While the Democratic Party likes to think of itself as the party of tolerance, it very rarely lives up to this creed. In fact, one Democratic representative in Congress — who was mocked by people in her state — proclaimed that people who make fun of members of Congress should be “shut down and prosecuted.”
Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida made the controversial comments shortly after touring the Homestead immigration facility along with other Democratic politicians. While a portion of her comments were unclear due to a basic grammatical error, the intent of her rhetoric was hard to miss. She clearly told journalists that people who make fun of members of Congress are a disgrace, and need to shut down and prosecuted. She then stated that intimidating and threatening a member of Congress is illegal.
There are two main problems with the congresswoman’s comments. The first is that it’s extremely difficult not to make fun of Rep. Frederica Wilson. Some of her outfits wouldn’t look out of place at a circus. Her insistence on wearing the most ostentatious ten-gallon hat that she can find at any given time makes her choice of clothes look even more ridiculous. She also made her comments from her very own portable podium with a personalized, engraved backdrop intended to look good for any cameras that would happen to show up.
The second, more pressing problem is that the congresswoman does not seem to be the least bit familiar with the First Amendment. While it is illegal to threaten a member of Congress, it is not illegal to “intimidate” a person by mocking him or her online. If it were, the producers and cast members of Saturday Night Live would be in jail decades ago.
It is also worth noting that, shortly after delivering her tirade against the people who would dare to make fun of her, Rep. Wilson went on her Twitter account to post an unflattering meme of President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The hypocrisy is uncanny. After all, Senators and sitting presidents are political figures just like members of the House of Representatives are. If it should be illegal to mock members of the House of Representatives, then it should also be illegal to mock any other national or even local politician.
Rep. Wilson’s bizarre rant against free speech is both funny and troubling. It is hilarious to think that threatening to prosecute people who make fun of politicians will put an end to the practice. In fact, the opposite occurred — welcome to the Internet!