Hypocrisy continues to abound in American politics. The latest iteration of “Do as we say and not as we do” involves a controversy over Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy and progressive Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA). It started when Ramaswamy compared the lawmaker and others on the left to “wizards of the grand KKK.”
During a campaign stop in Iowa on Friday, Ramaswamy said there is a “new Neo racism on the left” and referred to prior comments made by Pressley in 2019 when she said, “We don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice.”
The candidate said, “The grand wizards of the KKK would be proud of what they would hear her say because there is nothing more racist than saying that your skin color predicts something about the contents of your viewpoints or your ideas.”
Pressley’s team responded with a fundraising pitch. “We typically don’t engage in these bad-faith attacks but yesterday a line was crossed. A GOP candidate referred to Ayanna as ‘a modern grand wizard of the KKK’ because she speaks out against racial injustice,” they said. “This is backwards and harmful, but that is the point.”
Ramaswamy doubled down on his comments in a conversation on CNN “State of the Union” on Sunday. “I think it is the same spirit to say that I can look at you and based on just your skin color that I know something about the content of your character — that I know something about the content of the viewpoints you’re allowed to express,” he said.
“The remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination.” -Ibram Kendi
“We don’t want any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice.” -Ayanna Pressley
It’s racist. It’d make the Grand Wizard of the KKK proud. It’s driving reactionary attacks. It needs to end. pic.twitter.com/k9E3GWPOUg
— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) August 27, 2023
“For Ayanna Presley to tell me that because of my skin color, I can’t express my views — that is wrong.”
Ramaswamy was panned by high-profile influencers on the left, who curiously have no problem with using the exact same type of rhetoric when trying to score cheap political points against Republicans and conservatives. You might remember the constant efforts to liken former President Donald Trump and his supporters to the Klan and Nazis. In fact, here are a few headlines published by left-wing news outlets:
“The Trump Family’s History With the KKK”
“Donald Trump stumbles on David Duke, KKK”
“How Trump Brought Nazis Into Republican Politics”
“Is it wrong to compare Trump to Hitler? No.”
Of course, if you have been paying attention to politics for longer than five minutes, you know these headlines are but a minuscule sampling of the many instances in which folks on the left have tried to paint those on the right as adjacent to the KKK and Neo-Nazis.
America’s political environment has always been saturated with hyperbole, exaggerations, and outright falsehoods. But the reality is that none of this type of rhetoric is productive. The notion that Pressley is somehow in line with the Klan, which promoted the widespread wholesale slaughter of black people, is absurd. There are plenty of better ways to criticize the lawmaker – she already provides tons of ammo.
However, I sure as hell am not going to listen to ludicrous lectures railing against Ramaswamy for engaging in the same type of behavior they embrace on the left. Indeed, this type of rhetoric has been their bread and butter for decades. If they actually believed what they say, then they wouldn’t support using these tactics against their political opposition.