Election 2012, Law Schools, Politics, Racism, Texas

Texas Politician Tells Law Student to Go To Afghanistan — Notwithstanding The Fact That The Kid Is An American Citizen Born In Pakistan

This doesn’t mean the same thing in all parts of the world.

It’s not unusual for politicians to spew racist or ignorant invectives about people and cultures when one is unfortunate enough to hear them speaking to their “base.” That’s just the sad fact of political life, and saying horrible things about “other” people is neither new nor uniquely American. All over the world, there are politicians who make their mark by inflaming the passions of the dumbest among us.

What’s unusual about this election cycle is that so far, politicians have really doubled down on their divisive, hateful, or frankly stupid speech when the red meat intended for true believers gets picked up by more moderate sources. We’re seeing it with Mitt Romney and this ridiculous notion that the world can be divided up between makers and takers. We’re seeing it with Todd Akin who has stubbornly refused to shut that whole thing down. And I’m sure it’s happening in local races all around the country.

A tipster sent us something about one such local race. Debbie Riddle is running for reelection as a Texas State Representative. She’s got some views which are the very definition of racism towards the Afghan people. But it’s not surprising that an openly racist woman has been elected by the good people of Texas. What’s surprising is how comfortable she is being this hateful even when talking to a student and fellow American citizen who just happens to be not white.

I mean, I’m not as prejudiced against this guy as Debbie Riddle is, even though he goes to some law school I’ve barely heard of….

The Houston Chronicle has the story of how Representative Riddle interacted with Abdul Pasha, a student at South Texas College of Law, during a Facebook exchange. It started out with Riddle making patently racist statements:

What got Riddle going was a newspaper article about sensitivity training for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. “Our soldiers do NOT need to be taught how to be sensitive to radical Muslims,” Riddle proclaimed. “They do not need to be worried about blowing their nose wrong or using their left hand and offending someone. . . . They should not be bothered with being sensitive to people who want us all dead! We need a true leader in the White House — a vote for Obama is a vote to destroy our country.”

Now I know that conservative apologists try to make calling someone racist more controversial than actually being racist, but come on. The woman is wrapping all Afghans into the group of “radical Muslims” and she’s doing it to the direct harm of our soldiers and the Afghan people. This hand signal thing is critically important. Holding your hand up, palm out, to say “stop” as we do in America DOES NOT MEAN STOP in the Middle East. Knowing that is somewhat critical, especially given that we’re not sending over a whole lot of multilingual soldiers. Sensitivity training isn’t the opposite of “being tough,” it’s the opposite of “being a dumb” and “getting shot because of a misunderstanding.” Jesus.

Sorry, I’m making the mistake of trying to reason with a foaming crazy person and the imbeciles who support her. Back to Riddle’s Facebook page:

Bob Mearns wrote, “If our President had any cajones, the B-52s would have been launched right after we had confirmation of the Libyan Ambassadors murder.”

That note prompted a Riddle reply: “Bob, what is missing is a heart for America — our President simply has no heart or love for America — and those who support him are either foolish or cut from the same cloth — or both.”

See, you can’t explain things to these people. Because understanding things is not what you do when you have “cajones.” Apparently, in Riddle’s world, bombing people that have no quarrel with you is what you do when you have heart. Which is kind of how the terrorists think.

In any event, Abdul Pasha was reading all this (don’t ask me why) and decided to respond (because he hasn’t lost all faith in humanity). Remember, the story here isn’t that we’ve got a racist elected official. That’s TOO COMMON TO BE NEWS. The story is how she responds to other citizens living in her state:

“Abdul, if you are so offended by our soldiers then you don’t need us or our money in Afghanistan. As an American I am greatly offended that we have had American soldiers killed by the very ones we were attempting to train and help — Afghanistan soldiers. Get a grip fellow — if you want to be an American act like one and be proud of our country and stand up for our military. If you can’t do that then go where people are sensative (sic) enough for you – I guess that would be Afghanistan – where they still live like they are in the Stone Age – but still very sensative.”

A couple of things that simply need to be said:

  • Debbie freaking Riddle has no business telling anybody how to act like an American, least of all a fellow American.
  • Living in Afghanistan is not like living in the Stone Age, you ignorant, horrible woman.

Riddle and Pasha go back and forth a little bit, with Riddle ending the conversation by suggesting that Pasha learn how to respect his elders. That’s funny given that the younger generation’s understanding that people like Riddle are the racist relics of history is maybe our only hope for brighter future.

Pasha was born in Pakistan, but came here with his parents and is now an American citizen going to law school. Clearly, he’s a fan of the U.S.A. This is his country every bit as much as it’s Debbie Riddle’s country. Debbie Riddle was elected to represent him as much as anybody else. I can write off Riddle as a worthless human not deserving of my thought, and so can Pasha if he wants to.

But Riddle volunteered to serve her entire community, not just the angry and stupid ones. Luckily for her, the stupid ones are all she needs to be reelected.

Go live in Afghanistan, Riddle tells law student [Houston Chronicle]

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