OpEd: Democratic Women of McDonough County respond to meme of Congresswomen posted by Illinois Republican County Chair’s Association

MACOMB – The Democratic Women of McDonough County, Illinois, wishes to respond to the racist propaganda meme recently posted on the Illinois Republican County Chairs’ Association’s Facebook page that targeted four female Congressional Representatives.

The incendiary image, posted on Friday, July 19, mischaracterizes the women as Muslim terrorists, positioning them as hostile foreign actors and making it seem acceptable, through their example, for the Republican Party base to further degrade, harass, and threaten them.

“The Illinois GOP’s use of violent propaganda perpetuates the dehumanization of these elected citizens of the United States,” stated Regina Matthews, Chairwoman of the Democratic Women’s Racial Justice Coalition. “This rhetoric must stop.”

“Here, in McDonough County, we have two requests of the McDonough County Republican Party: publicly condemn the racist and xenophobic images and rhetoric shared by their state party, and pledge to distance themselves from the racist and divisive rhetoric from Mr. Trump,” said Heather McMeekan, President of the Democratic Women of McDonough County. “We urge the leaders from the McDonough County Republican Party to contact our local news media to issue a statement, or to contact me directly by emailing me at hmcmeekan@gmail.com.”

We stand in agreement with the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association, which has encouraged Illinois Republican Party leaders and organizations to distance themselves from the image, to stand in solidarity with the Illinois Democratic Chairs’ Association call for every Republican County Chair to denounce the image, and to condemn its dissemination by the Republican Party. We also call on the Illinois Republican Party to investigate the source or agent(s) who posted the image and hold them accountable.

The Democratic Women of McDonough County also call on our U.S. Congressman Darin LaHood (R-IL18) to publicly condemn both the meme and Mr. Trump’s racist messaging and tweets. Tacit endorsement or ignoring of harmful behavior normalizes and perpetuates it. His refusal to condemn these racist attacks by his own party leadership is unacceptable and unbefitting a U.S. Representative of the great State of Illinois.

“It is wrong. It is extreme. It is untrue. The image echoes and amplifies the racist tweets President Trump made about four Democratic Congresswomen,” wrote the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association on their Facebook page.

The Democratic Women of McDonough Co. has informed our Facebook followers and personal friends of the meme, sharing it cautiously with explanation as to it’s inappropriate and harmful messaging to help educate and inform viewers, and in keeping with our mission to be allies to women and all underrepresented people.

Regardless of political party, we should all agree that the creation and posting of such images is not acceptable political discourse. The image depicting these women with hateful, racist and xenophobic stereotypes is morally indefensible, and it puts them at risk of being targeted for violence. The Illinois GOP’s Chairmen’s Association should be condemned for their part in degrading our democracy and promoting hatred.

The Democratic Women of McDonough County
McDonough Co, IL

The Democratic Women of McDonough County is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization focusing on increasing the participation of women and girls in all levels of politics and public policymaking at the local, state, and federal level.

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