By David Swanson
Congressman Virgil Goode recently responded to a statement I’d blogged about him. Here’s what I wrote and his response:
“The Unitary Executive is scheduled to disgrace the grounds of Thomas Jefferson’s house, Monticello, in Charlottesville, Va., making a speech on the morning of July 4, 2008. The event is open to the public, and is Monticello’s annual Independence Day Celebration and Naturalization Ceremony. Numerous immigrants will become citizens in an event besmirched by the presence of a war criminal, and held in the district of Congressman Virgil Goode, whose entire reelection campaign platform consists of hatred for immigrants.”
“The blogger’s statement is false. I do not hate anyone. The blogger also does not distinguish between legal and illegal aliens. The illegal aliens have not followed the process and procedures that those being sworn in as citizens on July 4th have followed. The illegals and the proponents of amnesty want to jump in front of those going through the legal process.”
So, Goode’s concern is to get all legal would-be citizens through the process quickly without any law breakers slowing any of them down or cutting in line.
Except that Goode has repeatedly said that he wants to reduce legal immigration, wants to undo legal immigration policies that allow people to legally immigrate from the Middle East, and that he is motivated in these positions by his fear of Muslims taking over his supposedly Christian country. He also has a habit of sliding back into discussing illegal immigration while keeping the focus on Muslims, whom he considers “potential terrorists.”
When Congressman Keith Ellison proposed to be sworn into office using a Koran, Goode sent the following words in an Email to his constituents:
“When I raise my hand to take the oath on Swearing In Day, I will have the Bible in my other hand.
“I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and 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.
“We need to stop illegal immigration totally and reduce legal immigration and end the diversity visas policy pushed hard by President Clinton and allowing many persons from the Middle East to come to this country.
“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.
“The Ten Commandments and ‘In God We Trust’ are on the wall in my office. A Muslim student came by the office and asked why I did not have anything on my wall about the Koran. My response was clear, ‘As long as I have the honor of representing the citizens of the 5th District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives, The Koran is not going to be on the wall of my office.'”
If you go to Goode’s campaign website at http://www.virgilgoode.com you’ll find this right at the top:
“Illegal immigrants take jobs from our citizens. I’m working to stop illegal immigration and secure America’s borders. We must keep America strong and free by supporting the war on terrorism. While the United States has had a number of successes in fighting those who want to destroy America, our borders are porous and are far too open to illegal immigrants, potential terrorists, and drug dealers.”
Now, maybe that’s not hatred in Goode’s mind but purely the encouragement of fear and hatred in potential voters. But which is worse?
There’s an even more revolting manipulation of citizens’ attitudes going on right now in Virginia’s Fifth District. With Governor George W. Bush scheduled to speak at Monticello on July Fourth, local Republicans, whose attitudes toward immigration have always roughly paralleled those of Goode, and who have never before gone out of their way to promote Monticello’s annual immigrant naturalization ceremony as a sacred and monumental event, have shifted gears.
To listen to them now, you’d think there was nothing of more heartfelt importance to them in their lives than honoring newly naturalized citizens. Sure, they’re excited about Mr. 23% coming to speak, but their focus is all on the holy undisturbability of the naturalization ceremony (understood to encompass Bush’s speech). The point, of course, is to try to shame any protesters of Bush and depict them as protesters of something else. The real shame, though, is how many Democrats obediently bought into that suppression tactic even before it was articulated. How well we’ve been trained! Local political pundit Larry Sabato told the newspaper that Bush is bravely stepping outside of his usual bubble by speaking in Charlottesville where most people don’t like him. Sabato failed to mention that the majority of the tickets to the event had been given away to handpicked supporters.
The only thing I find encouraging is how many of Goode’s misrepresented constituents have tried to persuade Monticello to uninvite Bush and how many are insisting on rallying in protest of Bush on the nearest accessible road. A coalition of groups and individuals plans to protest, including RVA4Peace, the Augusta Center for Peace and Justice, CODEPINK Women for Peace both National and Charlottesville, AfterDowningStreet, Democrats.com, and Charlottesville MoveOn.org. Many other people expected to participate are not members of any of these groups. The protest will take place at Route 20, outside and a ways removed from the grounds of Monticello. To join in, meet at 6 a.m. (or come as early as you can – we’ll be there for hours) on Friday, July 4, at Quarry Park, the entrance to which is on the west side of Rt. 20 just north of Interstate 64.