Brickner: If you can’t condemn racism, Mr. Armstrong, you don’t belong in Congress – InForum



Is it time to clean house?



Rep. Kelly Armstrong

and the other House Republicans are too afraid of being labeled “woke,” a word so overused it’s absurd. Jodi Picoult’s harmless novels are “woke.” Climate change is woke. Instead of mismanagement and deregulation, wokeness is blamed for

the fall of a California bank.

For whatever reason, Mr. Armstrong refused to sign a document against racism, a document that would not have been “woke” in 1973, let alone 2023.

The two dozen Republicans on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee refused to sign a letter condemning “white nationalism and white supremacy in all its forms, including the ‘Great Replacement’ conspiracy theory.” The latter is linked to the Charlottesville tiki torch parade and killing, along with mass shootings at a Jewish synagogue and supermarkets in Buffalo and El Paso.

For many years, some have wondered why more Blacks don’t vote Republican. I have respect for the late Sen. John McCain and others, voting for a few on a state or local level. But the refusal of Armstrong and others to stand up for Jews and nonwhites only confirms a concern that started in the 1960s when many Republicans fought against civil rights.

The committee was properly dealing with the serious border crisis. But here was an opportunity to make plain that the two issues are distinct: the desire to reset immigration policies is not a matter of racism. All 20 Democrats signed, while none of the 26 GOP members did, including Mr. Armstrong.

The rationale for the omission? A Republican committee spokesperson said, “Democrats are trying to distract from President Biden’s border crisis and their failure to conduct oversight of it for two years. … Americans expect Congress to conduct oversight of the southern border and Republicans are focused on delivering results.”

Who’s really distracting? Can’t you deal with the border crisis and hate at the same time?

Besides the immigration crisis, there is a white supremacy crisis.


According to The Hill,

hate crimes are up by double digits, and “in raw numbers, the largest motivator of hate crimes was discrimination based on race, ethnicity or ancestry.” These are typically American victims.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, white supremacy propaganda rose to an all-time high last year: up 38%, from 4,876 incidents in 2021 to 6,751 propaganda incidents in 2022. Jonathan Greenblatt, president of ADL said, “…white supremacists and antisemites are trying to terrorize and harass Americans and have significantly stepped up their use of propaganda as a tactic to make their presence known in communities nationwide.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

told The Washington Post

that there’s not room in the Republican party for “white supremacists or anti-Semitism.” Is he wrong?

Sure, you can point to Byron Donalds, a Black Florida Republican who also refused to sign. Kanye West and Candace Owens show racism towards other Blacks and Jews. Women, too, attack other women. It’s evil, no matter the source.

We’re only talking about a moment of civility, of decency — towards fellow Americans, those far from being “illegal” or undocumented. My opinion and my vote probably mean nothing to Mr. Armstrong, but he still represents people like me. Do not despise your constituents, sir.

Interested in a broad range of issues, including social and faith issues, Brickner serves as a regular contributor to the Forum’s opinion page. She is a retired English instructor, having taught in Michigan and Minnesota.


This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum’s editorial board nor Forum ownership.

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