Meet Debbie Riddle, Republican representative in the Texas House. She represents the 150th district - one that comprises Houston and Harris County.
Before today, she was famous only for her 2003 "pit of hell" speech, where she said the following during a session in the Texas legislature:
Where did this idea come from that everybody deserves free education, free medical care, free whatever? It comes from Moscow, from Russia. It comes straight out of the pit of hell. And it's cleverly disguised as having a tender heart. It's not a tender heart. It's ripping the heart out of this country.Today, she took to social media to express her downright ugly xenophobic views on how American soldiers should handle sensitive issues in mostly Islamic nations. The post that stirred controversy went as follows:
Our soldiers do NOT need to be taught how to be sensitive to radical Muslims. They do not need to be worried about blowing their nose wrong or using their left hand and offending someone. They need to just be focused on winning wars & protecting our country. Our soldiers are willing to fight and die for our freedoms - they should not be concerned with being PR agents or community organizers. They should not be bothered with being sensitive to people who want us all dead! We need a true leader in the White House - a vote for Obama is a vote to destroy our country. We can no longer afford to be politically correct or politically polite to people who choose to kill our citizens & disrespect our flag. Mr. President - if folks kill our citizens and trash our flag they don't need our money - they need to see our full military strength and force.Some time later, a law student by the name of Abdul Pasha decided to chime in. Pasha attends South Texas College of Law and holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas - one of the best public universities in the country. Pasha is also an American citizen, raised in the United States. He responded to the representative with the following message:
Go educate yourselves, if ya'll have real guts.Pasha posted an accompanying link, noting that a report recommends sensitivity training for American soldiers. He also responded to the outright bigotry of a fellow poster earlier in the comment stream.
That is when the fun began. Noticeably enraged by the dissenting view from a person with such a foreign name, Representative Riddle launched into full-on attack mode. She said the following:
Abdul, if you are so offended by our soldiers then you don't need us or our money in Afghanistan. As an American I am greatly offended that we have had American soldiers killed by the very ones we were attempting to train and help - Afghanistan soldiers. Get a grip fellow - if you want to be an American act like one and be proud of our country and stand up for our military. If you can't do that then go where people are sensative enough for you - I guess that would be Afghanistan - where they still live like they are in the Stone Age - but still very sensative (sic).emphasis added.
After Pasha noted that he was, in fact, an American, and that he was proud of our soldiers, the representative did not relent. She responded with some of the following:
OK - Abdul - I guess it is OK that the Muslims kill and torture people when they get their feelings hurt. I guess we should not have 1st Amendment rights - we might hurt your feelings. I guess we should all bow and scrape to Muslims because we don't want to be politically incorrect. Well, I suggest that you step out of your easily offended world and appreciate those of us who pay the taxes and provide your education and your freedom. We provide benefits for you and you call us names because we are angry at the Muslim world for killing our citizens. So, be proud of your country and stand against people that murder our people...I won't burn a building or kill someone because you are insulting - I just consider it ignorance on your part and you will growup(sic) someday.I'm not even sure where to begin with this. Here, we have a Texas state representative telling one of her constituents - a law student, American citizen, and college graduate - to essentially "go back to Afghanistan" after he posted a rather innocuous report. We must also note the utter absurdity of an elected official taking to social media in such an abrasive and inarticulate fashion, exposing herself as more than just a bigot. She is, in addition, a seemingly uneducated bigot who lacks the ability to spell basic words.
This woman is a racist, a xenophobe, and a dangerous example of when right-wing ideology goes wrong. She should be exposed for the utter lunacy she displayed in speaking to a perfectly respectable young man.
For those who have Facebook, the woman's page is public, and her comments can be found here:
Edit: The Houston Chronicle has picked this up.