An opinion piece by Rep. Ilhan Omar for The New York Times Thursday calls on Americans to do more than just condemn President Donald Trump's racism—the country, says Omar, needs to "protect and expand basic democratic rights" while pressing for the kind of bold progressive agenda that represents the best of its values.
"It is not enough to condemn the corruption and self-dealing of this administration," writes the Minnesota Democrat. "We must support policies that unmistakably improve working people's lives, including by strengthening collective bargaining, raising the minimum wage and pursuing a universal jobs guarantee."
“Racial fear prevents Americans from building community with one another — and community is the lifeblood of a functioning democratic society.”— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) July 25, 2019
Read my essay in the @NYTimes today. https://t.co/J6slREAiED
Omar—along with fellow lawmakers Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.)—has been a frequent target of the president's racist rhetoric. On July 17, crowds at a Trump rally chanted "send her back" at the mention of Omar's name after the president criticized her at length for what he described as her insufficient love of country.
Omar's Thursday piece presents a clear alternative to that kind of Trumpism and a call for progressive principles tied to progressive economic policies.
"Every time Mr. Trump attacks refugees is a time that could be spent discussing the president’s unwillingness to raise the federal minimum wage for up to 33 million Americans," Omar writes. "Every racist attack on four members of Congress is a moment he doesn't have to address why his choice for labor secretary has spent his career defending Wall Street banks and Walmart at the expense of workers."
Progressives praised Omar's piece and message.
The article is "an absolute must read," tweeted lawyer and activist Kumar Rao.
"Some profound insights in here on the nature of the fight ahead," said AJ+ editor Tony Karon.
In a tweet, Justice Democrats communications director Waleed Shahid said that Omar's message was something that shouldn't be ignored by Democrats.
"I really don't understand why more Democratic presidential candidates don't focus their talk about Trump's race war as an integral part of his class war," Shahid said.
Making that distinction, Omar argues in her op-ed, is essential for the future of the country.
"The only way to push back is to be unequivocal about our values," writes the congresswoman. "It is not enough to condemn Mr. Trump's racism."