Monday, January 08, 2007

Out, Damn Racism

[I decided to spend the Christmas holidays (yes, I did say Christmas--must come as a shock to the likes of Virgil Goode) with family. It's been a difficult year following the loss of my father. And I wanted to focus on family without the intrusion of day-to-day politics. So, except for reading half of Thomas Rick's Fiasco,after the grandkids were in bed, I didn't read much, whether online or elsewhere. I don't much feel like blogging today, but I feel that I must say this.]

Virgil Goode's got a character probelm: He may not have any (character, that is). And he makes me realize how sweet was my disengagement from the news for most of the past two-plus weeks. I returned to the real world of ugly Virginia politics to read article after article about how Virgil Goode has disgraced his constituents and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Looking for all the world like a bigot, Virgil wants all of America to be just like him, or else they can't have the rights those of Goode's faith have, including running for political office. How does anyone take him seriously? Taking the high road, US Rep Keith Ellison was more than polite than Neanderthal Goode and introduced himself to Goode on the floor of the House Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Roanoke Times weighed in on Dec. 23rd with an excellent editorial and a wonderfully outrageous political cartoon. Go RT! Although Dan Radmacher and the editorial staff ably tackled this issue, in their editorial "Virgil Goode's Macaca Moment" (read it here), perhaps just as outstanding is the political cartoon. It shows Joseph Goebels ranting about immigration in 1942. Here's the text of Goebbels' hideous remarks:

"The hundreds of thousands of foreign workers now employed in the Reich are a headache. The danger exists that (relations) between these workers and German women will cause a gradual deterioration of our race. This danger must be checked by every possible means. But it is difficult to discuss such questions in public because the peoples and nations affected immediately take offense" (Joseph Goebbels, 1942).

And now, here are Goode's:

"If American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran..I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the US if we do not adopt the strict policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped (Virgiil Goode, 2006).

It's striking just how extreme Virgil's comment is.

Furthermore, Goode doesn't want us to know that there was no Bible used by anyone at the swearing in. It's a group swearing-in with no religious books. Only in a ceremonial photo does anyone use any book, and it's just for the photograph (i.e., fake). This is how its been in recent years. No one is attacking Christianity here. But that doesn't stop Goode and the other nutjobs who try to bully the rest of America to believe just like them.

Regarding Goode's call for a banning of all Muslims from holding congressional office, Goode doesn't get that the Constitution bans a religious litmus test for seeking public office.

Goode conflates US Rep. Ellison's use of the Koran during the swearing in with immigration in general, which Goode is against. This is interesting because Goode wouldn't be here had his ancestors not immigrated to these United States. Ellison's ancestors came to the US in the 1700s. Yet Goode confuses Ellison's presence in the US with current immigrants. Not that he should be attacking newer immigrants lock, stock and barrel either. Standing up to illegal immigration is one thing. Bashing all immigrants and promoting xenophobia is another. But Goode pushes the immigration "hot button" to rile his fellow bigots.

Then an RT letter-to-the-editor writer wrote a letter to accuse others of attacking Goode's faith. Talk about turning the world (and democracy)upside down! Today (January 8th) the Roanoke Times ran an excellent column by Sam Riley here.

Even Katie Couric, of CBS, has weighed in on the subject (read it here). She's embarrased to be a Virginian. And with respect to the Goode boorishness, so am I.

But US Rep. Ellison himself has said it best, though. Read about it here.

Recently, I have become the focus of some criticism for my use of the Qu'ran for my ceremonial swearing in. Let me be clear, I am going to be sworn into office like all members of Congress. I am going to swear to uphold the United States Constitution. We seem to have lost the political vision of our founding document -- a vision of inclusion, tolerance and generosity.

I wish US Rep. Keith Ellison well. He, at least, knows what America is all about. For Goode, I recommend the new citizenship test, a pilot version of which is located here: