What is this supposed to mean?
I'm not sure, but it kind of sounds like trying to stir up trouble to me?
Maybe even, you might say, "incite" problems?
Judge for yourself.
Here is Ilhan Omar's latest Tweet:
Many online instantly took objection to the Tweet.
This reminds me of a recent NY Times interview with Omar where the Times said "Omar is not here to put you at ease."
Few members of Congress have been as much of a political lightning rod during the storm-heavy Trump era as Ilhan Omar. The spotlight has at times been useful, as the 37-year-old Democratic congresswoman from Minnesota has become a prominent voice on issues like racial justice and police reform. But it has also resulted in disturbingly violent rhetoric from her opponents on the right. “I have — in one body — six or seven marginalized identities,” said Omar, who this year published an autobiography, “This Is What America Looks Like,” “and there’s an expectation from everyone on how those particular identities should behave.”
There’s a section of your book where — well, I’ll quote it directly: “I am, by nature, a starter of fires. My work has been to figure out where I’m going to burn down everything around me by adding the fuel of my religion, skin color, gender or even tone.” Couldn’t that kind of language be interpreted as a form of demagoguery? Why is it helpful to express yourself in those terms rather than, say, in terms of building things up? It’s metaphorical. There are many times when people will say, “Something you said has agitated this space.” And it’s like, no, it’s me just showing up that did it. There are times when I will choose to not show up, because I know that my presence brings about intensity that isn’t going to be helpful. There’s no one else that exists in a space where they have to deal with the hate of anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-Blackness, but also with sexism. People will say it’s my “tone.” I’m like, you’re agitated by my tone because you think people like me should be sitting in a corner, not heard and not seen. Everything that comes out of my mouth is going to be filtered through the lens of you despising my existence. That’s the metaphorical adding-of-fire. That was a thing in the primary campaign: Ilhan is divisive. My being given the mic to say anything is angering, regardless of what the hell I say. I could say, “Good morning,” and they’re already angry.
Ilhan Omar at her victory party in Minneapolis in 2018 after being elected to Congress. Annabelle Marcovici/Sipa USA, via Associated Press
Do you believe there’s a connection between what you’re describing — the way you’re interpreted — and the accusations of anti-Semitism that you’ve received? I mean, there are a lot of preconceived notions about what thoughts and ideologies I have that have no basis in reality. It’s the same way in which people filter everything through, like, “anti-American,” which couldn’t be further from the truth. I wouldn’t run for Congress to be part of the American government if I was anti-American. It’s all dependent on whom you’re talking to. You could talk to Muslims, and they’ll say, “Because she grew up in America, she doesn’t really like Muslims.” Talk to Arabs, and they’re like, “She’s African.” Anything that I say or do will be filtered to create an excuse of why they now are trying to call me a bigot.
I’m curious about whether your being made to think about anti-Semitism has caused any changes or filled in any gaps in your understanding of what anti-Semitism is and how it works. I think a lot of people have gaps in their understanding of what it is. It’s been important to understand the ways in which people experience it. In the process of writing a few of the op-eds I’ve written on the rise of anti-Semitism in comparison to the rise of Islamophobia, it has been interesting to see the ways in which so many people create a lens through which they see it. It is important, when you are not of that community, to understand the different ways that bigotry shows up. It has always been a disappointment as a minority when I communicate with people and they’re like: “That’s not Islamophobia. That’s not anti-Blackness.” But I am telling you: “This is my experience! This is how these things impact me!” So I have brought that lens of frustration to this conversation. I’m not going to say, “That’s not that” because I know what it feels like for me when somebody is dismissive of what I’m expressing. If you’re an ally, it’s your job to learn and to be supportive. That’s what I expect of allies, and that’s how I behave as an ally.
Given that you understand the nature of some of the attention that you get and the symbolic weight that has been attached to you, isn’t your office’s continuing to work with your husband’s consulting company weird even just from an optics perspective? Maybe it’s ultimately a small-potatoes thing, but wouldn’t it be smarter to avoid inviting that scrutiny and instead work with a different consulting company? No, actually that would be the stupid thing to do. You don’t stop using the service of people who are doing good work because somebody thinks it means something else. Why would I not work with people who understand my district, who have been working there for 10 years, who understand what it means to raise resources for a candidate like myself and manage and target our communications to our district to battle the misinformation and narratives that the media and our adversaries continue to put out?
I guess the answer would be that you could avoid a particular negative narrative. Right, and I believe that the narratives exist because those that are putting that narrative out understand what they gain when I’m disadvantaged that way.
Given that you’re a congressional freshman, do you get the sense that any of your colleagues take issue with the bully-pulpit influence that your profile might afford you? Yeah, but people don’t share those things. What I do hear often is from the ones who want us to help amplify their work because they understand the benefit of our platform. We help raise money for our colleagues, talk about their policies, so that there is an opportunity to get attention. You can function that way. You can also function with resentment. For the “Squad” in general, there is a lot of that. But for well-meaning representatives in the House, they see our platform and think of us as family and ask us to help them.