By Rob Smith | Fox News

“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” President Harry Truman famously said, meaning that people working in government have to be prepared to be criticized for their actions.

Unfortunately, four far-left Democratic freshmen congress women collectively known as “the squad” – who were born long after Truman left office in 1953 – don’t appear to have grasped the wisdom of the former president’s insight.

The four are Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. They’ve come under a lot of criticism – most of it justified – since being elected last year because of their radical views and controversial statements and actions.

But of course, every elected official – Democratic, Republican and independent – faces criticism to some extent. It’s part of the job – the “heat in the kitchen.” When politicians run for office, their opponents don’t heap praise on them, but rather criticize them every chance they get.

Yet instead of taking the criticism and responding to it on its merits, the four members of “the squad” complain loudly that they are unfairly being attacked because they are “women of color.”

And even though the four use extremely harsh and sometimes obscene language in attacking their opponents – including President Trump, other Republicans, moderate Democrats, corporations, Israel, law enforcement officers and others – the congresswomen appear to want to immunity from criticism because of their racial and ethnic heritage and gender.

The four have even gone so far as to say criticism of them prompts death threats, as they seek to be placed in some sort of criticism-free zone that doesn’t exist in the real world. So what are we supposed to do? Never say a bad word about their bad ideas? Never nominate anyone to run against them for re-election?

Look, I know prejudice exists. And as a gay black Republican, I’ve been the target of discrimination for my sexual orientation, my race and my politics. But I don’t automatically cry racism, homophobia or political prejudice every time someone disagrees with me or criticizes me.

My minority status shouldn’t shield me from criticism or make me a special target for criticism. The same should be true for members of “the squad.”

As a Republican conservative, I disagree with just about everything Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley, Omar and Tlaib stand for. But it’s not because they – like me – fit into the current politically correct category of “people of color.”

And as a gay black Republican, I’ve been the target of discrimination for my sexual orientation, my race and my politics. But I don’t automatically cry racism, homophobia or political prejudice every time someone disagrees with me or criticizes me.

Just because we share certain demographic characteristics doesn’t mean the four congresswomen speak for me. Just as all white people don’t think alike, people of other races and ethnicities don’t all think alike either. We are all individuals with a broad range of views. Everyone should recognize this.

Yet members of “the squad” expect to be immune to criticism and get protection at all costs. They seem to think that if they were four white men no one would criticize them.

Tell that to former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and the other white men running for the Democratic presidential nomination. Even more so, tell that to President Trump.

These old white guys – especially Trump – get criticized every day. It’s part of being a politician. Yet I’ve never heard them say they are being targeted because they are “men without color.”

Today just about the worst thing you can accuse someone of is racism. That’s good in a lot of ways. It’s a big improvement from the bad old days when racial discrimination was written into law, and from even earlier times when people who look like me were considered property and held as slaves.

But the congresswomen who cry “racism” all the time are like the boy who cried wolf in the old story. When you play the race card 24/7, your accusations eventually lose their force.

There’s certainly plenty to criticize about “the squad” members.

Their belief in Big Government and over-regulation would weaken our economy, wipe out millions of jobs, raise our taxes sky-high and increase the federal deficit beyond anything we’ve ever seen.

Tlaib, Omar and Ocasio-Cortez have leveled harsh criticism at the Jewish state of Israel. Their attacks are viewed by many – including me – as anti-Semitism.

Ocasio-Cortez has absurdly compared U.S. detention facilities for illegal immigrants to Nazi concentration camps where millions of Jews and millions of others were brutally tortured and murdered.

Pressley created an ideological purity test, demanding that minorities toe the far-left line and telling a leftist group: “We don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice. We don’t need black faces that don’t want to be a black voice. We don’t need Muslims that don’t want to be a Muslim voice. We don’t need queers that don’t want to be a queer voice.”

Tlaib shared the stage at a CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) fundraiser with Imam Omar Suleiman, who called being gay a “disease” and compared homosexuality to bestiality and incest.

My guess is that the moderate Democrats who would disagree with these statements were cowering in some corner, terrified to speak out lest members of “the squad” weaponize their status as women of color to throw the dreaded “racist” slur at them.

Members of “the squad,” other Democrats and the media now regularly call President Trump a “racist,” as if the label were an indisputable fact or part of his name. But try to stick any negative label on the four congresswomen and you’ll be denounced as if you were a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

When a man was shot and killed by police after attempting to firebomb an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility recently, there was near radio silence in the liberal media. There were no CNN panels about how the inflammatory rhetoric of “the squad” could have caused such violence. But you can bet your life that if someone tried to firebomb a left-wing group, the media would have covered the case intensely for months.

Members of “the squad” are telling you exactly who they are. They are telling you that they consider those dedicating their lives to protecting our border little more than sadistic Nazi killers running concentration camps. They are telling you that the thoughts and opinions of black and brown people don’t matter unless they’re leftists.

So we are supposed to accept a double standard: members of “the squad” can say anything they want blasting anybody, but no one can criticize them because as “women of color” they deserve special treatment.

These communist nightmares – oh no! Did I call them “communist?” I’m so sorry, because according to a tweet from Ocasio-Cortez, that term “has a long + rich history w/ white supremacy in the US.”

I guess I was absent from class during my school days when we were taught that Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin were “men of color.” Who knew?

The bottom line is that the four congresswomen in “the squad” should draw neither special protection nor special attacks because of their racial and ethnic backgrounds and gender. They should present their ideas to the American people and those ideas should be judged in the same way they would be if proposed by four white men.

Rob Smith is an Iraq War veteran and political analyst who is a contributor for Turning Point USA, an advocacy group for young conservatives.

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