Twitter | @IlhanMN

Rep. Ilhan Omar Faces Twitter Backlash For Call To Extend GI Bill To All Americans

It's fair to say that ever since she ran for Minnesota's state legislature back in 2016, Congressional Representative Ilhan Omar has been subject to a long period of attacks by Republican politicians and their supporters.

In addition to President Donald Trump famously tweeting that she and three similarly-minded members of congress should "go back" to the countries of their lineage, Omar has also been the subject of an unfounded rumor that she once married her brother.

As ABC reported, these claims are not supported by her actual marriage license and divorce records and she has referred to them as "disgusting lies."

So when she makes a public statement, it's unfortunately become expected that either disparaging references to her ethnicity or this rumor will soon follow. However, it isn't just the conspiracy theory crafters among our population that seemed to balk at a recent suggestion of hers.

On February 6, Omar tweeted the following statement promoting the cancellation of student debt and making post-secondary education tuition-free.

As you can see from the tweeted link, this was a direct quote from an Iraq war veteran named Will Fischer, who argued for the same policy.

As Fischer had benefited from the G.I. Bill, he saw this ideal policy as an extension or revision of what he was already eligible for.

Twitter | @IlhanMN

Nonetheless, critics saw fit to attribute the wording of "the ethos behind the original G.I. Bill" to Omar, which in turn came off as a proposal to extend the G.I. Bill to all Americans from someone who hadn't served.

For many veterans who replied to Omar, this was tantamount to cheapening their sacrifice.

For them, the benefits of the G.I. Bill were considered the government holding up their end of the bargain in exchange for agreeing to potentially risk their lives in six years of military service.

These replies tended to emphasize that the G.I. Bill was "earned," which it wouldn't appear to be if it was extended.

It is for this reason that a common response to the tweet was along the lines of, "If you want to use the G.I. Bill, you should join the military."

Among these replies came some sobering descriptions of what exactly some veterans sacrificed to benefit from the G.I. Bill.

And so, when the weight of these sacrifices feel like the cost for the bill, extending its "ethos" to those who didn't have to sign up for a similar risk feels like minimizing or cheapening them.

However, those who agreed with Omar and Fischer saw the matter differently.

Namely, that one shouldn't have to feel obligated to risk their lives in exchange for tuition-free education when nations such as Germany, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Brazil, Iceland, Argentina, Cuba, Denmark, Ecuador and Venezuela already have tuition-free post-secondary education programs.

In addition, Austria, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Spain and Switzerland have nominal fees for post-secondary education that don't involve taking on student loans.

So for supporters of canceling student debt and and lowering or eliminating tuition, it's more about democratizing higher education rather than focusing on having to earn it.

That said, it's also worth noting that some of the nations mentioned above do institute some degree of compulsory military service, including Switzerland, Brazil, Cuba, Venezuela, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Austria.

It's just that this service has no specific tie to tuition-free education.

h/t: ABC News