Tulsi Gabbard Has No Place in Washington
Tulsi Gabbard should face a primary challenge. She is no liberal, certainly no Democrat, and while she masquerades as a progressive, her record speaks otherwise. In fact, Gabbard’s actions reveal that she is a renegade with a cause celebrated only by tyrants.
The congresswoman’s secret trip to Syria perfectly exemplifies her foolishness and affability to brutal authoritarianism. She failed to alert government leaders that she would visit a country with which we do not have diplomatic relations; upon her return she refused to say whether she met with strongman Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (it turns out she did, which, given that her positions are dramatically at odds with U.S. foreign policy, might have run afoul of the Logan Act); now, she won’t disclose who funded the trip, signing and submitting incomplete ethics forms. Her conclusion from the trip? The war-criminal should remain in power as only his repressive regime can restore order to a region his undemocratic, illiberal actions helped destabilize in the first place.
Gabbard went to Syria on a “fact-finding” mission. Why, then, did she allow the trip to be curated entirely by government figures? Why did she allow to accompany her two of Assad’s henchmen, who hail from a virulently anti-Semitic party with a history of fascism? After viewing a Syria portrayed solely from the government’s point of view, Gabbard returned with renewed belief in Assad’s beneficence – an American falling victim to Assad’s propaganda (the same propaganda used by dictators throughout the world to portray democratic societies as tyrannical or otherwise flawed and repressive).
In case you’re wondering, yes, this is the same Bashar al-Assad who dropped chemical bombs on his own people. Yes, it’s the same Assad whose massacre of Aleppo generated thousands of refugees and gave us images of the war-torn city and injured children that tug at one’s heartstrings. She, like Vladimir Putin (Assad’s ally in Aleppo’s slaughter) and Donald Trump, wants to see the same Assad that brutally cracked down on all dissent, on those aligned – however loosely – with perceived opposition remain at Syria’s helm.
It’s little wonder that Steve Bannon, alleged anti-Semite and former executive at white nationalist site Breitbart, takes a fancy to Gabbard: Like Trump, her foreign policy inherently views Islam as a terrorism problem and her solutions involve maintaining dictatorial regimes. For her part, Gabbard, the lone House Democrat to vote against a resolution condemning Assad for his crimes, also bucked her party by refusing to sign a letter urging Trump to fire Steve Bannon, a senior adviser who nihilistically views war with China as inevitable and already thinks we’re in a global conflict with Islam.
Gabbard’s populist roots – the aspiring child of demagoguery – find her favor in the White House even while lending legitimacy and support for authoritarian regimes. What proclaimed progressive can look into the eyes of a refugee and say “I stand with your oppressor?” Our leaders need to stand up to dictators and urge democracy’s shining light to spread across all corners of the globe (and this does not necessarily entail military force, though presenting that false choice bolsters Gabbard’s weak arguments). At a time when the White House wants to strengthen tyrants – when far-right European parties a step removed from power wish the same – authoritarian apologists must not walk the halls of Congress.
Hawaiian voters must hold Tulsi Gabbard accountable for her actions and undemocratic (and certainly not progressive) viewpoints. Someone – a real Democrats who understands the intricacies of the 21st Century economy and who believes that a (small-l) liberal world order in which a society of states exists without the repressive hand of dictators promotes stability and peace – must primary challenge Tulsi Gabbard.