Why is Daily Kos Lying About Tulsi’s Record on Progressive Issues? Read on for the Real Facts…
This article is a regurgitation of the same tired criticisms of Tulsi that have no actual basis in her voting record, positions, personal integrity and aloha for all people. In order to look at any individual in public office clearly, we need to be looking at the actual facts, not rumor/innuendo. I’ve been very concerned by the way political opponents of Tulsi have tried to distort her record and in many, cases, accuse her of the exact opposite of what her actual record is. One has to wonder what is the motivation behind that kind of dishonesty. That said, here is a point by point response to the accusations in this biased article:
Accusation #1: Islamophobic
Saying someone is Islamophobic is an extremely negative thing to say about them, in the same vein as calling someone sexist, racist, bigoted, etc. It conjures up a very negative image. To use words like “bigot, Islamophobe, racist, etc” untruthfully can only be called a smear of the lowest kind. The facts show this underhanded accusation is completely baseless:
1. Tulsi was invited to be the keynote speaker by Muslims for Peace at the 10th Annual Prophet Mohammed Day at Rutgers University. I challenge anyone and everyone to watch her speech and say that Tulsi has anything but sincere love and respect for Muslims.
2. Unlike the vast majority of leaders in America, Tulsi actually respects the Prophet Mohammed as a representative of God. This is a quote from her speech, “As a Vaishnava Hindu, a devotee of Sri Krishna, I recognize and respect both Jesus Christ and the Prophet Mohammed as messengers of God, messengers of love, peace, and universal brotherhood.”
3. Tulsi treats Muslims with love and respect. Here’s Tulsi speaking with Muslim women in Syria:
Here’s Tulsi speaking with young Muslim women after her keynote speech for Muslims for Peace Prophet Mohammed Day:
Tulsi’s keynote speech at the 2016 Reason Rally goes into depth as to how she is strongly stands for secularism and religious freedom for all:
Accusation #2: Use of phrase “Islamic extremism”
Tulsi has always made a distinction between Muslims who practice Islam in a pluralistic, peaceful way and the handful of extremists who kill or subjugate anyone who doesn’t convert to their own extreme brand of Islam. Tulsi has stated:
“The majority of Muslims are practicing the spiritual path of Islam within their own lives in a pluralistic, peaceful way. So by calling organizations like ISIS Islamic or Islamist extremists , we are making a distinction between the vast majority of Muslims who are not extremists and a handful of those who are.”
Also, Tulsi has never said that the words “Islamic extremism” are magic. She’s made the point again and again that we actually have to recognize who our opponent is, and that’s what’s important. If we don’t understand who the enemy is and their ideology the fuels them, then we’re not going to be able to defeat them.
Tulsi has stated:
“In order to defeat the enemy, we need to clearly identify them. We must defeat them in the ideological war, not just on the battlefield. In order to defeat their ideology, we need to recognize what their ideology is.
The ideology that inspires those fighting for ISIS, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra and other jihadist organizations is loosely referred to as “Islamism” and can be more specifically identified as Wahhabism. It is the ideology promoted and spread primarily by Saudi Arabia teaching that anyone who does not accept that particular interpretation of Islam must be converted, killed, or in other ways punished. On the Islamists’ list of those who must be killed or punished are Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, and followers of other Muslim sects such as Shias, Sufis, and non-Wahhabist Sunnis…
The U.S. must stop treating as “allies” countries that are promoting the Wahhabist ideology that is at the root of so much suffering worldwide.
By calling terrorists like al-Qaeda and ISIS “Islamic extremists” we are making a distinction between the vast majority of Muslims who are not extremists and a handful of those who are extremists. This is the best way to show our respect to peaceful Muslims around the world.
Tulsi’s position was recently confirmed by a well-respected Muslim activist from Pakistan:
“Congresswoman Gabbard is absolutely on the mark in presenting an outline of a policy that should clearly identify Salafi-Wahhabi and Deobandi ideology as the ideology of hate and terror, worse than even Nazism, because it is much more violent. It will also ease the pressure on the common Muslims who can publicly disassociate themselves from these cults. The clear identification of terrorist ideology will actually be a blessing for ordinary Muslims who will whole heartedly join government efforts in rooting out this violent and hateful ideology from the country, and hopefully, the world.” — Ali Abbas Taj of Let Us Build Pakistan
The question I have to those who criticize Tulsi for standing against radical Islamic terrorism is this: how is it progressive to be “tolerant” or supportive of an ideology which teaches that the following groups of people should be exterminated: atheists, secularists, LGBT, Shia Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Sufis, and other Middle East religious minorities. In her speech at the Muslims for Peace conference, Tulsi made this critical point:
“The terror that we see perpetrated in the name of God today is in fact a refusal to honor the inherent freedom of all people that is given by God. So-called “religious terrorism” is born of an exclusivist ideology that says, my faith is the only legitimate faith, and that everyone who does not believe as I believe is inferior and must be converted, enslaved, raped, or killed. … Groups like ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram all share this divisive ideology in common, and it is also at the heart of the Wahhabi Salafist ideology sponsored and propagated by countries like Saudi Arabia. This exclusivist ideology is the opposite of real religion because it denies the inherent freedom of every individual to choose whether and how they want to love God or not, and it is the enemy of peace for all of humanity. Therefore, in order to defeat this enemy, we not only need to defeat these terrorist groups militarily, we need to defeat them ideologically. Otherwise, those terrorists we kill on the battlefield will simply be replaced by others who have been indoctrinated into a perverse and violent understanding of religion.”
Accusation #3: Homophobic
Tulsi has been officially endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT lobby in America. In Congress she fought to repeal DOMA in support of the U.S. federal government recognizing the validity of same-sex marriages. She has advocated for LGBT Housing/Privacy rights and to end bullying and harassment in schools and has co-sponsored numerous bills in support of LGBT rights including the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Respect for Marriage Act, the Healthy Families Act, the Equality Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act.
Accusation #4: “Cozy” with Assad
If an American leader meets with a foreign leader to try to bring peace to a ravaged nation, this does not mean that our leader is “cozying up” with that foreign leader. Did Henry Kissinger and President Nixon “cozy up” to Mao Zedong? President Obama met with Vladimir Putin numerous times. Was he “cozying up” to Putin?
Tulsi has clearly stated why she met with Assad, and it has nothing to do with her opinion of him (and has everything to do with the need to find a solution for the people of Syria, who have suffered so much as a direct result of regime change war.:
“I met with President Assad to further the cause of understanding and peace. We can’t further the cause of peace and understanding without meeting with people we don’t agree with. We can’t just meet with our friends.
Regardless of what we think of Assad — he is the president of Syria. We have two choices: continue to work toward regime change — which simply strengthens terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda and ISIS who want to take over Syria, or stop directly and indirectly helping terrorist organizations fighting to overthrow Assad.
In my view, we should immediately end all indirect and direct efforts to overthrow the Syrian government, and instead focus our military efforts one-pointedly on ISIS and al-Qaeda (al-Nusra and other terrorist organizations). This is one of the reasons why I introduced the Stop Arming Terrorist Act.”
Regarding Tulsi’s opposition to Trump’s missile attack on the Syrian government:
Carrying out a missile attack on Syria without proof that the Syrian government was in fact behind the chemical attack, and without congressional approval for such an attack, is not “progressive” thing to do.
Tulsi’s position on the chemical weapons attack is quite objective, as you can see here in her interview with Hawaii News Now.
Tulsi has stated:
“I have not taken a position as to whether the Assad regime is or is not culpable for the chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun. I oppose President Trump’s military strike against Syria because:
1. The United Nations had not completed a thorough independent investigation (they were drafting a resolution for conducting an investigation the day before the attack).
2. Congress and the American people were not shown evidence demonstrating the Assad regime was responsible, and a case had not been made to Congress for authorization for the use of military force.
3. We can’t have a trigger-happy president taking unilateral military action without a thorough and impartial investigation and approval from Congress. This is the reasonable, constitutional position to take.”
Tulsi has also called Assad a “brutal dictator” but underscored the importance of ending regime change war :
“In my view, Assad is a brutal dictator, but ultimately, I should not be the one determining whether or not he should be in power in Syria. That should be left up to the Syrian people. The United States should not be going around the world deciding who should be the leader of countries other than our own. We don’t want other countries to be choosing who our leaders are. So we should understand that people of other countries don’t appreciate our trying to be the ones deciding who their leaders are going to be. We need to end all these regime change wars and regime change policies.”
Many so-called progressives are opposed to Tulsi because of her Stop Arming Terrorists Act. I don’t know why it’s considered progressive to arm terrorists for the purpose of overthrowing of a sovereign government. I also don’t know why it’s “progressive” to be supporting terrorists like al-Qaeda.
Accusation #5: Tulsi Met with Trump
Donald Trump asked Tulsi to meet with him in order to share her views on Syria. She accepted that meeting in order to take the opportunity to try to convince him to end that regime change war — and more specifically to not be influenced by neocons who were advocating that the United States escalate that way by implementing so-called no fly or safe zones.
After the meeting with Donald Trump, Tulsi said:
“It would have been easier for me to refuse this meeting…but it was important to take the opportunity to meet with the President-elect to counteract neocons’ steady drumbeats of war, which threaten to drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government.”
Accusation #6: Republican Sheldon Adelson “Supports” Tulsi (even though he’s never given her a single penny or even said anything nice about her)
It is completely absurd to claim that Sheldon Adelson is a supporter of Tulsi, yet Adelson has never even contributed a single dollar to Tulsi.
Tulsi’s legislation opposes online gambling. Online gambling hurts low income and the most vulnerable amongst us. The fact is that Adelson and many other Republicans and Democrats supported Tulsi’s legislation. Just because different people can support the same legislation for different reasons, does not mean that they are somehow “in bed together.” That’s completely absurd.
Tulsi introduced the bill in response to concerns expressed by many state attorney generals, including Hawaii’s attorney general. Why would it be considered “not progressive” to be against online gambling when the main people hurt by online gambling are the poor and the disenfranchised?
Accusation #7: Gun Control
Tulsi has received a 100% rating from Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. You can read about her position from her website: “Tulsi has a consistent record of advocating for sensible gun control. She has long called for reinstating a federal ban on military-style assault weapons and high capacity clips, requiring comprehensive pre-purchase background checks, closing the gun-show loophole, and making sure that terrorists are not allowed to buy guns. Tulsi is focused on building bipartisan solutions that can actually be passed into law, rather than using the issue as a partisan political football.”
You can read the gun control measures she has cosponsored here.
Accusation #8: Not Progressive
Tulsi’s a true progressive and has been championed by many progressives for her tireless dedication and hard work on progressive issues. This is a summary of Tulsi’s progressive positions on important issues that face our country and our world:
· She is pushing for campaign finance reform, including a constitutional amendment that would reverse 2010 Citizens United decision. She is relying exclusively on individual contributions for her campaigns (no PAC money.) She supports legalizing marijuana, Medicare for All, $15 minimum wage.
· She is against Donald Trump’s ban on refugees and his Muslim ban.
· She urged President Obama to halt DAPL, visited Standing Rock to stand with the water protectors against DAPL
· Tulsi is rated a “libertarian-leaning progressive”, votes with Democrats over 90% of the time, has a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood, Environment America, Alliance for Retired Americans and Humane Society and is endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, Planned Parenthood, Bernie Sanders, Progressive Democrats of America, Sierra Club and Emily’s List, etc.