Goode Grief!

It’s always great when lunatics on the Right demonstrate their ineptitude and blatant xenophobia as clearly as Virgil Goode, a Republican representative from Virginia. It justifies so many of my liberal convictions.

He objects to the decision of Keith Ellison, a recently elected Democratic U.S. representative from Minnesota, to use the Koran when he is sworn in next month. Apparently some voters in Virginia wrote to complain to Goode — who knows what for, except perhaps to put ignorance, idiocy and irrelevance to paper. Goode rewarded them with a heart-warming personal response in which he incongruously rails against illegal immigration and advocates severe restrictions on legal immigration. According to the Times, some intern somewhere must have screwed up, because the good Congressman’s mailing list accidentally included a guy from the Sierra Club — who had written the Congressman about an environmental issue in Virginia, not a representative from Minnesota. This is apparently the guy who made the letter public.

Goode says Ellison’s decision to make his oath on the Koran is unamerican. I guess what he’s saying is that America is not the land of the free and the home of the brave, but rather the land of the Christian and the home of the white man.

“I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration 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,” he wrote.

Not that we should make it our business to specifically screen Muslims out of immigration proceedings, but Goode seems to have completely missed the mark here anyway. Keith Ellison is from Detroit. And while that may seem like a foreign country to many people (trust me, I grew up nearby), he can trace his family history in the United States back to the 18th century.

He also wrote that “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.”

Heaven forbid.

It may have escaped his notice that the Constitution allows for people of all religious stripes to run for Congress. Further, their swearing in does not include the use of a religious text. It’s only at the public ceremony that a book is used.

And why should we care if it’s the Koran or The Lord of the Flies? The Hebrew Bible and Mormon texts have been used in the past.

Goode’s attempt to conflate wrong-headed anti-Muslim sentiment, fueled by anti-terrorism rhetoric, with immigration issues is little more than an admission of his gross ignorance and incompetence.

So, bravo! to the intelligent voters of Virginia’s 5th district for electing this loser to Congress. I hope he gets them everything they deserve.

Virginia Democrats, don’t despair: There are some decent folks in Minnesota who are willing to vote in a competent person to represent their interests to the U.S. Congress. You may want to move up north and cast your lot with them.

(Mind you, Minnesotans are also responsible for the election of Michelle Bachman. There may be no hope anywhere in this country.)


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