Well, the 4th of July is in the history books, all the hot dogs have been devoured, and the fireworks have been reduced to so much charred paper. We’ve done our annual celebration of America, so naturally it’s time to get back to that great national pastime of feeling bad about ourselves. Nothing goes with the U.S. like a good, heaping helping of self-loathing and guilt, so why not kick off your post-4th doldrums with the story of Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee and U.S. congresswoman who wants us to know that she’s very “disappointed” in the country that took her in as a child.
Don’t you feel bad already?
“In Omar’s immigrant story, America wasn’t a ‘city on a hill,’ a haven for grateful masses fleeing war and oppression,” the Washington Post tells us. “Rather, it was a broken promise. ‘I arrived at the age of 12 and learned that I was the extreme other,’ she often said. ‘I was black. I was Muslim. I also learned I was extremely poor and that the classless America that my father talked about didn’t exist.’”
Depressed about yourself yet, evil American?
“In Omar’s version, America wasn’t the bighearted country that saved her from a brutal war and a bleak refugee camp,” the Post’s profile continues. “It wasn’t a meritocracy that helped her attend college or vaulted her into Congress. Instead, it was the country that had failed to live up to its founding ideals, a place that had disappointed her and so many immigrants, refugees and minorities like her.”
A place that expected her to follow such arcane concepts as marriage law!
The best part of the Post’s glowing profile of Omar is when they take a brief pause from the accolades to remind readers that…well…the Muslim lawmaker is a little free and loose with the facts. After recounting Omar’s supposed anger at seeing a black shoplifter arrested and charged for stealing a $2 loaf of bread, the Post writes:
Omar’s story echoed the plot of “Les Miserables.” If true, it is also probably embellished. City officials said that police aren’t allowed to arrest people for shoplifting unless there’s a likelihood of violence or further crime. Typically, shoplifters are sentenced to attend a three-hour class.
In an interview, Omar said she may have flubbed some facts. “She might have had a prior [arrest],” Omar said. “I’m not sure. . . . The details might not have all matched, but that’s what I remember.”
This is the same paper that was so alarmed by President Trump’s supposed falsehoods that they changed their motto to “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”
In any event, feel shame, our fellow Americans. Feel shame. You’ve let down this Somali refugee by opening your doors to her, giving her a place to live that isn’t ripped apart by war, and even electing her to the House of Representatives. You could have done so much more.