RUZIECKI: Fall of Keith Ellison has nothing to do with Islamophobia
Opinions Column: Conscience of a Co-Ed
On Sunday, committed partisan Democrats and retirees watched the ceremonial changing of the guard at the District National Convention (DNC). Tom Perez, former secretary of labor and assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, and now the biggest sleaze in Democratic politics since the fall of John Podesta, former counselor to former President Barack Obama, was elected to succeed Debbie Wasserman Schultz as chair of the Democratic National Committee. Although this election was not as exciting, or surprising, as the 2016 election, there were many supporters of Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison (D-5) that were shocked at the 235-200 voting outcome. Ellison was seen as the frontrunner to be the next leader of the Democrats after the fall of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and had racked up many impressive endorsements. Those who rallied behind Ellison included Georgia Rep. John Lewis (D-5), Hawaiian Rep. Tulsi Gubbard (D-2), Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and even Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). It would be a reasonable assumption to think that all of these high-profile endorsements would send a signal that the Democratic Party was ready for a change. It would seem that they were ready for a change away from the Democratic establishment, and a move towards Bernie Sanders’ utopianism. But even these party celebrities couldn’t save Ellison from his troubling past.
I could almost sense the accusations from miles away. “Islamophobia! He lost because of Islamophobia.” I knew that these charges would come, being that Ellison was the first Muslim member of Congress, so I figured it would be best for them to get this out of their systems early. If the left has learned nothing else from the past eight years, and last year’s election, I would hope they have learned the unpopularity of playing identity politics. The constant lambasting of republicans who they believed to be racist, eventually turned out like the popular children’s story, "The Boy Who Cried Wolf." The boy represents the Democrats, the fictional wolves (the ones that the boy lied about) are the Republicans and the wolf is none other than President Donald J. Trump. When there actually were legitimate claims of racism against Trump, people didn’t believe it and elected him as our 45th president. This is just one example of how dangerous the constant playing of identity politics could be.
The charges of Islamophobia against Ellison are not grounded in anything concrete, rather than an assumption. So, why did Keith Ellison lose the race for the chairmanship of the DNC? The real reason can never truly be known, but I would assume it has something to do with his past statements. Based on his past statements, Ellison appears to be a raging anti-Semite, which he may very well be. His past association with the religious leader Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam surely didn’t help, and his past anti-Semitic writings and statements did not help his candidacy either. In 2010, he alluded to the fact that Jews were responsible for crafting American foreign policy in support of the Jewish state of Israel. My personal favorite, however, is how he alluded to how 9/11 was setup to benefit former President George W. Bush. There are mountains of evidence exposing Ellison as a raging anti-Semite. But that’s not enough for the left. It must have been Islamophobia. Why else would the first Muslim congressman lose the race to become head of the DNC? This must have been the result of a “smear campaign.” Ellison was in no way shape or form smeared. His true colors were shown and that was that. Supporters of Ellison say that he apologized, and that we should move past his despicable past. The problem with this is that his comments have not stopped, with the most recent being in 2010, and perhaps sooner than that. If we were to forgive politicians after every apology, then former New Yok Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-9), former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), and former President Richard Nixon would have never left office. If Democrats had forgiven Trump for everything offensive that he has said, then maybe the deliberate gridlock that is being experienced in congress would not be occurring.
When David Duke, former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), endorsed Trump for president, the left had a field day. They were concerned, and rightfully so, about the KKK endorsing Trump, and Trump’s reluctance to not accept the endorsement. The cry from the left is that America is a deeply racist and prejudiced place, and Trump’s election is the biggest indicator of this. But when Duke endorsed Keith Ellison for DNC Chair, the silence from the left was deafening. How could America be so prejudiced if the KKK is endorsing Keith Ellison, a Democrat? America isn’t systemically prejudice —these people do not deserve to be heads of major American political parties.
Louis Ruziecki is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in political science with a minor in history. His column, “Conscience of a Co-Ed,” runs on alternate Wednesdays.
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