January 19, 2007



Immigration surrealism
by Jim Hightower

Apparently, George W thinks that surreal is a small nation in South America.

If he and his handlers had any grasp of the concept of surreal, surely they would not have used a certain White House room to talk about the anti-immigrant bill to erect a 700-mile long wall on our Mexican border. Of all places, the Bushites chose the Indian Treaty Room — a surreal reminder that we Euro-Americans actually were the first illegal immigrants, some 500 years ago!

Yet, this is not the most surreal incident involving the volatile immigration issue. That honor would have to go to the explosion of xenophobic nuttiness coming from Republican congress critter Virgil Goode. He went bonkers when Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to be elected to congress, said that he would use the Qur'an, rather than a bible, for his ceremonial swearing in.

Goode seems to be blissfully unaware that our Constitution protects the religious preferences of all people and that Ellison, being Muslim, would rather naturally reach for the holy book of his own faith. In his bliss, Goode not only denigrated Ellison for being ... well, Muslim...but he also warned maniacally that "We will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt strict immigration policies."

For the record, Ellison is not an immigrant — he traces his American roots back to 1742.

Another surreal moment was presented to us by Dennis Prager, a right-wing radio talk-show blatherer, who demanded that Ellison be barred from congress if he did not conform to the Christian standard and take his oath on the Bible. This burst of religious intolerance comes from a guy appointed by Bush to (of all things) the board of the U. S. Holocaust Memorial — a museum dedicated to reminding Americans that ethnic, religious and racial bigotry is horrifically dangerous.

If ignorance is bliss, Bush, Goode and Prager must be ecstatic.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Let’s Stop Beating Around the Bush, on sale from Viking Press. For more information, visit www.jimhightower.com


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