Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Congressman's Strained Attempt at Logic

No one really expects too much out of a congressman these days, especially a member of the House of Representatives. But after Virgil Goode's dramatic self-unveiling as a stolid bigot the bar was lowered even more. Rather than easing tensions, say in the vein of former President Gerald Ford, Mr. Goode has now attempted some sort of explanation for his words, in the form of an open letter to USA Today. The result is a painful stab at logic that only Joseph McCarthy could love.

The first thing Mr. Goode attempts to do is erase any idea that he may be bigoted. "My letter did not call for a religious test for prospective members of Congress, as some have charged," he writes. You see, Mr. Goode is not bigoted in the same way millions of people are not racist. He calls for no test, no governmental controls, no overt segregation. It's just that, well, he's uneasy....

"Immigration is arguably the most important issue facing the country today. At least 12 million immigrants are here illegally," he says. That fact is coupled with, "Diversity visas, a program initiated in 1990 to grant visas to people from countries that had low U.S. immigration at that time, are bringing in 50,000 a year from various parts of the world, including the Middle East."

A) Immigration is an important issue. B) For example we have 12 million illegal immigrants in this country. C) Did you know 50,000 people are coming in, some of them from the middle east, on diversity visas? D) Obviously those people are part of the problem and must be stopped.

In other words: to help solve for A we have to fix C by doing D. Ah, the gears are really turning in Mr. Goode's head. But wait, C is neither related to A nor B. You're led to think that diversity visas are related to the aforementioned immigration problem. Unfortunately, diversity visas issue green cards which are perfectly legal. You may remember this type of obtuse parallelism from any speech the White House ever gave about Iraq. A) Terrorism is evil. B) 9/11 is the result of terrorism. C) Iraq is evil. D) we need to invade Iraq to prevent another 9/11.

What we learned in Iraq is that when problem A and problem B are unrelated solving problem B does not also solve problem A. Mr. Goode has not received this memo. It is no secret that this country has a hard time with math and science but I think even this seems within the grasp of a congressman. But perhaps Mr. Goode is much more interested in keeping non-Christians out of congress than he is about solving any immigration problem.

"I believe that if we do not stop illegal immigration totally, reduce legal immigration and end diversity visas, we are leaving ourselves vulnerable to infiltration by those who want to mold the United States into the image of their religion, rather than working within the Judeo-Christian principles that have made us a beacon for freedom-loving persons around the world."

This is the part where the wheels come off. He's saying we should attempt to stop people from molding the United States into the image of their religion, by keeping those people out of the country, so that the United States can be further molded into a Judeo-Christian image. Yes, let's prevent Islam from possibly hijacking the country by surrendering it to Christianity. Wonderful idea. I understand he's just a congressman but what kind of logic is that?

All of this really smacks of McCarthyism. And all of this is really the result of Keith Ellison, a Muslim from Minnesota being elected to congress. Ellison's election, and announcement that he will use the Quran at his swearing in ceremony, should have been a showcase for the American ideal that all men are created equal and have an equal chance in this country. Instead, people like Virgil Goode have seized it to personify their own fears an insecurities. What comes out is not the embracing of the high and difficult ideals of our Republic, but a warped and frustrated discharge served to you with a little logic and an American flag.

Don't believe me? Read the letter for yourself.

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