Hottest Take: Washington Post Asks, ‘What’s So Wrong with Motherf—ker?’

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., smiles following a group photo with the women in the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 4, 2019, during the opening session of the 116th Congress. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

A Friday-published Washington Post opinion editorial — written by Molly Roberts and entitled “What so wrong with motherf***er?” — dismisses criticisms of Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s (D-MI) derision of President Donald Trump as a “motherf****r,” framing concerns of “civility” as manifestations of “linguistic timidity.”

At a Thursday evening event in Washington, DC, hours after her swearing-in ceremony as a congresswoman, Tlaib said, “We’re going to go in and impeach the motherf**ker.”

Roberts praises Tlaib — a self-described “democratic socialist” aligned with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Crotez (D-NY) — for articulating a “cogent case” of “the country in crisis” via the Trump administration.

“‘Motherf—er’ is filler,” writes Roberts. “It means little more than “someone more unpleasant than ‘unpleasant’ can convey.” Saying you grab women “by the p—y,” on the other hand, is truly damaging: It turns members of that gender into something to be played with. Calling immigrants an infestation dehumanizes them.”

Roberts heralds the Democrat Party’s most openly left-wing politicians, casting them as trailblazers pushing against an insufficiently left-wing party establishment. Concerns over profanity, she argues, are secondary to championing those with the vision to break what must be broken in America towards ushering in transformational political change:

A better politics isn’t necessarily a more profane politics. But the left half of the left wants to push broader boundaries, and it’s no wonder they worry when the rest of the party starts to pull instead.

The liberal vanguard Tlaib belongs to seeks massive change, from Medicare for all to a grand climate bargain. They see no hope for compromise now, so they look to a future of Democratic control, when ramming transformation through will require breaking things. The party establishment so far has shown small desire to do so. And that, Tlaib might say, is a motherf—ing shame.

Despite brushing off criticisms of Tlaib’s use of vulgar language from unspecified “pro-civility crusaders,” in a column published in November, Roberts called for amplified political censorship across Facebook and Twitter. She encouraged social media companies to further flex their power to shut down “disinformation” and “false news,” terms she neglected to define.

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