A review of Omar’s public statements shows that isn’t true. Although Omar is frequently critical of the United States, she tends to attack what she regards as the country’s failure to live up to its lofty values. “She was almost like a cliché of a civic-minded new American,” one of her college professors told The New York Times. “She would quote the Declaration of Independence asking, ‘Why have we come up short?’”
The same article quotes Ilhan saying: “I think back to the orientations I went through a little over 20 years ago in the process of coming to this country, and in those orientations they did not have people who were homeless. There was an America that extended liberty and justice to everyone. There was an America where prosperity was guaranteed regardless of where you were born and what you looked like and who you prayed to. I wasn’t comfortable with that hypocrisy.”
I don’t always agree with Omar. And I don’t expect Carlson to, either. If Carlson had simply quoted Omar’s views and dissented on the merits, even harshly, I would not be writing on the subject.
But Carlson suggested that because Omar came here as a child, she doesn’t have the right to voice critical opinions about America—that her gratitude for citizenship should result in silence. And then he cited her views as if they bear on the attitudes of immigrants generally, before engaging in sweeping, negative generalizations about them.
“Ilhan Omar is living proof that the way we practice immigration has become dangerous to this country,” he said. “A system designed to strengthen America is instead undermining it … She’s a living fire alarm, a warning to the rest of us that we ought to change our immigration system immediately, or else.”
What an odd conclusion to draw from Omar’s example. Isn’t getting elected to Congress a great achievement, and proof of assimilation? There is no more establishment, Founding Father–approved way of seeking change than winning elected office and proposing new laws. Whether or not Omar overestimates the relative degree of injustice in America, seeking to remedy its ills through official channels is the opposite of dangerous.
The notion that Omar alone proves anything about America’s immigration system, for better or worse, is absurd. If Carlson wants to make the case that the immigration system is broken, he should find evidence, not an avatar to rile up his audience. What’s a term to describe someone who insists that whole groups of people are bad in the same way, and ceases to treat members of that group as individuals?
Tucker Carlson is that term.
“Maybe we’re importing people from places whose values are simply antithetical to ours,” Carlson continued. But isn’t it Carlson who holds views antithetical to American harmony? Perhaps Carlson provides “living proof” that it is dangerous to grant citizenship to San Francisco–born, La Jolla–raised white men.