This was a race that shouldn’t have been anywhere near close. A strong conservative, running in a highly conservative district encompassing a swath of mostly Loudoun County and some of Prince William County, narrowly ekes out a 51 vote victory margin against a no-name liberal who runs a weak campaign amidst the biggest Republican wave that has ever hit Loudoun County. A win is a win, and I’m mighty pleased it was a win, but I remain deeply disturbed by the unnecessary and utterly idiotic hurdle that almost prevented it.
Today the Washington Examiner writes about it in an article that should open a lot of soul-searching discussions.
But in winning elected office for the first time this year, Ramadan learned that religion carries a price tag even when it’s free. Anti-Muslim organizations attacked him as a tool of radical Islam, as one who — wittingly or inadvertently — aids, abets or is beholden to terrorists.
It might not have seared him as deeply had his wartime boyhood not put him in the midst of terrorism rooted in religion and nationalism.
“It was hurtful to see because it was not true and these people were making it up for political purposes. It was pathetic and it was bigoted,” he said. “But I have a tough skin, so I dealt with it.”
I thoroughly understand concerns about radical Islam, and have written pretty frequently about it. Virginia has a number of deeply disturbing characters who have clear ties to terrorism financing, or have done things like make statements in front of the White House about how they support Hezbollah, and when we have individuals injecting themselves into the political discourse with these clear ties, I’m one of the people often at the forefront pointing out these associations. Usually I’m doing that almost entirely by myself, without the benefit of ready-made protest squads to push the point home, and sometimes I even get called all sorts of names for doing so. I’m OK with that.
When engaging on a hunt to root out and expose radical Islamists though, you can’t just assume that simply anyone with a foreign name, or any immigrant from the middle east is a closet terrorism enabler. It’s irresponsible, it’s counterproductive, and will ultimately be extremely harmful in so many ways. The country is already very suspicious about middle easterners, and conveniently piling on that meme simply because it is politically convenient is a great way to cause entirely unnecessary and thoroughly unproductive ethic enmity that will do this nation great harm. If your long-term goal is to hope we’ll someday exclude anyone of middle eastern heritage from political life in this country, this tactic is certainly for you. If you’re actually motivated to learn the truth and react appropriately to it, this idea is utterly stupid.
If we are ever to see radical Islamism as a motivation defeated as an idea, the point is not to universally make Muslim-Americans bogeymen. It is to demonstrate with credibility that the idea of radical Islamism is horrific, and responsibly identify those responsible for promoting that idea and hold them to account for it. Those that reject radical Islamism and clearly demonstrate that they don’t just understand the beauty of American ideals but embrace them with gusto aren’t to be rejected. They’re the answer — really the only answer — to shifting the dynamic among Muslim communities here and abroad. Some guy that looks and talks like me isn’t going to shift thought within immigrant and international communities, but someone that looks like them, sounds like them, and is one of them ethnically, will because they are armed with truth and familiar to their audience. These are international culture warriors in perhaps the most significant international intellectual battle of this century, and if we lose this one, life is going to be awfully difficult for our children and grandchildren, and their children as well.
Culturally assimilated middle eastern Americans are critically important to our future national security. They are international ambassadors that can change one of the most fundamental national security challenges we face now and in the future. Demonstrate to these people we hate them, and it just about proves true everything the radical Ayatollahs and Imams are saying about us. That doesn’t mean at all ignoring valid domestic threats, but we have to be able to differentiate between allies and threats rather than simply assume anyone with a funny name and an accent is a threat.
So I’m going to a David Ramadan event one night late in the campaign in Tyson’s Corner, and it’s all I can do to not walk out in front of the building where the Jo-Ann Chase crowd is still protesting and slap some sense into these misinformed folks who have been whipped into a frenzy by a bunch of deliberately irresponsible idiots. Do they not have a clue at all what they’re doing? Apparently they don’t, but there’s a funny name involved, the guy they’re protesting has an accent, and that’s all they need to make it seem that the Republican Party is about as rational on ethnic matters as was Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt who rounded up people and incarcerated them in internment camps solely because of their ethic heritage. It’s not just annoying, it’s deplorably enraging. In the long-term, is phenomenally counter-productive.
Because of this idiocy David Ramadan lost in Loudoun County, and it fell to Prince William County to overcome that and provide him with the margin of victory. This was at the same time the Loudoun County Democrats were in complete disarray to the point of losing seven seats on the Loudoun County Board to make it 9-0 Republican in the most stunning electoral turnaround in Loudoun County history since Reconstruction. One of the most conservative house districts in Virginia almost elected a liberal Democrat while a portion of the Republican activist base wasn’t not only not supporting Ramadan, but actually protesting outside of his campaign events saying utterly silly things.
Were there some folks making some criticisms that were at least rational, and not based wholly on ethnically-based fear mongering? Sure. I don’t agree with those assessments, but just as I urge others not to pigeon-hole anyone from the middle east as a terrorist threat I’m not going to claim that everyone who didn’t support David was doing so solely out of cultural ignorance whipped into overdrive by some irresponsible parties. You want to engage responsibly, I’m fine with that, even if I don’t agree. You’re not the ones I’m throwing rocks at today. The “anti-shariah taskforce” crowd have earned every one of these and more, but not you.
Over the next two years those folks are going to have an opportunity to see how David Ramadan acts in the General Assembly as a Delegate. I’m certain actual experience and fact established over this period will be sufficient to encourage them to think long and hard about how easily they were mislead by some individuals not worthy of their trust, whose lie-fueled behavior has been beyond reprehensible. Two years of experience should be utterly damning to the trustworthiness of these characters, and I look forward to the reckoning for them I know will be coming.
We will all be better for it.
The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.
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