I want to welcome Ben's readers who have come to stare at the spectacle. You will notice that I did indeed make the comment that Ben quoted to direct you here.
In a not so clever way, I was referring to the kerfuffle during the past year about the charges against our soldiers flushing the Koran down a toilet. Anyway, the person I was replying to understood what I meant.
But, whether it turned out like I wanted it to or not really doesn't matter to me. Besides, what else am I going to do with a Koran, display it lovingly on my coffee table? I don't think so.
Now you can go read the comment, but I would prefer that you read the post first.
You guys know me, I don't typically jump right on a story. I would rather look at it for a bit, gain some insight, and ponder the full implications first. Consequently a lot of interesting stuff passes off the radar screen before I ever comment on them. Ironically, the only time I've ever been first out of the box with something also concerned a letter. Even with that one I spent some time before making a comment, even going so far as to wait for e-mail and or telephone confirmation from the parties involved before stating my opinion.
I've done that with the Virgil Goode letter story as well. Except I've not corresponded with Virgil or Mr. Ellison. I've simply looked at all the knee jerk reactions and read the letter. An image of the letter can be found here.
I know Virgil. The Virgil I know is not a bigot, not a xenophobe, not a racist, and certainly not stupid. He has recently been described as such by myriad people who have never met him. Instead those people read a letter. A letter Virgil sent to certain constituents in reply to numerous e-mails he had received regarding the ceremonial swearing in of incoming Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN).
Now, let me get this out of the way immediately. Unlike Dennis Prager, I don't care if Mr. Ellison wanted to place his hand on a half empty box of Frosty Flakes for the ceremonial photo-op, it would mean just as much. Or just as little. There is nothing in Virgil's letter to indicate that he feels any differently. But I do wonder what the reaction from the left would be toward some southern Senator-elect who wanted to be photographed with a confederate flag in the background for his swearing in ceremony.
Read the letter yourself. I know, you've read it already. But I want you to stretch your legs out, so as to stop the inevitable knee-jerk, and read it again. This time remember that this letter was Virgil's response to some of his constituents.
You've read it again and come back here? OK, then let me discuss what you just read.
I'll wager that very few, if any, of the intended recipients of that letter have ever read this blog. Don't get all uppity, they ain't likely to have read yours either. They do not eat politics all day long like you and I do. But they do read the paper. They do watch the news. They do know that Europe is having serious problems caused by Islamic radicals insistent upon Islamacizing France, The Netherlands, and England. They also have heard the founders of CAIR call for Sharia law to be imposed right here in America. They have heard the rhetoric of Louis Farrakhan, a former associate of Mr. Ellison's. They looked to Virgil for reassurance that he does not support any of this. His letter is forceful in assuring them he does not.
Was he too forceful in his assurances? Apparently so. Quite obviously so. He did go a bit far by not repeating the mantra that not all Muslims are Islamic radicals. But that was not the question he was answering. That was not what his e-mail constituents were concerned with. They've already heard that from every politician from the President on down. They haven't heard it forcefully enough from the Muslim community.
Do you still have the image of the letter open? If not, open it again and look at it with me. If I were to have written this letter I would have broken the first paragraph after the second use of the word "Koran". That simple edit would make it clear that there was no bigotry in the letter, just a sensible statement on our obviously flawed immigration policy. Unfortunately Virgil does not employ me as his editor.
I will assume no one has a problem with his final paragraph. If so you are merely showing your own bigotry and lack of tolerance.
Oh, and one other thing. I also admire the man for refusing to issue the standard Washington "if you were offended" non-apology.