Following is the complete text from the Roanoke Times’ commentary on Congressman Virgil Goode’s bigotry, for which I think its editorial board deserves three cheers.
Rep. Goode is mistaken. Not all of his constituents are narrow-minded bigots.
Virgil Goode isn’t about to apologize for his racist diatribe that equates Muslims with illegal immigrants and terrorists. He shouldn’t apologize for his beliefs because that would just pile the sin of hypocrisy onto the heap of bigotry.
But his constituents in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District should be hopping mad, because Goode now has the nation believing that they are as small-minded as he is.
Goode never intended for everyone to know that he fears now that one Muslim has been elected to Congress, illegal immigrants and terrorists will pour over our boundaries. His letter — the one that has made national news for a few days running — was intended to go out to only his xenophobic supporters.
One copy mistakenly went to a non-supporter in what Goode’s office claimed was a “clerical error.” Too late. They couldn’t take it back or deny it. Instead, Goode defends his stance and claims it mirrors his constituents’ views.
Would that include his thousand or so constituents of Arab descent? Or those of African descent who make up about 23 percent of his district?
They can keenly recall a Virginia that tried to bar them from entering “white” society with the same repugnant fears.
Do the residents of the 5th District share Goode’s modern-day bigotry? If so, do they think Goode is one of them? Really, that affinity has been his appeal throughout his political career.
The people of his district look the other way when he gets wrapped up in a campaign finance scandal; they excuse him in Martinsville where the town is on the hook to pay back a substantial grant because of a Goode scheme with disgraced MZM officials. They have forgiven him so easily because they believe good-old Goode is “one of us.”
Goode certainly seems to think he’s among like-minded folks. As long as he insulates himself with people who reflect his thoughts and avoids those who would challenge him to rethink his biases, there’s no reason for him to believe differently.
Every broad-minded thinker in the 5th District must cringe at the thought of outsiders believing Goode is representative of them.
Goode’s got another two years in Congress, but his constituents will have little representation during that time. No one, other than of a handful of his bigoted supporters, will ever take Goode seriously again. Not that he’ll notice.