Mike Pompeo’s own statements and record of close associations with organizations that have frequently expressed hostility to Muslims and have trafficked in anti-Muslim conspiracy theories raise serious concerns about his fitness to serve as Secretary of State.
— Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO, Anti-Defamation League
Consistency in public life is often honored in the breach. But when it crosses that thin line into hypocrisy, there ought to be consequences.
We are at that moment with Mike Pompeo, the former Congressman and current CIA director who is President Trump’s choice to be the next Secretary of State.
And whereas many self-appointed leaders of the Jewish community raised holy hell when a couple of Congressmen and one of the leaders of the Women’s March refused to denounce the anti-Semitism of the Rev. Louis Farrakhan, we’ve heard precious little from those same critics about Pompeo’s well-documented anti-Muslim bigotry and his close ties with Islamophobic extremists.
Now is the time to resist the slightest extension in the boundaries of what is right and just. Now is the time to speak up and to wear as a badge of honor the opprobrium of bigots.
America has always been aspirational to me. Even when I chafed at its hypocrisies, it somehow always seemed sure, a nation that knew what it was doing, refreshingly free of that anything-can-happen existential uncertainty so familiar to developing nations. But no longer. The election of Donald Trump has flattened the poetry in America’s founding philosophy: the country born from an idea of freedom is to be governed by an unstable, stubbornly uninformed, authoritarian demagogue. And in response to this there are people living in visceral fear, people anxiously trying to discern policy from bluster, and people kowtowing as though to a new king. Things that were recently pushed to the corners of America’s political space — overt racism, glaring misogyny, anti-intellectualism — are once again creeping to the center.
Now is the time to resist the slightest extension in the boundaries of what is right and just. Now is the time to speak up and to wear as a badge of honor the opprobrium of bigots. Now is the time to confront the weak core at the heart of America’s addiction to optimism; it allows too little room for resilience, and too much for fragility. Hazy visions of “healing” and “not becoming the hate we hate” sound dangerously like appeasement. The responsibility to forge unity belongs not to the denigrated but to the denigrators. The premise for empathy has to be equal humanity; it is an injustice to demand that the maligned identify with those who question their humanity.