What happened to ‘respectfully disagree’?
There was a time when members of Congress referred to each other as “distinguished gentlemen” or “honorable representatives,” even as they were ripping each other’s positions on this or that issue.
Lately, however, congress men and women have been targeting each other with racist, anti-semitic and Islamophobic tropes. This week it was Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, a Republican, who caught criticism for telling a story to supporters about Minnesota’s Rep. Ilhan Omar, insinuating that she might be a potential bomb-carrying terrorist. Omar called for her to be disciplined, and Boebert issued a tepid apology to the “Muslim community,” but not to Omar. Monday, in telephone call that was supposed to mend fences, Boebert, according to Omar, “doubled down” on the insults, and Omar hung up, an act Boebert criticized.
Omar, of course, is no stranger to controversy. She was criticized in 2019 for anti-Israel statements.
There may have been a level of insincerity behind the “distinguished” and “honorable” statements of the past, but at least they allowed Congress members to maintain a level of respect and dignity that is sorely lacking today.