On July 7, just three days after Americans celebrated the country’s 244th birthday, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) announced we must “dismantle” the nation’s political and economic systems.
At a press conference, Omar declared, “We can’t stop at criminal justice reform or police reform. We are not merely fighting to tear down the systems of oppression in the criminal justice system. We are fighting to tear down systems of oppression that exist in housing, in education, in health care, in employment, in the air we breathe.”
Omar added, “We must recognize that these systems of oppression are linked. As long as our economy and political systems prioritizes profit without considering who is profiting, who is being shut out, we will perpetuate this inequity. So we cannot stop at criminal justice system. We must begin the work of dismantling the whole system of oppression wherever we find it.”
Wow, that is quite a statement from a Somali refugee who fled her war-torn, poverty-stricken homeland to become a U.S. citizen. It is even more mindboggling that Omar has such disdain and hatred for her adopted nation, where she received a college education and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. If America is such an oppressive place, how does Omar explain her splendid success story?
Apparently, Omar has very little gratitude for the country that has afforded her the opportunity to live in peace and prosperity. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she actually wants to “dismantle” the foundational systems that have helped America become the beacon of freedom. What gives?
Unfortunately, Omar is representative (no pun intended) of a large segment of the American population that is completely ignorant about the nation’s history and current social, political, and economic systems.
As Omar berates the United States as a hopelessly oppressive nation, the facts simply do not support her outrageous contention. For instance, Omar complains that America’s housing system is oppressive. At the press conference, Omar said it is time to “guarantee homes for all.” Is she unaware that the federal, state, and local governments already offer “free housing” to millions?
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, “The housing choice voucher program is the federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market.” In 2018, Congress passed a bill that significantly increased funding for this program. As of 2018, the federal government allocated $11.5 billion to 1.2 million American families to ensure their housing needs were adequately met.
Keep in mind, this does not include the plethora of public housing and other programs to anyone who meets income eligibility requirements for any sort of housing or rent assistance. In short, there is no widespread system of oppression in housing. In America, if you can afford to, you can live anywhere you would like to.
Of course, similar assistance is available to any and all Americans who are struggling to put food on the table via the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps.
And education opportunities abound in America. Unlike in several other countries, including her birthland, the United States offers free public education to all. And the United States spends more capita on education than any other country. Although Omar would like you to believe that the U.S. education system is oppressive, this is not true. If anything, the real “oppression” that occurs in the U.S. education system is the public school monopoly and lack of “school choice.”
Omar also believes America’s health care system is rife with oppression. This is not the case. In the United States, nobody, is denied access to health care facilities when they need it. Hospital emergency rooms must treat all patients, regardless of their ability to pay. And the federal and state governments offer all types of assistance (Medicaid, CHIP, Obamacare subsidies, etc.) to anyone who meets the income threshold. Not to mention the huge amount of private charities and hospitals devoted to caring for those who cannot afford top-grade medical treatment.
At the recent press conference, Omar also claimed oppression exists in the air we breathe. I am not sure how “air” can be oppressive, but Omar has a solution for this non-existent problem. She said the Green New Deal is essential “because we know that environmental racism is real.” As if.
Ilhan Omar has a warped and misguided vision of America. Instead of praising the country that has afforded her wonderful opportunities, she derides its fundamental systems.
Perhaps Omar should abandon this hopelessly oppressive land and return to her home country of Somalia. After all, Somalia (and many other countries) are struggling with actual oppression. If Omar is as hellbent as combating oppression as she claims to be, she ought to put her money where her mouth is and actually do something about the rampant oppression that exists in places around the globe.
The United States is not perfect. Unfortunately, remnants of oppression still remain. However, America is far from the oppressive hellhole that Omar claims it is. In fact, the United States is almost certainly the least oppressive nation in world history. Maybe Omar and her anti-American cronies just need a simple history lesson.
Chris Talgo ([email protected]) is an editor at The Heartland Institute.