It has been a while since conservative Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann used her profile office to spew the type of racism that has an appeal to a lot of people. A few weeks ago it was Ms. Bachmann who threw out the suggestion that Huma Abedin, the longtime aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and wife of former liberal Congressman Anthony Weiner who left the House of Representatives after a scandal that revealed his lack of integrity, should be investigated for a lack of patriotism due to the fact that the Abedin family had an association with the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that defends acts of violence against civilians and is suspected of funding and supporting terrorism.
There was a quick backlash against Ms. Bachmann for her slander. She has been criticized on the floor of the Senate and heavily criticized by pundits on both sides of the political aisle. She has stimulated a petition calling for her to be removed from the House Intelligence Committee. Ms. Bachmann has never been one to care about reality. The woman has a reputation for treating facts like an unwanted stepchild. But this last time, the usual flirtation with outright lies caused her a bit of trouble. Senate Republican John McCain, House Speaker John Boehner, and many other conservatives have actually come out the woodwork in support of Ms. Abedin. Ed Rollins, Ms. Bachmann’s former campaign chairman said that Ms. Bachmann should stand on the floor of the House and apologize to Huma Abedin and to Secretary Clinton and to the millions of hard working, loyal, Muslim Americans for her wild and unsubstantiated charges. Mr. Rollins went on to say that she should ask for forgiveness for her grievous lack of judgment and reckless behavior.
But just as soon as Ms. Bachmann started to suffer the bipartisan condemnation, hardcore conservatives like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich stepped out of the shadow of irrelevance to double down on her racist accusation. It only makes sense to someone of only his self inflated intellectual stature that it is only logical to perform an investigation into the relationships of people who have access to sensitive information with a questionable family ties. He then innocently asks, what’s the problem? He’ll do his best to sound frustration and feign a lack of understanding while he raises his hands to add a little body language to drive the show totally home for his constituent audience that is primarily white and primarily conservative and primarily very insensitive to issues that do not pertain to white people.
Since Ms. Bachmann made her allegations against Ms. Abedin and people of Muslim faith or heritage, there have been to mass shootings. One was in Aurora, Colorado and not too far from the infamous Columbine High School massacre shooting spree of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. During the world premier of the latest Batman thriller, The Dark Knight Rises, James Egan Holmes walked into one of the theaters at the Century 16 at the Town Center at Aurora and killed twelve people and wounded almost sixty more. According to police investigations the gunman acted alone.
The other mass shooting was just last night when forty year old white supremacist Wade Michael Page walked into a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin with more than four hundred members. As people were entering the temple for Morning Prayer, the gunman got out of his car and shot his first victim as soon as he got out of his car. Without saying anything he walked into the temple continuing to fire. Page was killed by police at the scene. In less than twenty four hours into the investigation into what may have prompted the shooting, authorities were able to determine that the gunman acted alone and had no affiliation with anyone else even though he was known to be a white supremacist and was a member of not one but two racist bands named End Apathy and Definite Hate.
So far Ms. Bachmann and Mr. Gingrich have been silent on the matter. But that’s really no surprise. With fire and brimstone to fuel her rhetoric Ms. Bachmann is quick to point a damning figure at a Muslim woman who has served Ms. Clinton and her country faithfully for years. Huma Abedin is entitled to the gratitude of every American and to the best of knowledge has never done anything to cause anyone to question her loyalty and patriotism. And Newt Gingrich, a politically weakened figure with tarnished reputation from his ill fated attempt to win the Republican nomination for the White House, desperate for anything that could jump start a faded career, knows that jumping on the racism bandwagon is a quick and easy way to jump back into the good graces of many people with the same racists viewpoints. The fact that Ms. Abedin is a minority with a religious faith that many Americans believe goes hand in hand with foreign terrorism makes her prime target for baseless condemnation.
But the face of domestic terrorism is predominantly white. It is the face of the previously mentioned Columbine shooting, Aurora shooting, and the Oak Creek shooting. It is the face of the shooter who tried to murder Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Gifford. It’s the face of George Zimmerman who shot Trayvon Martin and it is the face of all the people who gave donations to make sure Trayvon’s murderer got the best defense money can buy.
What would happen if there was an investigation into all the people of the Congress and their aides and staff and find all the people who might be related to someone with might be affiliated with an organization with a history of using violence against innocent people? And imagine what an investigation like that would cost and how long it would last. Both the cost and the task would be staggering. We couldn’t afford it. That’s probably why we don’t do it.
We usually wait until somebody does something that gives us a reason to do an investigation before there is a call for an investigation. We have to judge them by what they do. Otherwise, we are prejudging and that is the root of prejudice. Relying on good old fashioned gossip to single out people when it’s one of those things that happens on both sides of the racial divide is nothing but racism.