The new “normal”

Repeat after me: Our Rs are kinder and gentler than this R

I was initially heartened at the near-unanimous condemnation of the pathetic little Pamela Geller-inspired protest we saw last Thursday night outside the LCRC meeting (photos below the fold). As I noted in comments, there was only one LCRC member (or at least a frequent attendee of meetings and events) who affirmatively joined the protest, plus a few others who appeared friendly with the protesters, while most just walked by or chose a different entrance.

As the incident has developed though, I now have to ask: Is it the assault on religious freedom itself to which these seemingly anti-religious bigotry Republicans object, or is their objection only to what they perceive as a misdirected assault on religious freedom?

One LCRC leader, by way of explaining what was wrong with the protest, informed me that target David Ramadan “isn’t even a practicing Muslim.” This may or may not be true – but that’s hardly the point, is it?

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James Lafferty, leader of the so-called “Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force,” has provided his own account of the protest and LCRC meeting (and no, he can’t spell ‘Loudoun’). The primary objection Lafferty expresses about Ramadan is that he made some remarks complaining about political opposition to the proposed Cordoba House in lower Manhattan (Ramadan describes the anti-Cordoba House campaign of Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, et al, as being an obstacle to his outreach efforts to the American Muslim community and to minority communities in general). Lafferty even goes to the trouble of saying that his group hadn’t “said anything about religion,” apparently making the point that he calls Ramadan an “Islamic Supremacist” because of political disagreement, not religious bigotry.

If the commentary from those local Republicans defending Ramadan can be summed up in the claim that he’s “not even a practicing Muslim” and that he never actually said that he supports Cordoba House, then you tell me: What is the substantial difference between the position of those local Republicans and that of this Pamela Geller offshoot hate group? The only real difference I can discern is that the hate group believes that Ramadan is a closet supporter of Cordoba House, while the local Republicans are only reserving judgment on that while advising Ramadan to distance himself from the issue. The visible difference, of course, is that the hate group was standing outside the Government Center holding odious signs and having their photos snapped by local media, while the LCRC was presenting itself as above all that, defending one of its own as a “solid conservative.”

If I were a cynical person, I might have to conclude that this is a very useful scenario. After all, its current incarnation is the most radical LCRC in recent memory. Given the choice between a polished professional with “extensive government experience” and a crude street theater stunt buddy of Eugene Delgaudio, the committee chose the latter as their new chairman – making it clear that the “Black Brigade” is in charge. The truth is that anti-Muslim sentiment is rampant in the organization – the constant use of language like “9-11 mosque” and “Ground Zero mosque” to refer to Cordoba House is sufficient evidence of that. These fictive phrases were created by the Palin-Gingrich-Geller campaign, are every bit as fanciful as the phrase “death panels,” and our LCRC friends casually use them as if they actually describe something. Heck, I even had to banish an activist into moderation on this blog for using anti-Muslim slurs.

I humbly submit that what we are witnessing is an exercise in “moving the goal posts” – perhaps even a staged one. In substance, there is no difference between the talking points in the flyer being distributed by the “Anti-Shariah Task Force” and the remarks by Frank Wolf at the Peter King hearings, remarks that only served to substantiate Wolf’s affinity for anti-Muslim civil rights activism (compare this to the reality-based approach to radical Islamism taken by the Obama Administration).

If the LCRC can position itself nominally in opposition to an outfit like Lafferty’s, it will look moderate by comparison – the new “normal.” That was the point here, and why I suspect there may have been more cooperation than consternation in certain quarters over a few protesters waving “No Sharia in Loudoun” signs.

13 thoughts on “The new “normal”

  1. Stevens R. Miller

    Insightful point of view.

    Reminds me of an article I read not long ago. It asserted that most restaurant menus include at least one item that is clearly overpriced. The idea being that, if we buy anything else, we feel we are being responsible with our money by comparison.

    Big-government, anti-choice conservatives, who seek dominion over a woman’s body, must never be allowed to justify their extremism, merely by pointing to protests like this one and saying, “See, we’re not like them!”

    (But how ironic that one of those protesters specifically alleges that Islam treats its men better than its women. With a manufactured dichotomy like this, just who is saying they are not like what?)

  2. Larry roeder

    So sad. Islam is a religion of peace, and it’s members are no more violent than anyone else, less so in some cases. What is wrong with the Republicans? Larry

  3. The Shadow (redux)

    Larry, I agree with you but I don’t think it’s all Rs, just enough to get media attention.

  4. Elder Berry

    Unfortunately there seems to be a very large fringe in the Loudoun County Republican party. Very large, to the point that the fringe is the new mainstream. So I guess I agree with this article. They’re not THAT crazy they’re only THIS crazy. Where the THIS is actually as bad as the THAT.

  5. Epluribusunum Post author

    And that has been my criticism of supposed moderates in the LCRC for a very long time. People of conscience would denounce and disassociate themselves from someone who refers to other human beings as “it,” for example – naming a group of people in our community as less than human, and inviting others to have disregard for their lives. People of conscience do the right thing whether or not it’s politically convenient. That is what leaders do. I said as much, here, and asked for someone, anyone, claiming to speak as a Republican to show some moral backbone and say ‘no’ to this profound expression of hate. No one did.

  6. The Shadow (redux)

    If you go to the LCDC’s website – Ben is listed as the Communications Chair.
    http://www.loudoundemocrats.org/?page_id=175

    The Casey Group is working both sides of the fence for OpenBand. There is nothing in the pubic domain that states Ben has resigned.

    In fact Kalina & Ben have a 20 year history of working for big tobacco.

  7. The Shadow (redux)

    sorry I posted on the wrong discussion topic, this is intended for the Openband topic.

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  10. Jonathon Moseley

    Judging from the signs that the author posts as his evidence about the protest, I cannot see anything that anyone would find objectionable (other than wanting to avoid public discussion of important issues) with the protest. What exactly is odious?

    David Imad Ramadan plainly advocated for a victory mosque at Ground Zero. The law in New York City had to be CHANGED to allow the establishment of a propaganda center and indoctrination base at Ground Zero, where about 2,500 of the 3,000 killed on 9/11 perished. That building was hit by pieces of the airplanes that destroyed the World Trade Center. It should be a memorial to those murdered, not to those who did the murdering.

    If a political candidate takes a public position on a matter of public concern, it is entirely fair for those who oppose it to say so. What is odious about opposing Ramadan’s public activisim in support of radical Islam? Yes, the Cordobba House is an “in your face” act of colonization by radical Islam. There is no “legitimate” religious need for it. There are other mosques, and insufficient Islamic population in Manhattan to support another one. The purpose of the Ground Zero mosque is for radical Islam to do a victory dance in the end zone and give a “high five” to the terrorists.

    Again, New York City law had to be *CHANGED* to allow the victory mosque project to go forward. New York City’s government had to take government action to make the victory mosque possible.

    I don’t care if Ramadan is a Baptist. His advocacy for the victory mosque is a legitimate political issue. A candidate cannot expect to take a public stand on an issue of importance and concern and not answer for it.

    Furthermore, does the author understand that sharia law is not a religion?

    Sharia law — quite apart from Islam itself — is a governmental system. Islam is a religion. Sharia law is a governmental system rooted in Arab culture — often unrelated to the Koran — which would replace the democratic government of the United States or of an individual state like Virginia. To oppose sharia law is like opposing a communist take-over of the State of Virginia. It is not about religion.

    Finally, the idea that this somehow affects minority outreach is laughable. The largest and fastest growing minority voting bloc is Hispanics. Here, you have a Hispanic woman candidate running for the seat. If you wanted to ingratiate yourselves to a voting bloc that actually matters, then Jo-Ann Chase would be your gal.

    On the other hand, if you are simply joining the ranks f GOP cowards who simjply don’t want to be criticized, then you will fight hard for no particular reason other than you are afraid someone will crticize you.

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