Illinois Republican Mark Kirk, during a public appearance with Tammy Duckworth, his Democratic opponent for one of Illinois’ senate seats, insulted her family’s patriotism and service to the country with the snide remark, “I’d forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.” This blatantly racist remark apparently referred to the fact that Duckworth’s mother is an immigrant from Thailand, but ignores the fact that her father, an army veteran, is from a family that has served in the U.S. military since the time of the American Revolution.
After a public outcry, Kirk apologized to Duckworth on Twitter. But, the damage was already done, and more to the GOP than to Duckworth. Kirk’s outburst is unfortunately so typical of the kind of rhetoric spewing from the mouths of Republican politicians; rhetoric of hatred, bigotry, and divisiveness, that I was not surprised at it at all. That he later apologized will have many saying that he learned his lesson. I won’t be one of them. He should never have had to apologize, because he should never have said what he did. But, like the standard bearer of his party (and, even though Kirk doesn’t support Dishonest Donald, he’s part of the institution that helped create him) he is too quick to ‘go for the jugular,’ and say things that the more radical and rabid members of the Republican base love to hear.
The voters of Illinois should send a clear message to Mark Kirk, and all others of his ilk. Gutter politics will be punished. Come election day, in the words of a reality TV star with delusions of grandeur, ‘you’re fired.’