Controversy surrounding Lauren Boebert’s suggestion that a Muslim member of Congress could be a terrorist continued on the third day when the Colorado Republican announced her desire to raise the issue with Rep. Ilhan Omar on a Fox News primetime show.
However, it’s not clear what exactly the two would be discussing. Boebert has repeatedly called Omar a terrorist and, along with Representatives Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley, labeled her as the “Jihad Squad.” Boebert also called Omar “black-hearted” and “evil.”
Omar, on the other hand, asked Boebert for a public apology, but Boebert refused, stating in an Instagram post that she would continue to put America first and would never sympathize with terrorists.
Omar also played a recording of a voice message she received after Boebert’s comments, which used various insults, and the caller told the congressman that she “won’t live much longer”.
Despite the ugliness and unsavoryness of Boebert’s actions, they provide insight into how the mission of serving in Congress has radically changed, especially for those, like Boebert, who entered politics in the Donald Trump era.
Trump’s quote from a 1990 Playboy interview, “The show is Trump, and it’s sold-out performances everywhere,” reflects how he approached his political career from 2015 and how an entire generation of Trump acolytes now view politics.
The idea that politics is about making compromises to improve the country and its people has been replaced by politics as achievement, where running for and being in office is all about promoting one’s personal brand.
This new approach is exemplified by modern Republican politicians such as Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene, who prioritize promoting their own image over passing meaningful legislation. They measure their effectiveness by appearances on Fox News rather than bills passed.
When Boebert was asked by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to apologize to Ilhan Omar, Boebert took the opportunity to further publicize her virtues to the party base. Even her use of the term “Jihad Squad” to refer to Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley is nothing more than name calling directed at the intolerant and discriminatory base that supports her.
It’s a shame there are many more Republican politicians like Boebert waiting in the wings. She is not the exception but the rule in the modern Republican Party.
This trend is dangerous for our politics as the focus has shifted from governing to personal branding and entertainment. This shift perpetuates the idea that politics is a game rather than a responsibility to improve citizens’ lives. Until this trend is reversed, the future of our politics remains uncertain.