To be sure, Trump clearly wants to stir up anger against the freshman congresswoman. But does political criticism – even tasteless and demagogic criticism – really amount to incitement to violence? This attempt to equate unpleasant speech with violence, is of course, familiar to anyone who has watched as SJWs on college campuses have conflated opinions with threats to safety, by claiming that the presence of offensive speakers makes them feel “unsafe.” This not only strengthens their status as victims, but also creates a rationale for treating speech as something dangerous to be condemned, regulated, and contained, rather than simply refuted.
The larger problem with this sort of thing should also be obvious. If criticism constitutes a threat, then what about the often over-the-top criticism of Trump and other Republicans by the Resistance? Or does only some criticism constitute “incitement”? How far do we want to take this line? Or is it hypocrisy all the way down?
An even more ominous development for Democrats is the growing pressure to make defending Omar a litmus test of wokeness.
“Black folks are watching. Muslim folks are watching. Brown folks are watching,’’ warned Jennifer Epps-Addison, the co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy “And we’re making our decisions about who to support in real time. When your sister is being attacked, you can’t wait to get the politics right.”