ICYMI: “Her challenger is unconvincing.” Kate Wittenstein

“Reader’s Write”, Star Tribune, 04/08/20

Antone Melton-Meaux’s opinion piece (“Here’s why I’m challenging Rep. Ilhan Omar,” April 7) is nothing more than a political attack ad demonstrating shallow thinking, inaccuracies and serious omissions regarding Rep. Ilhan Omar’s representation of and street-level involvement with the Fifth Congressional District. As a resident of the district, I suggest that Melton-Meaux is the one who has not delved deeply into the issues that most concern the Fifth District.

The dog whistles to Islamophobia and the race, class and gender erasures are too many to mention. Here are two examples: He says Omar advocates lifting sanctions against Iran but in the shallow thinking that pervades the piece, he makes no effort to explain why. That is a dog whistle. The reason is humanitarian and, in fact, in Tuesday’s Star Tribune, there was a short article about all the esteemed diplomats who support that position. In the Fifth District, Omar has consistently worked closely with marginalized groups, successfully helping Minnesota’s Liberian community, members of which faced immediate deportation (certainly not a high-visibility or celebrity-seeking stand).

Informed residents of the Fifth also know that Omar has run a series of locally focused community conversations on the environment, climate change, affordable housing and health care for women. She continues to do so online. All are welcome to attend. The extensive community turnout reveals Omar’s close ties to the Fifth and her concern about issues that matter to her constituents.

Melton-Meaux attacks Omar for not getting bills passed in Congress but, again, would rather attack than explain even when the explanation is obvious: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Melton-Meaux mentions none of this. Perhaps these initiatives do not fit into his unsupported barrage of attacks on our congresswoman as detached and absent from her district. The people of the Fifth can see through his thin and outworn attacks.

Finally, and oddly, he devotes scant attention to his qualifications. Making a series of promises is the simplest but also least convincing argument for his challenge to our proven organizer and representative of the people — Rep. Ilhan Omar.