Ilhan Omar's Exceptionalism

With the political gloom-and-doom of 2019 weighing heavily upon me, the December/January Progressive piece by John Nichols, "llhan Omar and the Politics of 'Radical Love'" was a breath of fresh winter air. Representative Omar emerges as a complex, thoughtful, and authentic politician.

Reading the piece, I began to reflect on the origins of Omars originality. My conclusion: In Congress, an institution famously homogeneous, a person with Omar's diverse background will inevitably stand out, and stir the pot. Omar is a person of color (in a predominately white Congress), female (in a mostly male Congress), Muslim (in a nominally Christian Congress), has international experiences (in a notably provincial Congress), and is a person of modest means (in an affluent Congress). These distinctions likely carry with them varying forms of empathy. For example, Omar is much more likely to be empathetic to refugees, since she lived in a Kenyan refugee camp for four years.

One of my New Year's wishes is that Congress will continue this modest trend toward diversity. We will all benefit.

--George Savage Madison, Wisconsin

Thank you so much for John Nichols's article on llhan Omar. Representative Omar continues to inspire and excite progressives and leftists all over the country. I'm proud to have voted for her as a Minnesota resident. Nichols's article articulates why Omar deserves our continued support.

--David Feldmann Minneapolis, Minnesota

Noam Chomsky, in Person and in Print

I had the good fortune to attend the interview/discussion with Noam Chomsky that The Progressive sponsored in November in Tucson, Arizona. The auditorium was nearly full with progressives! It was a refreshing evening with thoughtful and respectful discussion of many of our world's political and cultural challenges. Thanks to The Progressive for bringing this presentation to Tucson.

Chomsky's interviewer for the evening was David Barsamian, who did an excellent job of guiding the discussion. Barsamian's interview with Chomsky, " 'Make Whatever...

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