Are the Republicans trying to get Ilhan Omar killed?

I wrote this essay for The Guardian:

Is the Republican party actually trying to get the Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar killed? If the question sounds outrageous, consider what has happened in the last couple of weeks alone.

While soliciting campaign contributions through email, George Buck, a Florida Republican candidate who is running for Congress, called for Omar’s execution, then denied doing so, then suggested it again later that same day.

Meanwhile, in Minnesota, Danielle Stella, a Republican candidate attempting to unseat Omar from her congressional post, was suspended from Twitter for twice suggesting that the Muslim congresswoman be tried for treason and hanged.

And in western New York, Patrick W Carlineo Jr pleaded guilty recently to threatening to assault and murder Omar. He called her DC office last spring, stating that he was a Trump-loving patriot and asking a staffer, “Do you work for the Muslim Brotherhood? Why are you working for her? She’s a [expletive] terrorist. Somebody ought to put a bullet in her skull. Back in the day, our forefathers would have put a bullet in her [expletive].”

The staffer also remembered Carlineo saying, “I’ll put a bullet in her [expletive] skull.” A subsequent search of his property discovered that Carlineo possessed a loaded .45 caliber handgun, three rifles, two shotguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, a clear violation since Carlineo has a previous conviction for criminal mischief, barring him from owning any firearms.

The dangers Omar faces are real, relentless and deadly.

What’s remarkable is Omar’s response. A believer in restorative justice, Omar wrote to the judge in Carlineo’s case and urged “compassion” in his sentencing. “Threats of political violence and hate speech are not unique to Mr Carlineo,” she stated. “They are an increasing feature in our public sphere. We will not defeat it with anger and exclusion. We will defeat it with compassion.”

I wish I had the grace of Omar. Instead, I find myself in a near-constant state of shock and anger due to the seemingly ceaseless onslaught of racist hatred and sexist stupidity flung at the congresswoman. And so much of it is simply bizarre.

Read the rest here.

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