), responded, “In 2018, right-wing extremists were behind almost ALL US domestic terrorist killings. Why don’t you go do something about that?”

There is something widely endearing about Ocasio-Cortez questioning Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL’s, commitment to combatting terrorism considering that he was legitimately deployed to Iraq to fight terrorists and had his eye blown out by an IED.

With Crenshaw apparently needing to defend his record of service, the left has felt the need to dive in front of the spit in defense of Ilhan Omar.

“I saw the speech she gave and I saw nothing wrong with it,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS).

“[Omar] won't back down to Trump's racism and hate, and neither will we,” declared Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in response to President Trump’s tweet of 9/11 coverage spliced repeatedly with Omar’s direct quote. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) added, “The President is inciting violence against a sitting Congresswoman.”

Speech is not violence.

Directly quoting Omar is not incitement. There is a distinction to be made between legitimate criticism of Omar’s garbage and actual threats of violence which are illegal and ought to land the perpetrators in prison immediately. Omar spoke carelessly and the left has erroneously thrown its collective weight behind her. Muddying the divide between free speech and actual incitement, the left’s condemnation of reasonable criticism from the right is evidence that they’re losing their grasp on the First Amendment.

Furthermore, if this latest defense is any indication, the radical left seems to have forgotten all about that thing some people did that one time.


Kevin Catapano is a columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at kevin.catapano@uconn.edu.