The Minnesota House of Representatives has passed a bill with a provision increasing the penalties on protesters who shut down highways or block access to the airport. Among others, that would be the Black Lives Matter crowd. The Democrats hauled out their big guns to oppose the provision, one of whom was newly elected Rep. Ilhan Omar. Omar is not a compelling public speaker. Her speech opposing the provision droned on for 15 minutes to no great effect (video below.
Several of Omar’s legislative colleagues took a time out in the House retiring room while Omar and others droned on. Democratic Minority Leader Melissa Horton played Nurse Ratched as she dealt the race card from the bottom of the deck. Horton made a motion requiring House members to come to the floor. “I hate to break up the 100 percent white male card game in the retiring room,” she said, “but I think this is an important debate.”
Republican Rep. Greg Davids also took offense. Davids knows how to play this game. The Star Tribune quoted Davids calling out Hortman’s comment as “racist” and elaborating to the Star Tribune’s Paul Walsh: “Her comments were extremely offensive and divisive [and] created a hostile work environment.” Davids added: “I couldn’t believe she singled out a race and a sex like that.”
Davids called it a breach of House protocol for Hortman to talk about “what goes on in the House retiring room.” And he criticized the speeches. “First of all, the speeches weren’t that good,” he said. “They were amazingly repetitive and boring.”
Surely we can all agree on that.
Rep. Omar followed up with the obligatory instruction on the true meaning of “racism.”
Let's just be clear, mentioning a group of people as white and male is not racist or sexist, it is acknowledgement of reality! #mnleg
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) April 4, 2017
NOTE: My account of Omar’s back story in “The curious case of Ilhan Omar” remains current.