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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Friday, December 22, 2006

A Virginia Good Ol' Boy

Congressman Virgil Goode, Republican, of Virginia, has finally done it. Formerly laboring in obscurity, he has become noticed on the national radar, by drawing bitter attacks, on the grounds that he has shown clear bigotry toward Muslims. It’s hard to say, however, whether he accomplished this breakthrough on purpose. Maybe he would have preferred to make his mark in a more salutary way, though in some minds what he did was entirely to be congratulated.

He did this, or it was done for him, by means of a letter that he wrote to certain of his constituents, in which he advocated tightening the country’s current immigration laws specifically to throw up barriers against Muslims. If that “Virgil Goode position," as he called it, is not adopted he warned, many more Muslims will arrive on our shores and will be elected to public office in the U.S., and they will choose to be sworn in on the Koran instead of on the Holy Bible.

He was referring to a Representative-Elect in Minnesota named Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to be elected to Congress. And Ellison threw up the red flag right quick by announcing, apparently, that he will use the Koran during his swearing in ceremony.

On hearing of this a bunch of Goode’s more pious constituents wrote to him, protesting this proposed action. Would-be Christianity is strong in Goode's district, and if that district doesn't include Jerry Falwell’s Lynchburg kingdom, it is right next door. Goode, acting in the role of the responsive Congressman that he would like to be, sent his outraged constituents letters outlining the measures he would like to see his fellow Congressmen taking to prevent any future actions like Ellison’s.

Ironically, Ellison’s name does not make him sound like a recent immigrant from the Middle East, and he only converted to Islam during his college days. This is not a surprise, when we are told that, in spite of all the terror stuff, Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the U.S. And later Ellison said that he was speaking of a small, private swearing-in ceremony, instead of the big one performed in the House, where the left hand isn’t required to rest on or hold anything.

This is yet another case of anger driving people to lead with their behinds instead of with their heads.. Goode and his furious constituents seem to be overlooking the fact that America’s values have always rested on freedom of religion, and even in the recently and unjustifiably modified (by my standards) flag salute, it just says “one nation under God,” and not “under the Christian God.” So you would think that religious people would just be glad to see swearings-in to be conducted under some god, period, of whatever persuasion.

I had heard of Virgil Goode. He happens to represent the district in which I’ve been a transplant from D.C. for the last 30 years. This district is located in the beautiful and peaceful Piedmont area in the western half of Virginia. Once I even attended a Democratic event at which Goode spoke. I thought he was okay then, purely because at that time he was a Democrat. I may even have applauded, though I recall being puzzled at the thickness of his Southern good ol’ boy drawl, which seemed to me to greatly exceed what I’d heard coming out of the mouths of his fellow born and bred Virginia cavaliers.

Shortly after I dropped out of being active in supporting local politics, 10 or 15 years ago, Virgil Goode switched to being a Republican instead,.and a hardcore one at that.

It would be easy to condemn him therefore as being a turncoat, especially considering the small number of successful Democrats in Virginia, but the times and tendencies have a way of overtaking politicians here and there, and it’s good that the system has enough flexibility to allow people to switch parties with a minimum of fuss and muss. After all, Senator Jeffords of Vermont, formerly a Republican, left that party, to the great benefit of the Democrats, and so did Jim Webb, who in the most recent elections became a Democratic Senator from Virginia.

Still, I can’t help thinking that one switches to the Democrats purely out of high principle, whereas they switch to being Republicans mainly out of opportunism, because that’s where the big bucks are. They can’t possibly do it because of the company they find there.

A small note of comedy to add here. Goode’s letter only became public when it was revealed by a Sierra Club official.

At first I wondered why Goode would write that or any other kind of letter to somebody from the Sierra Club. It turned out that, as so often happens, the official received the letter by mistake. Such are the vagaries of the paths chosen by fame and infamy.


Anonymous pjgoober said...

Seriously, after September 11th, any nation that was not insane would have halted all muslim immigration. We have absolutely no obligation to let them in. They come here at our whim. September 11th was far more than enough cause to bar the whole lot of them.

God Bless Virgil Goode! I have called his office and given my thanks.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Carl (aka Sofarsogoo) said...

Goode gets your thanks, PJG, which I would think he could do without, but, though he could use them, he will not get God's blessings, because it is hard to see God, being just, sharing your or his shortsightedness in this matter. So Goode will lose out all around -- a sad outcome for him.

10:36 PM  

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