advertisement
advertisement

Ilhan Omar’s social media is the classiest response I can imagine to MAGA bigotry

She’s at the center of racist attacks from the president and his supporters, but by the looks of her Twitter accounts Representative Ilhan Omar is not sweating it.

Ilhan Omar’s social media is the classiest response I can imagine to MAGA bigotry
[Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images]

Late last week, the president of the United States tweeted that four nonwhite U.S. congresswomen, three of whom were born in America, should “go back” to the hypothetical, very foreign, and un-American countries from whence they came. His tweets set off a firestorm of speculation about whether the racist thing he said was actually racist, or whether it was appropriate given how these four congresswomen demonstrably hate America and are essentially terrorists. That firestorm continues to consume oxygen that could be spent on, say, the rash of child deaths at the border, the recent arrest of Trump associate Jeffrey Epstein for sex-trafficking minors, or perhaps even climate change. (Kidding—we definitely wouldn’t be talking about climate change even if absolutely nothing else were going on.)

advertisement
advertisement

Indeed, Trump’s “go back” tweets have dominated the discourse all week, culminating in a Wednesday-night rally in which the crowd spontaneously chanted “Send her back!” during one of several times Trump mentioned Representative Ilhan Omar, the only one of his “go back” targets who emigrated to America. (A moment that Trump has since distanced himself from, but not without also lying that he tried to stop it, which you can very clearly see in the video footage that he did not, or without pretending that his tweets conveyed the same message as their chant and obviously inspired the chant.)

Even in the wildly divided times we live in, the issue of Trump’s now-protracted racist attack has been especially contentious. You can watch a CNN panel practically come to blows over it here.

However, one place where you won’t see much sign of how Trump is bringing out the worst in us all is on Ilhan Omar’s social media.

Over the course of the past week, as Omar has had to ride out not only attacks from the president and his followers but also the pundit class and her peers in Congress, her response has been to rise above it. Although the famous Michelle Obama quote “When they go low, we go high” isn’t suited for every potential confrontation, Omar’s soaring grace on Twitter this week has made her come across as far above the racism that inspired it—without refusing to engage at all.

Sometimes she uses humor to respond to the surreal predicament by which she finds herself in the spotlight.

advertisement

Sometimes she offers a positive show of strength.

Sometimes she uses the words of her detractors against them.

More often than not, however, Omar has been responding to all the negativity directed her way with the words of celebrated black artists and intellectuals, like Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou.

advertisement

For her efforts, Omar has received a lot of support. The hashtag #IStandWithIlhan, for instance, was the top trending topic on Twitter for several hours on Tuesday.

But perhaps more importantly, Omar secured the crucial Cardi B endorsement.

advertisement

It looks as though the people she represents in her home state of Minnesota feel roughly the same way as well.

As week one in a post-“‘go back’ tweets” world heads toward a close, Omar has handled herself with the kind of poise and grace that suggests she’ll be ready if her notoriety remains as high in week two.

advertisement
advertisement