I made a
The dynamite to my best-laid plans came off the lips of newly minted Congresswoman
"We're going to impeach the mother----er."
I have searched as best I can and believe, to date, no high-profile politician has publicly called President
Which is why I feel compelled to write about Tlaib's choice of words, because it's a new low in a cesspool of human relations we call politics, and not to acknowledge that is to indirectly condone it, especially since Tlaib is from my backyard,
"We say colorful things in interesting ways," she told
Uh, no. We don't. Using such language isn't colorful, it's profane. It's not interesting, it's lazy. And it's not really how many of us want the rest of the country to view our vocabulary here in the
And since Tlaib's title is "Representative," I'm disappointed she didn't know that.
No defense of that word
Now, I've already run through the knee-jerk defenses. You do that any time you wade into political waters today.
Here they are:
3. People are just criticizing Tlaib because she's a woman. Come on. Any first-day member of
4. Tlaib has been talking about impeaching Trump even before these comments. Fine. If that's what she wants to attempt in her first term, she's entitled to try. No one is arguing that. (She might want to get into her office first.)
But to use that as a defense to justify foul language, especially when talking about her young son, and how her victory was an inspiration to him, doesn't get her one step closer to taking down the President. As some political pundits have noted, it actually hurts the cause.
Coming with guns blazing to impeach a President historically backfires, which is why so many
Tlaib upholds status quo
Look. I know a single insult isn't the end of the world. I know this president is so frequently off the rails, he makes people crazy.
But words matter. Especially today. That's why we criticize Trump's tweets. That's why a single utterance of a racial epithet or a sexual suggestion can get you fired.
And that's why Tlaib doubling down is particularly disappointing. When asked about her choice of words, Tlaib didn't apologize or take them back. Instead, she said "It's probably exactly how my grandmother, if she was alive, would say it." Well, I don't know. Defending your profanity by invoking a grandma who has passed away isn't a particularly nimble defense, or even a nice one.
Nor is Tlaib making this statement: "I think
Finally, there's her defense, "I will always speak truth to power," something she tweeted out, which again is redolent of a Trump maneuver. I've heard this phrase misused constantly.
"Speaking truth to power" is a concept that may go back to ancient
The same cannot be said of "We're going to impeach the mother----er."
Tlaib, who at 42 is not a kid, should know better. I'd like to think she'd set a better example for her own children, aged 7 and 13, but that's not my business; the example she sets for our children is. They will hear and study the things she says. Her election was notable. As a woman in a largely men's field, and a Muslim in an overwhelmingly non-Muslim body of government, she was representing change.
Her profanity last week -- and her vigilant defense of it -- doesn't sound like change from our current status quo. It sounds like more of it.