Just when I thought the liberal outrage machine had all but sewn up the 2018 self-righteous indignation trophy, leave it to conservatives to snatch the title away with a scant 32 days left in the year.
In the midst of a somewhat heated Springfield House discussion regarding attorneys’ involvement in the ongoing lawsuits over the terrifying deaths of 13 residents at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy, Democratic Aurora State Rep Stephanie Kifowit said the following to outgoing Republican counterpart Peter Breen:
“I would like to make him a broth of Legionella and pump it into the water system of his loved one, so that they can be infected, they can be mistreated, they can sit and suffer by getting aspirin instead of being properly treated and ultimately die. And we are talking about our nation’s heroes.”
As you might imagine, wishing pestilence, suffering and death on a peer’s family didn’t go over very well, with the exception of it going viral and being picked up by every bleepin’ media outlet in the country.
Of course, those General Assembly Republicans had a field day indulging in all sorts of shrieking, howling, and rending of garments as they called for Kifowit’s head. Not to be outdone in the outrage festivities, their conservative lackeys demanded Kifowit’s resignation as they compared her to Hitler, Stalin, and gasp, Hillary Clinton.
Was it the right thing to say? Of course not! And when Jeff Ward says it’s the wrong thing to say, it’s the wrong thing to say!
Did our State Rep initially err in trying to convince folks she was misinterpreted when it was etched in stone in the official House record? Yes, she did!
Was it a mistake to wait a day before finally issuing an apology? Yes, it was! But she did apologize.
But is it utterly disingenuous for Republicans and the conservative rabble to get completely bent out of shape over what they damn well know was a poorly chosen metaphor? You bet it is!
Under the guise of being the taxpayers’ flag bearer, Breen got a little flip when, in regard to the Quincy Home lawsuit issue, he quipped, “And, yes, we know the personal injury lawyers are going to make out like bandits, which they tend to do anytime they come to the General Assembly.”
Hey Peter! There’s nothing quite like reducing 13 veterans’ deaths from blatant neglect to a financial equation, is there? You’re lucky Kifowit rescued your smart ass BS by saying something much worse.
It was at that point that Kifowit, a former marine who holds veteran’s causes near and dear to her heart, took offense at Breen’s cavalier attitude and issued her ill-chosen remark. Though I’m not defending her, and I’ve taken Ms. Kifowit to task on a number of occasions, because I actually have a brain, I understand why she said it.
We’re talking about a criminal investigation which may well result in murder charges against some high-level Rauner officials. Do you know what it’s like to die of pneumonia from Legionnaire’s disease? You basically drown in your own lungs. It’s a horrifyingly slow and painful death.
Furthermore, my good friend, decade long debate partner, and head of the Pro-Life Action League, Eric Scheidler, clearly understood what Kifowit was trying to do. He said, “Was she stating an actual intention? Of course not. This was hyperbole. But it crossed the line, and she should apologize.”
Exactly! And if Eric and I can finally manage to agree on something, it’s gotta be the truth! This was an error in judgement borne of passion, an apology should’ve been immediately issued, and that should’ve been the end of it.
But no! Republicans and conservatives just had to prove they can outdo the liberal Taliban.
Though it certainly doesn’t justify her comment, Agent Orange has issued a slew of similar proclamations, not the least of which was inciting violence against journalists. And the resounding silence from Republicans and conservatives everywhere has been quite deafening.
Make no mistake, that kind of silence is complete complicity.
I hold Kane County Auditor Terry Hunt, my State Rep Keith Wheeler, and my State Senator Jim Oberweis in the highest esteem, but I’ve been waiting two long years for them to disassociate themselves from the plethora of President Trump’s similarly uncivil declarations, but it never seems to happen. Yet they had no problem piling on Ms. Kifowit yesterday.
I’m beyond disappointed in all of them.
You think you’ve seen everything in 12 years of journalism, but then you suddenly realize that’s not the case. I never thought I’d live to see the day when Republicans and conservatives would be exponentially more outraged by a politician’s utterly misguided statement than by the needless and criminal deaths of 13 veterans at the hands of the Rauner administration.
My fondest wish is, someday, those folks will redirect their artificial outrage into the same kind of passion Ms. Kifowit has for veterans’ well-being.
As it stands now, Republicans clearly love children until they’re born, and they love soldiers until they come home.