Anger at Rep. Virgil Goode - 12.21.2006.1
I just heard about something that is offensive and troubling. It seems that Representative Virgil H Goode Jr. has a problem with Muslims. I come to this conclusion via his comments made in a December 5th letter. If you have not heard about this you should.
The letter in question states, “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,“ among other choice words. It makes me ask what is wrong with Representative Goode.
I assume something must be wrong with him because if there is not, and he is reflecting the views of his constituents in Virginia, then there are problems in this nation that are worse than what I would have guessed. I must say that Representative Goode, and any person that agrees with him, do not represent me or other Republicans I know. I can’t imagine how a narrow-minded view of this nation could have representation in this government. Yes I realize the President is very religious and that factors into many of his decisions, but at the same time I do not see him promoting religious persecution.
Rep. Goode, as well as Mr. Dennis Prager and others that fail to think (in my opinion), seems terrified that any other religion exists. Especially if they exist in this nation. Perhaps they have all forgotten that this nation was created in part due to the hope of religious freedom. Perhaps they forget that this nation has always been a mix of cultures and nationalities and religion. The original 13 colonial states and territories represented Spain, England, France and other nations. Every single person that signed the Declaration was an immigrant.
But that is only part of the problem with this letter. I would like to know how a person’s religion has anything to do with immigration, legal or otherwise. It would seem that Rep. Goode and others have no idea what issue they wish to be lashing out about. This letter is a sweeping statement of how small-minded some can be, I feel.
Let me slow down and focus, unlike this letter. First I am angered by what I see as blatant fear of Muslims, whether they are American or otherwise. If this letter were aimed at those who are Jewish the outcry would be huge. If it were against Lutherans, or Protestants, or born-again Christians Rep. Goode would have calls to be removed. Why should it be any different when this is directed against Muslims?
Second, the private swearing in ceremony has nothing to do with the position the politicians are elected to do. I doubt that a Jewish politician is asked to use a Bible, and the official swearing in is devoid of any religious connection (due to a little thing called separation of church and state). Rep. Keith Ellison is free to use (or not use) any religious tome he chooses. He hasn’t asked anyone else to use the Koran, or become a Muslim. Only a fool, in my opinion, would demand that everyone believe and do what one group says – except perhaps in a dictatorship or Communist state.
Third, immigration is a separate issue. Rep. Ellison is a native African American citizen.
Fourth, what is wrong with Muslims living in America? Many Americans are Muslim and since some of them will have children it seems natural that the number of Muslims will grow over the next century even if none immigrated to this nation. So what’s wrong with that? The number of Muslims has been growing in America for decades. The actual statement from Rep. Goode seems to be that Black or Arab or non-White Muslims are a bad thing for America. If that is correct it is blatant racism. That kind of thinking once justified slavery, and genocide. Actually it still does, which is a shame.
Fifth, what values and beliefs is Rep. Goode afraid of losing? What resources could be swamped? The freedom of speech or religion? The freedom to elect representatives to our government? The desire to raise a family and do a good day’s work? How might an immigrant change that or any religious group? Should these “strict immigration policies” extend to Jews or Catholics or Lutherans? Should these “strict immigration policies” extend to non-Christian immigrants from France, England, Germany, Italy, Russia, or just those who come from those nations and are not Caucasian?
I have this to say, the world is not just one religion. It never has been. I doubt if it will ever be as long as humans walk the earth. Fear of the unknown is powerful and destructive. It benefits no one. In my opinion those who wrap themselves in such a cloak diminish what makes us human and American.
Legal immigration to this nation should not be based on religion or color. But this is the real world and color has always been a factor (I recall that the percentage of immigrants from European nations was roughly 70% of all immigrants) which is sad. Some wish that they can hide from the reality of the world. They feel like that American should be the all white nation that movies, television shows and their romanticized memories of the 50’s seem to depict. Thankfully this is not true.
Individuals of color and various religions have helped to create the nation we live in and the quality of life we enjoy. At least a third of this nation is non-Caucasian, and different religions are a reality. This is part of the strength of America. To limit that is to limit our greatness. To try to penalize citizens, or others in the world, for their personal freedoms is to descend to a nation more like Communist Russia (penalized Jews and Russian Orthodox Christians) or China or North Korea (filled with paranoia and still preparing to finish fighting a war that stopped 50 years ago) than to be what we are or hope to be.
This is not merely what I would call small-minded. This is stupid [I define ignorant as a lack of knowledge, stupid is the ability to have knowledge and the refusal to act on that ability] and dangerous. Perhaps people in Virginia think that Rep. Goode is a great elected official, perhaps he has done well for them. I don’t know as this is the first I’ve heard of the man, but the first impression he has made leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth. I can only hope more feel the same.
This is what I think, what do you think?