« Happy Family | Main | Last Chance »

December 22, 2006

Oh Noes! I Caught Teh Izlam!

First, a quote from Virgil Goode, US Representative, in his press conference yesterday, in which he defended sounding the alarm against the prospect of more Muslims coming to the US and -- brace yourself -- possibly being elected to Congress:

"I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped."

And what sort of values and beliefs can we expect from those Muslim hordes? Here's a fine example of their "values":

Local Muslim leaders lit candles yesterday at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to commemorate Jewish suffering under the Nazis, in a ceremony held just days after Iran had a conference denying the genocide.
American Muslims "believe we have to learn the lessons of history and commit ourselves: Never again," said Imam Mohamed Magid of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, standing before the eternal flame flickering from a black marble base that holds dirt from Nazi concentration camps... If anyone wants to make Holocaust denial an Islamic cause, he said, "we want to say to them: You cannot use our name."

Yes, I can see why we don't need those kinds of values here in the United States. I may stay up all night in terror that we might see those sort of values take root here in my homeland in my lifetime. And I understand why Virgil Goode would be opposed to them, as the sort of values and beliefs these awful Muslims are exhibiting would surely spell the end of his political career if they caught on. I trust that Virgil Goode will work ceaselessly to assure that they will not. Because that's just the sort of character he is, and the sort of character he has.

Posted by john at December 22, 2006 10:02 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.scalzi.com/mt2/mt-tb.cgi/4288

Comments

Chryss | December 22, 2006 10:54 AM

Yes, nothing like kicking off the holiday season by frothing at the mouth about more diversity. Oh, wait, Christmas season. I must be part of that liberal Jewish war on Christmas.

(Liberal...check...Jewish...check...oh whoops, looks like I am the enemy. Dang nabbit!)

Congressman Ellison has been very fair minded in his responses, though. Much more than I would be in the same situation. Bravo.

Kelsey | December 22, 2006 11:28 AM

I like to think that ignorance is bliss. But this guy doesn't seem very cheery and I guess that kind of shoots this theory to hell. Of course, maybe ignorance is bliss, but being a stupid jackass isn't. Yeah, that's probably it.

CJ-in-Weld | December 22, 2006 11:42 AM

I'm willing to stipulate that Goode may be a xenophobic asshole. But also, and alas, the reaction of this contingent of American Muslims is not typical of Muslims worldwide, which (in my observation) seems to reject the tradition of religious tolerance that is almost unique to Western culture. (To be fair, that tolerance may be more in the nature of an armed truce than any true gut feeling of tolerance and acceptance. Regardless, it's rare anywhere else.)

In Europe, where the numbers of Muslims swells, Muslims are making progress in carving out enclaves where European law and culture do not reach. In France, bands of youth in Muslim ghettos beat up girls who defy perceived Muslim traditions of dress. Even from England, we hear of city pools that have "Muslim-only" hours, where segregation of sexes and strict dresscodes are enforced. This, as "Muhammed" replaces "George" as the most popular name given to male babies there.

In general, it seems like Islam never went through the cultural secularization that even most of our Christian crazies have gone through. No reformation, no widespread scholastic tradition, no cultural absorption of the idea that church and state are and ought to be separate things—for the good of the religion at least, if not for tolerance for its own sake.

So there really may be a legitimate question whether American-style representative democracy can withstand an unregulated surge of immigration by members of a group that has thus far demonstrated an unwillingness to live where they do not rule, and don't even grasp religious tolerance (outside dhimitude) as an intellectual principle. I think that the "American meme" is stronger than the the "radical Muslim meme," but I'm not one hundred percent sure.

When my maternal grandfather's family came here from Lebanon (Roman Catholic, not Muslim), they took deliberate steps to ensure their children assimilated, even going so far (too far?) as to disallow the speaking of Arabic in their home. I look around, and I don't see much cultural pressure to adopt that kind of attitude.

So I think it's at least a fair subject of debate whether we ought to take steps to ensure that people coming here are the same kind of immigrant our country is built upon, the kind that wants to be American and not just live in America. Doesn't our Republic have a right to do so? Or do we just have to take what the waves throw onto the shores?

I also think it's a little unfair to hold up the hopeful example of Imam Mohamed Magid, and ignore the wealth of counter-examples worldwide.

Right now, American Muslims seem to be turning into the "go-to-church-on-Friday" types, just as most mainstream Christians are "go-to-church-on-Sunday" types. But sometimes it seems that Islam as a religion has more energy among its adherents than Christianity or secularism, the two main mindsets here. I have to admit, in weak moments, I fear that energy in large numbers.

Soren | December 22, 2006 12:06 PM

I'm firmly convinced this is still fundamentally a "zOMG little brown people want our womens" kind of problem at the root and that religion is largely irrelevant. Never underestimate the power of racism in immigration debates.

And as far as Muslim enclaves in Europe go... Give them a generation or two to make money and climb up the social ladder, and I bet you anything that they'll settle down. Prosperous immigrants have too much to lose by starting shit.

Anonymous | December 22, 2006 12:06 PM

I am not sure whether extrapolating from the european experience is valid for here in North America. There is a higher level of explicit racism in Europe, especially on the continent. When you examples of the Dutch segregating on secular lines, or the Germans, until recently, denying citizenship to folks who were not born german, you can see why Muslims immigrants are pushing back.

Here in North America you probably have more Muslims that are like the American muslim that is quoted in the post, than the rioting muslims you see in Paris and Amsterdam. BTW, I love the term "Go-to-Mosque-on-Friday" Muslims.

That is not to say that all is peachy. I am a lawyer working in a legal clinic in Ontario; my clients are poor and typically they were injured on the job. One of the services we offer is free notary services. My caseload is filled with third world immigrants who back at home were engineers, doctors, lawyers, tradespeople, but who had to work here as unskilled labourers because their credentials were not recognized. If we maintain this for long, we will create an educated underclass of people that are really upset at us and we might start seeing the kinds of things you see in Europe. It would have nothing to do with religion, but would have lots to do with the frustration at our treatment of immigrants.

Racist and xenophobic attitudes like Goode's can only make things worse. Immigrants aren't stupid and their children will eventually vote; they won't be voting for Goode's party in the long term.

Cheers
Andrew

andrew | December 22, 2006 12:07 PM

Sorry, the above anonymous post at 12:06 p.m. was mine.

Cheers
Andrew

CJ-in-Weld | December 22, 2006 12:11 PM

Andrew: I wish I'd said "go-to-mosque-on-Friday" instead of "go-to-church-on-Friday", which was a slip of the keystroke.

And I agree—for the American meme to prevail, Americans have to hold up their end by holding out opportunity for immigrants. Importing a perpetually poor underclass undercuts the whole idea of a Democratic Republic.

John Scalzi | December 22, 2006 12:11 PM

CJ-in-Weld:

"I also think it's a little unfair to hold up the hopeful example of Imam Mohamed Magid, and ignore the wealth of counter-examples worldwide."

Not really. You know, what gets overlooked in a lot of this flutter flutter about the horrible Muslim hordes is that the Muslims who generally wish to immigrate to the US don't actively seek its destruction, because what would be the point. I rather strongly suspect that the Muslims who would wish to immigrate to the US self-select to be the ones best suited to appreciate the US values, of which Rep. Goode seems to be concerned about.

Comparing the issues of the Muslims in Europe with the issues of the Muslims here in the US is not especially useful, because it ignores Europes generally tendentious history of dealing with Muslim minorities. The US has millions of Muslims here already, many of whom are recent immigrants; they seem to do a reasonably good job of becoming part of the national character, just as, say, my Italian forbears did in the 1880s, and my Irish forebears did in the 1850s, and my English and Dutch forebears did in 17th and 18th centuries.

I note the "cultural secularization" meme with some interest, in part because it generally ignores the existence of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and the largely secular Turkey that has existed for the better part of a century; I'll also note that at the moment it seems that Turkey is likely not to allowed admission into the EU; which leaves it more vulnerable to the tides of Islamic fundamentalism. This once again brings up the issues of how Europe's dealing with Islam is not like the US'.

As regard whether the US has a right to make decisions as to who it will allow to immigrate, of course it does; this isn't a question that's really up for debate. Do we ban an entire religious group because xenophobic morons think everyone who reads the Koran screeches "Death to America" while being outfitted with a tasteful waist strap for their bombs? Seems foolish. I think we should be actively poaching the best minds in the Muslim world, however, just as we should be poaching the best minds from everywhere.

CJ-in-Weld | December 22, 2006 12:19 PM

Scalzi:

Turkey is secular, because a secular-minded Turkish army wants it so. The same fundamentalist forces at work elsewhere in the Middle East are seething underneath that restraint. Turkey is an odd hybrid between democratic nation and military junta; I don't know how long it can last, or which way it will tip when it fails.

But I agree, America has a better shot at incorporating the cream of the Muslim world than Europe. Our "Western meme" is stronger than the European version; Europeans seem to have lost energy in cultural matters to a greater extent than we have on this side of the pond.

On the other hand, I don't see what's happening in Europe as an example of Muslims going there to destroy. It's more like the Germans crossing the Rhine toward the end of the Roman epoch—Romans were importing Germans for labor and military service, and their families and tribes later made the move. Destruction of the Empire wasn't on their minds, just living space.

The danger goes up when a country lets in large numbers of the impoverished and keeps them impoverished, which I think we're less likely to do here than Europe. Although, the example of Mexican immigration doesn't fill me with optimism.

PixelFish | December 22, 2006 12:21 PM

Wait til Representative Goode finds out that this chap called Theodore Roosevelt once took public office with NO BOOK in hand at all. Obviously a closet atheist. Probably up to no good. And you know, I think he's on some ginormous statue called, what was it again, Mount Something? I bet Virgil Goode needs a hand with the dynamite.

And that John Quincy Adams.....he used a book of law, by all accounts. Shocking. Just shocking. What is this country coming to, electing these fly-by-night excuses for public officials.

Jessie | December 22, 2006 12:27 PM

Also important to note that many of the Muslim communities in Europe come from former colonies. The relationship of the colonized to the colonizer will always be very different than the relationship of the immigrant to the new home nation.

This idea about a population that's unfit to become a true American is as old as America--the Irish (too naturally peasants to be self-governing), the Germans (kept their language), the Czechs, the Poles, the Italians, same vocabulary of fear and prejudice every time. There is no reason to think the results will be any different this round.

John Scalzi | December 22, 2006 12:28 PM

CJ-in-Weld:

"Turkey is an odd hybrid between democratic nation and military junta; I don't know how long it can last, or which way it will tip when it fails."

Well, going on 80 years is a better record than a number of other European states one could name, I would say. And if Turkey does fall toward fundamentalism, the question will be how much of that will be laid on the EU.

"The danger goes up when a country lets in large numbers of the impoverished and keeps them impoverished, which I think we're less likely to do here than Europe. Although, the example of Mexican immigration doesn't fill me with optimism."

Speaking as someone whose family includes examples of Mexican immigration, I'm not sure there's as much cause for concern there as some suspect.

CJ-in-Weld | December 22, 2006 12:33 PM

Jessie: I'm not so sure we can take for granted that what happened with previous waves of immigrants will always happen with later waves. I hope and expect it will, but historical analogies are never exact. Times change. The American mythology of opportunity and democracy is not pushed as hard in schools and cultural institutions as it used to be, and the "melting pot" metaphor seems less popular right now than the "tossed salad" one among many of our opinion leaders. Will it make enough of a difference that we can no longer trust our assimilation potential? I think the chance is low, but not non-zero.

And note what I'm saying: it's not that Muslims are incapable of being Americans. Rather, the danger is that Americans no longer have the wherewithal to Americanize them.

Lis Carey | December 22, 2006 12:36 PM

CJ-in-Weld said (about England):
This, as "Muhammed" replaces "George" as the most popular name given to male babies there.

Not quite.

The most popular boy's name in the UK last year was Jack. George was at number 12, Mohammed number 22. Muhammad ws 44 and and Mohammad at 69. Even granting that combining the variant spellings would move the name up on the list somewhat, it's not anywhere close to the most popular name for male babies there--and there are no other Muslim or Arabic names in the top 100. All of the others are either identifiably British, or have been popular with English-speaking westerners for a very long time.
http://www.babycentre.co.uk/pregnancy/naming/topnames2006/

Too much of Europe believes, and had until recently enshrined into law, the notion that nationality is genetic. The UK is assimilating its immigrants more effectively because the UK is where the US got its mad notion that nationality is a choice. And yet some people are pointing at the much worse non-assimilation problems in continental Europe and arguing that the only way to save ourselves is to adopt continental Europe's barriers to assimilation. I do not think this makes a great deal of sense.

John Scalzi | December 22, 2006 12:37 PM

CJ-in-Weld:

"Rather, the danger is that Americans no longer have the wherewithal to Americanize them."

Oh, bah. The danger of this is laughably small, thanks to the immensely durable nature of our system of government, which guarantees the freedoms that create our national character, and the fact that American culture has taken over the world. The rest of the world doesn't have laws making sure a certain amount of home-grown culture hits the airwaves because the US is in danger of losing its cultural identity.

The biggest dangers at the moment to our national identity come not from immigrants and their assimilation (or lack thereof) but from a progressively widening economic inequality between the richest people in our country and everyone else, which threatens the traditional American ethos of moving forward if one works hard. And even that isn't truly a danger to American culture or identity, since it seems like we're in the early stages of a pendulum swing from that.

Lis Carey | December 22, 2006 12:43 PM

Although, the example of Mexican immigration doesn't fill me with optimism.

CJ, have you actually looked at what's happening with Mexican immigration? Cohort by cohort, I mean? More keep coming, because the previous generations have been so generally successful.

CJ-in-Weld | December 22, 2006 12:43 PM

Scalzi: I believe you are correct. I also believe that God won't keep it so, and (based on what I've said above) a certain cultural diligence is in order.

John Scalzi | December 22, 2006 12:46 PM

CJ-in-Weld:

"Scalzi: I believe you are correct. I also believe that God won't keep it so, and (based on what I've said above) a certain cultural diligence is in order."

I certainly agree that the US needs to make sure the values it cherishes persist. I think that's best accomplished by living them ourselves and showing why they're values worth having. If we do that, the values will sell themselves -- and have, over the years, to all sorts of folks.

CJ-in-Weld | December 22, 2006 12:48 PM

Lis Carey:

The downside of largescale illegal Mexican immigration surrounds me, because I work as a prosecutor in rural Colorado. I'm prosecuting people for identity theft—a serious felony in Colorado—who I'm sure would otherwise be law-abiding. I'm surrounded by agribusiness interests that have an interest in the status quo that gives them cheap labor and undercuts the unions in negotiations. I'm surrounded by large numbers of immigrants, legal and otherwise, who ship their money back to the old country, and are not pursuing a citizenship track, unto the third generation. I'm surrounded by vocal members of the Hispanic community who say I'm racist even to discuss this.

So, yes, damn it, I've looked at this. My point of view may be jaundiced because by definition I'm usually dealing with people accused of crimes, but I'm not entirely ignorant.

Gordon | December 22, 2006 12:52 PM

teh Izlam!

I am laughing very hard right now.

On a loosely related note, I learned today that the Hajj is a scheduled sort of thing. That is, there's a time every year (around the end of December) when people who are going to go to Mecca for pilgrimage do so. I had no idea; I just thought you had to go sometime in your life, whenever it was convenient. Hm.

And of course, this whole thing is ridiculous. The funny thing is that highly religious Muslims, if elected to Congress, might well end up supporting a lot of conservative Christian legislation (opposing abortion, gay marriage, etc.), which is highly ironic considering the attitude toward Muslims held by some fundamentalist Christians (Congresspeople and otherwise). Not that I see this as a big threat at this point, but religious conservatism in Congress, regardless of specific religion, scares me somewhat.


John Scalzi | December 22, 2006 12:55 PM

CJ-in-Weld:

"I'm surrounded by large numbers of immigrants, legal and otherwise, who ship their money back to the old country, and are not pursuing a citizenship track, unto the third generation."

This is one of those places where I wonder if a class of work visa wouldn't be appropriate, which is something I think Bush has actually pursued, although with little success (I confess to not being particularly tuned into the specifics of the Bush program on immigration, however).

Gordon:

As I understand it, the Hajj is supposed to take place in the month of Dhu al-Hijjah, which, as the Islam calendar is a lunar calendar, moves around a bit relative to the Gregorian calendar. This year, as it happens, today is the first day of Dhu al-Hijjah.

CJ-in-Weld | December 22, 2006 01:00 PM

Scalzi sayeth: "This is one of those places where I wonder if a class of work visa wouldn't be appropriate, which is something I think Bush has actually pursued, although with little success (I confess to not being particularly tuned into the specifics of the Bush program on immigration, however)."

Had I my druthers, I'd rather see deliberate recruitment of immigrant workers who will learn English and pursue citizenship as a condition of their work permits. (I don't know if there's a way to structure this.) In the aftermath of the Swift raid hereabouts, Swift is flooded with job applicants, including American citizens. We don't need a worker program, because, as it turns out, these are jobs Americans will do! We do need to get immigrants to become citizens.

Greg | December 22, 2006 01:07 PM

John, I wonder if you would be able to see the sunny side quite so easily if we were talking about more fundamentalist Christians coming into the U.S. I think that you would then be screaming about the intolerance of religious fundamentalism. As one of your other posters pointed out, Islam and right-wing evangelicals do share a lot of the same social goals. Why don't you judge Islam by the same measuring stick that you apply to evangelical Christianity?

Personally, I would rather not see more religious fanatics of *any* persuasion come into the U.S., and I don't care if a few Muslim leaders did lay a wreath at a Holocaust memorial for a photo op. I presume you are aware of the way in which the *tolerant* Muslims killed the filmmaker in the Netherlands. I assume that you also saw the fine displays of Muslim tolerance in Europe after the Mohammed cartoon. Yes, by all means, let's bring some of that here.

How about some nice secular humanists from a country like Denmark or Singapore, perhaps?

Timothy McClanahan | December 22, 2006 01:21 PM

And in a related note (that relation being the combination of ignorance and intolerance), here we have the reason why I no longer buy books by Orson Scott Card:

http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2004-02-15-1.html

Yikes. This guy's a real tool.

After some other bad experiences with learning too much about authors whose work I like, it was a good experience to find Scalzi's web site shows he's actually a decent human being.

John Scalzi | December 22, 2006 01:22 PM

Greg:

"John, I wonder if you would be able to see the sunny side quite so easily if we were talking about more fundamentalist Christians coming into the U.S. I think that you would then be screaming about the intolerance of religious fundamentalism."

Well, Greg, of course, I'm not responsible for what you think I think. As it happens, I do use the same yardstick to both: It's called the US Constitution. Show me a fundamentalist of any religious stripe who agrees that the Constitution of the United States is the law of the land, and that he or she will obey the laws of the US, and I'm generally going to be fine with them.

Greg:

"I presume you are aware of the way in which the *tolerant* Muslims killed the filmmaker in the Netherlands."

No, although I'm aware how intolerant and criminal Muslims did those things.

Take a deep breath, Greg. The vast majority of Muslims are not itchin' to kill us, and I'm not saying US immigration should not be selective in who it receives as new residents and citizens. I am saying that being a Muslim ought not be a strike against someone looking to make the US their new nation, any more than any religion should be.

Cassie | December 22, 2006 01:28 PM

Looking historically at eastern Europe under the Ottoman Empire, I think CJ has a valid point.
Turkey is an unknown factor and which way it may fall is anyone's guess.

For example, the historic home of Eastern Orthodox Christianity is Istanbul (then known as Constantinople.) The persecution of Orthodox Christians in Turkey is horrendous and the Eucemenical Patriarch - the leader of the Orthodox Church in Turkey - receives constant death threats. The Orthodox churches are closed, the Orthodox seminary has been closed (I think it was bombed, but I'm hazy on that.) Christians are regularly arrested and beaten, their religious items such as Bibles and books are taken and not returned - by the police. This is not a country that is tolerant of Christianity no matter what the government says.

It is good to hear about Muslims in the US who are renouncing the violence and the lies of the recent Iranian conference. May there be many more to do so!

But... The mosque in Dallas is having the students study the writings of the man who Osama bin Laden says inspired him to attack the US. These same teachings were found in the homes of the men arrested in the recent London arrests that stopped the destruction of several airliners. While I'm not going to ask the government to censor those books, I would like someone in the Muslim community to explain why, of all the books and writings in all the history of Islam, these books are being studied?

If any aliens are coming to the US, they need to learn English and commit to our civil values. I don't even really care if they come and send their money home. Just abide by the law. Just learn how to live in our country. That goes for our Latino neighbors as well as those from any country.

John Scalzi | December 22, 2006 01:31 PM

Cassie:

"I would like someone in the Muslim community to explain why, of all the books and writings in all the history of Islam, these books are being studied?"

Be more specific, please. What book, and by which writer?

Otherwise, one could ask why I was made to read Das Kapital in college, because, after all, it was the book that inspired Stalin to get into a cold war with the US.

Lis Carey | December 22, 2006 01:46 PM

The downside of largescale illegal Mexican immigration surrounds me, because I work as a prosecutor in rural Colorado. I'm prosecuting people for identity theft—a serious felony in Colorado—who I'm sure would otherwise be law-abiding. I'm surrounded by agribusiness interests that have an interest in the status quo that gives them cheap labor and undercuts the unions in negotiations. I'm surrounded by large numbers of immigrants, legal and otherwise, who ship their money back to the old country, and are not pursuing a citizenship track, unto the third generation. I'm surrounded by vocal members of the Hispanic community who say I'm racist even to discuss this.

If you were prosecuting the employers of illegal immigrants, rather than the individuals caught up in the current system, you might actually be doing something effective about the problem of illegal immigration. And yes, I think your perspective is distorted by the fact that your job is dealing with the illegals.

As for sending money back to family in the old country, gee, I'm shocked, that's a new thing in US immigration patterns--not. It's been a common behavior pattern with every wave of immigrants ever since it became practical for the average person to do so.

Let me tell you where I'm coming from on this. My maternal grandparents, in the early years of the last century, were little, dark, dirty people, from a known criminal culture, who practiced a religion that was incompatible with being loyal, patriotic Americans--they were from Sicily, and they were Catholic. And the Immigration Act of 1924 was passed for the express purpose of preventing more people like them from getting into Our Fair Country and ruining it.

I don't think I need to go into the details of what my uncles did in WWII, since the story's pretty similar for anyone who had uncles of military age at that time. But what I will say is that I read the anti-immigration literature of the pre-1924 period, and I read the anti-illegals literature now, and what's frightening too me is that only the nationalities targeted have changed. All the other details are exactly the same. Different cultural background, check; alien religion, check; incompatible values, check; not assimilating like previous generations of immigrants, check.

It's enough to make you wonder why we're not all speaking Italian, digging potatoes, and dancing the polka.

Steve Buchheit | December 22, 2006 01:50 PM

CJ "the tradition of religious tolerance that is almost unique to Western culture."

That was hilarious, CJ. You should do stand-up.

As for the "they ought to assimilate like all the others did," what a load of BS. I live outside Cleveland (used to be much closer). I could go to restaurants and clubs where I wouldn't hear a word of English but Polish, Slovenian, Italian, German, Chinese (various dialects), Greek and other languages. Many of these establishments are approaching being centuries old and the people running them are third and fourth generation.

Greg, those weren't "tolerant" Muslims. Those were the angry edge. And the guy who killed the filmmaker was already known as a radical.

As for a "guest worker program," I'm on the other side. I would rather have illegals. Why? Look at France, Denmark, and most of Europe who have guest worker programs and the problems they have (because guest workers don't have to acculturate - different than assimilate - and they need to keep their heads down to avoid notice of the law). That's not the situation I want here. CJ, my guess is that you only see a very small, and the worst, fraction of the illegal immigration in your area.

As for them sending money back home, yeah, we'd want to stop that and send our economy down that black hole. It would have the same effect as if we completely shut down the gray and black markets. The ramifications to the legitimate market would be devastating. And it’s a good thing legal aliens and full citizens in this country don't send money back to their "home countries" because that would just confuse the issue.

Cassie | December 22, 2006 01:52 PM

The book is "Milestones" by Sayyid Qutb

This is a quote from the book:

The mixing and co-existence of the truth and falsehood is impossible. Command belongs to God, or otherwise to Jahiliyyah [unbelief]; God's Shari'ah will prevail, or else people's desires.

...The foremost duty of Islam in this world is to depose Jahiliyyah from the leadership of man, and to take the leadership into its own hands and enforce the particular way of life which is its permanent feature. ...The chasm between Islam and Jahiliyyah is great, and a bridge is not to be built across it so that the people on the two sides may mix with each other, but only so that the people of Jahiliyyah may come over to Islam.

http://www.youngmuslims.ca/online_library/books/milestones/Introduction.asp

Steve Buchheit | December 22, 2006 01:53 PM

That is "illegals need to keep their heads down to avoid the notice of the law", sorry.

Anonymous | December 22, 2006 01:58 PM

Steve said:
As for the "they ought to assimilate like all the others did," what a load of BS. I live outside Cleveland (used to be much closer). I could go to restaurants and clubs where I wouldn't hear a word of English but Polish, Slovenian, Italian, German, Chinese (various dialects), Greek and other languages. Many of these establishments are approaching being centuries old and the people running them are third and fourth generation.

Yes, that's true, the great-grandchildren are still running those places - and catering to the current influx of immigrants. Yes, they're talking the old country language to their patrons, but you expect me to think they're speaking it exclusively at home? Not happening.

We have huge numbers Greek and Romanian immigrants just south of you. Yes, you can go into some shops and hear them talk. But I know their kids. They're speaking English at home.

ship | December 22, 2006 01:58 PM

i think the root of the problem, over all, is that after 9/11 many americans are scared as hell of anyone associated with islam or the middle east in general. personally, i don't see the point; anyone can blow up a building in america, arab or poor white trash. being from the northeast u.s. i deal with many people on a daily basis from the islamic faith and frankly, i'm less afraid of them than i am of the drunk american that lives next door to me. the simple fact is right now, people see eurasia as the enemy. eastasia is fine, we were never at war with them. we're at war with eurasia. the ignorant will always fear who they are told to fear.

CJ-in-Weld | December 22, 2006 02:00 PM

Lis, a point of clarification: I am not a federal prosecutor. I cannot prosecute Swift for breaking federal laws. I do not prosecute illegal aliens for being illegal aliens. I prosecute people, illegally present or otherwise, who break Colorado laws. I hope the feds do come down all over Swift, even if it does mean a hike in the price of steak.

Now, just to establish my real American bona fides, my ancestors, too, are a mixed lot: Lebanesewho arrived in 1900, Germans who arrived about 1850 or so, and Bohemians (from the country, not the Fifties beatniks) sometime about 1875 (I think). I'll admit that to my shame, one-quarter of my ancestors haled from England in the early 1700s. Regardless, I'm guessing there's hardly anyone among the American portion of the readership here that doesn't have some similar account.

And frankly, I still disagree with you that "All the other details are exactly the same" regarding resistance to previous waives of immigrants. Historical analogy is never that exact. The differences with the Hispanic wave include that there are arguably less powerful mechanisms of American cultural transmission; an unprecedented vocal minority opinion that immigrants shouldn't have to assimilate, and the comparative ease with which Mexicans and Central Americans can get here.

I'm not saying nativists and jingoists are correct. I'm saying I refuse to be dismissed as a nativist or jingoist because I believe there is a problem with unregulated immigration of large numbers of poor people who don't feel much pressure (historically speaking) to become Americans.

Josh Jasper | December 22, 2006 02:00 PM

So, the colonizers are afraid of being colonized, yes? This is what it's really about. Colonial powers (and if you don't include the US in that, you're an idiot) are now getting the blow-back of colonialism - places you sent your troops to occupy all of a sudden are discovered to have a large population inside your borders, and all of a sudden white right wing nativists freak out.

It's stupid as hell. Middle Eastern immigrants were streaming into the US far before any "Diversity Visas" introduced by Clinton. We took in VAST amounts of Iranians after our puppet, the Shah fell. We took in vast amounts of Afghanis before we invaded because people from there fled to the US during the Russian occupation. And even more fled when *our* would be partners in the Taliban (at the time) turned the place back into a mirror of the middle ages.

It's like to Vorlon said. The avalanche has already begun. It is too late for the pebbles to vote." And *WE* started this avalanche.

But really, it's only a worrisome thing to people who're afraid if living life as a minority. Which means right wing white conservatives.

I've lived as a minority. I've spent signigicant amounts of time in majority Muslim nations. Despite aberrations like Iran and Afghanistan (both of which which we helped make into the hell they are now) It's not much different from living in what America would look like if the Mormons were in charge.

And I'm not afraid of even *that* happening. Which states in the US have the largest concentration of Muslims? Detroit. Does Detroit have Sharia courts? Are they stoning adulterers? Do they even look conservative? No. Detroit voted in Democrats. Fairly liberal ones too.

California has the highest concentration of Afghanis, who happen to live in Milpitas, or all places. A sleepy little area. Low crime.

Middle Eastern immigrants to the US are not a danger. AMERICANS AND EUROPEANS a danger to people LIVING in the Middle East. We've certainly killed more of them. And we 100% certainly made Iraq a living hell.

Quite frankly, I think we lack the moral authority to tell Muslims to come here or not, or to judge them for what books they read, how they pray, or whatever they do as long as they're not hurting anyone. And they're not. So unless they are, why don't we just stop judging them, and start cleaning up our own mess?

John Scalzi | December 22, 2006 02:12 PM

Cassie:

"The book is 'Milestones' by Sayyid Qutb"

Ah. Well, that makes sense, then. Qutb is an extremely influential thinker; whether one agrees with him or not, he's worth reading to help understand the philosophical grounding from which folks like Al Qaeda purport to spring. I think this would be in the "know your enemy" angle of things, although I don't pretend to know the reasonings the Dallas mosque has to have its students read it.

The full text of the book, incidentally, is here.

Steve Buchheit | December 22, 2006 02:19 PM

Anonymous at 01:58 PM, I went to HS in Canton, very big Greek and German families. As for all of them speaking English at home, I have to disagree. At a job I had in Cleveland, one of my coworkers would call his Dad and other relatives from work. All of them were in the US, and he spoke Slovenian to them (in a Spanglish way). He is fourth generation. I'd say they (speaking their "native" language at home) are the minority, but not a small minority. Many of my coworkers (Cincinnati, Akron, Cleveland and its subburbs) talked about speaking a different language with their parents or grandparents at home (mostly when the grandparents were the immigrants).

PixelFish | December 22, 2006 02:49 PM

You know, I don't think anybody here has a problem with regulating immigration to an extent BUT it feels like the existing routes to naturalisation have been long biased against certain countries and races and now religions. I mean, nobody is talking about the need to Americanise Buddhists or Taoists or Christians or Jews or Mormons. (And you know, those Mormons were just flooding in during the latter half of the 19ths centuray. We even lost an ENTIRE STATE to their Mormony ways.)

I should mention that I've actually technically been an illegal alien. For half of the time I lived in Canada, I was waiting on the paperwork for my entrance. Technically I should not have been waiting IN Canada, but there I was, beavering away at my art in my boyfriend's apartment, and occasionally doing a spot of under-the-table web design. Since I couldn't officially pay taxes, I was not eligible for the Canadian health care system, and technically could have been deported for overstaying my visitors time period. I suppose by the rhetorical standards so many seem to levy at US immigration, the average Canadian citizen should be concerned about these waves of US citizens, threatening to take the jobs of honest Canadians and breeding their crazy 'Murikan ways into the tolerant Canadian lifestyle. Before you know it, Canada would be flooded with US citizens who put America before Canada, sent money back to the fatherland, and had no plans for becoming a productive and polite Canadian. Traditional Canadian values would be lost, the fries would overflow with ketchup and not gravy, the beer would suffer, the name Doug would be supplanted by Ashton, people would start spelling colour without a U, and all the hockey teams would move South. (Oh...wait....) I was obviously the advance wave of US citizens determined to inundate Canada with our ketchup-loving ways.*

Or, you know, I could be just another person, wanting to make the best life for herself and seeing an opportunity in a new land. My original homeland, my original religion, my gender, my race have nothing to do with why I went to Canada, and certainly did not keep me from falling in love with Canada and adapting in many ways I never thought I would. When I finally came back to the States, I moved, of all places, to San Diego. And naturally, the migration strugggle is a big topic down there. I can understand the concern, but never did I have in Canada, the trouble that some of my friends who were actually legal US citizens, born in the US seem to have here in the US. I, for example, have never once had my right to work anywhere questioned. My skin colour has never once gotten my citizenship questioned. It seems unfair. And it seems equally pernicious to assume that all people of X religion or race are going to abuse the system, that they don't have the right to assemble, that their culture is less important than mine. I was taught all the way through school that America was a big ol' melting pot, or maybe like some kind of giant gumbo, where everybody from all over the world could come and make opportunities and bring their traditions to flavour the gumbo. I wish people would really BELIEVE in this idea, because I think it's great.


(*To be fair to the Canadians, nobody ever assumed that. Just in case somebody misreads my sarcasm. The Canadians were Teh Awesome.)

Jessie | December 22, 2006 02:53 PM

CJ-in-Weld writes:

The differences with the Hispanic wave include that there are arguably less powerful mechanisms of American cultural transmission; an unprecedented vocal minority opinion that immigrants shouldn't have to assimilate, and the comparative ease with which Mexicans and Central Americans can get here.

I think this is a pretty exact match for the Germans, actually, who maintained a German-language church and newspapers and very strong culture for something like a hundred years, while still considering themselves strongly American. That culture and linguistic continuity only died out when World War I created violent anti-German sentiment in the US. But during that first century or so, the Germans were not unassimilated; they were extremely active in local and regional politics, participating successfully and devotedly in American democracy.

Of course no two waves of immigration are the same. There are a lot of interesting arguments to be made about that. But I haven't yet seen anyone in this thread mention a difference that would matter to the question of Americanization.

Cassie | December 22, 2006 03:15 PM

Sorry, Steve, when I responded to you, I didn't check to see if my name were in.

I live in Canton and know the Greeks you're speaking of.

Their kids are speaking Greek to their families, but they also speak English. If the grandkids have learned Greek to speak to immigrant Yiayia, (Grandma in Greek) then yes, they might speak it to their family.

My point is that now they speak English. They're not exclusively speaking another language.

Andrew | December 22, 2006 03:18 PM

CJ-in-Weld: "Andrew: I wish I'd said "go-to-mosque-on-Friday" instead of "go-to-church-on-Friday", which was a slip of the keystroke."

I actually did think that you said "go-to-mosque-on-Friday". I didn't realize that I was (unconciously) editing you until you commented.

Timothy McClanahan. I actually read the Orson Scott Card article that you linked to. I read it all the way to the bitter end. You could just see the enormous leaps of logic that he was making in crafting what was a odd argument; as far as I could tell, by the end he was trying to argue that by supporting Gay Marriage, we were allowing homosexuals to recruit.

I once commented on "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" that all serious students of history should read it to see how history is not done. Serious Polemicists should read Orson Scott Card's screed to see how not to make an argument.

Cheers
Andrew

P.S. If Scalzi's law of Internet invokation is reliable how soon before we see Orson Scott Card showing up and commenting on this site. The recent example with Harlan Ellison was somewhat frightening.

Chris | December 22, 2006 03:32 PM

I am going to read this entire thread tonight indepth so I can respond to some of the points but if I may offer a general perception to this argument in that the intolerance expressed by the Representative from VA is mindless and bigoted at best and akin to the rhetoric of Al-Qaeda at worst.

My position is that I am a Soldier who has served on five continents and been to Afghanistan and Pakistan and I can say that one of the things that defines this nation as opposed to damm near every nation in the world is that we are an fusion of all the world's tribes that while generally acknowledging the spiritual/cultural side of one god, is absolutely secular in it's laws. People don't realize how rare this is...even in Europe which is alledgely post-modern and secular, there is a tribal bias towards the dominant group. In order to live in Germany or France, you have to eventually become German or French (both ethnic groups AND nationalities) or else you stay on as a 'guest-worker'. Allowed to stay, but never a full citizen. And don't get me started on the other nations where the paradigm is the dominant tribe perscuting/lording it over the minority tribe (Punjabi vs Pashtun/Sindhi/Baluch, Shia on Sunni, Pashtun vs Hazara, Serb on Bosnian/Crotian, Kosovar Albanian on Serb). In American, one becomes American which is an inclusive identity and not the name of another ethnic group.

The long rambling point I guess I am trying to get at is that guys like the VA Rep are dangerous because they are taking a universalist ideal that is 'American' and what REALLY makes this country the proverbial city on the hill and tries to add ethnic/religious clauses to that identity and that must not be allowed to happen. It is not even a free-speech issue (a principle which I absolutely beleive in) but rather an issue that is a matter of national identity and security and jack-holes like this guy may be allowed to speak, but must be hounded from any public forum with universal cries of derision from every quarter.

Anyrate, I will post more later.

Steve Buchheit | December 22, 2006 04:05 PM

Cassie, since we're talking about Canton and racism issues, when I played soccer for GlenOak (freshman team, sophmore year I had to choose between sports and band, the band had better parties) we would sometimes be told to "run as many laps as letters in our last names." I was collateral damage to that "soft prejudice" (the soccer team had a number of Greek kids on it).

Cassie | December 22, 2006 04:10 PM

Steve,

Well, duh, band parties. Way better.

Adam Rakunas | December 22, 2006 04:37 PM

Cassie and Steve: I'm with you on the band parties. Play hard on the field, play harder off.

I wonder if Teh Izlam is related to Teh Aztlan (which sounds better than Teh Reconquista...or rather Teh ReKonK33zta), in that they both make our local SoCal screamheads prolapse themselves into a panic. "The brown people are coming to destroy our way of life! OH NOES!!1!"

This reminds me of a recent gathering of my wife's family. One of her cousins just passed the bar, and he gave away a joke present: a Christmas ornament that had a picture of him during his pre-Bar studying period. He looked like you'd expect anyone in that position to look: exhausted, disheveled, and in need of a serious shave. And the more reactionary people started laughing and saying, "Hey, when did you join the Taliban?"

I think it's a sad state of affairs when someone with long hair and a beard gets called a member of a radical group of medieval assholes instead of, say, a dirty stinking hippie. How far we've fallen.

MWT | December 22, 2006 06:35 PM

Hmmm... At the bottom of that article by Orson Scott Card, there's a "Your Comments" link that leads to a discussion forum. The intro material says that they welcome intelligent discussion from a wide diversity of views, though I haven't gone through and looked at any of the actual threads yet. If OSC doesn't show up here, maybe people could go there?

As for ethnic pride issues ... aside from all the ones other people have pointed out, the main one I've noticed is Korean churches. Even in places nowhere near a "Chinatown" (Japantown, Koreantown, etc.), there are still churches with signs out front written in Korean. Of all the Asian nationalities, they also seem to be rather more cohesive as a community than the others.

Also, there's a whole lot of illegal immigration going on from China that nobody much seems to notice. I guess the average white conservative citizen is okay with that, as long as they can get their wonton soup at ridiculously low prices (compared to soup prices in every other kind of restaurant (much of which comes from soup factories rather than handmade in the back of the kitchen)).

Aboud | December 22, 2006 07:42 PM

Very interesting discussion. You'd be hard pressed to find this caliber of discourse on other blogs.

As an Arab (Sunni) who’s lived and worked all his life in the Arab world, let me reassure you and assuage your concerns; your elected officials haven’t been lying to you, there is a clash of civilizations in the making. See, now you can all sleep well, knowing that your president and the people in charge of your country aren’t completely mad, chasing at windmills. But the threat isnt from Muslim immigrants within the USA.

How do I know? Because I know all too well the kind of behavior that’s truly scary. Reading Sayed Qutb and speaking Arabic at home isn’t scary. Going about, berating people for drinking water with their left hand is scary. Shunning people and treating them like drug addicts because they don’t pray five times a day in the mosques, is scary. Forcing Muslims to be surreptitious when they wish non-Muslims a Merry Christmas is scary. Hauling people off to jail for not closing shop during prayer times, or allowing women into your music shop, or allowing single women into your restaurant unaccompanied by a “muharam” (legal guardian), is scary. Not even Virgil Goode can claim that American Muslims are like that.

Myself, I have a newspaper letter to my name, published three years ago in an English language local newspaper, bemoaning the ban on Christmas cards in the country in which I work. I haven’t been to a mosque in 8 years (neither on Sundays or Fridays). In a country where faces on outdoor ads are pixilated due to the religious ban on the depiction of human images, I have a poster of Isaac Asimov in my bedroom. In any other country, there would be nothing strange about me. But in my workplace and immediate social environment, I’m considered a borderline heretic. THAT’s scary. If you want to be afraid, be afraid of those kinds of people developing or buying nukes. But for heaven’s sake, don’t be afraid of the very people who gave up everything to escape that lunacy.

And rest assured, lunatics like the ones I've described dont immigrate to the USA. They'd rather remain in their cocoons, lest they be "corrupted" by American notions such as mixed schools and (GASP!) women drivers.

mythago | December 22, 2006 07:57 PM

Oh, geez. Were you using the tubes of teh Intarweeb? No WONDER you caught teh Izlam! Even condoms won't protect you from that!

I'm not so sure we can take for granted that what happened with previous waves of immigrants will always happen with later waves.

I'm quite sure we can take for granted that this nonsense will be dragged out every time we have another wave of immigration. i.e., Yes, But These Disgusting Foreigners Are Not Like Our Nice Immigrant Ancestors. There's never any data at all offered to back up this notion, of course; merely nervous handwringing about how, well, we just can't be sure, and anyway these people are different. They couldn't possibly assimilate. They speak a whole different language, and anyway their food is funny. Plus, on top of stealing our jobs, they're lazy.

ronbailey | December 22, 2006 08:38 PM

Sad to say, I live in the congressional district next door to Goode's; I can tell you from experience that the man is exactly the racist, hateful bigot that he appears to be. There are absolutely no redeeming qualities that you can list beside his name; he is a pathetic excuse for a human being and a extravagant waste of carbon molecules. Quite simply, he doesn't care for people with dark skin and different belief systems; John deserves a pat on the back for helping to shine a spotlight into Goode's festering little world of hate.

I was very impressed with the tone of the debate you guys held here, but I am afraid Goode wouldn't be able to keep up with you. His little spiel was all about hate and winning the NASCAR vote - the idea of assimilating and incorporating immigrant values and culture would cause his poor little head to explode.

Steve Buchheit | December 22, 2006 08:40 PM

"Alright. We'll take the niggers and the chinks, but no Irish." - line from Blazing Saddles

Naomi Kritzer | December 22, 2006 09:06 PM

I live in the congressional district that voted in Keith Ellison. My city has a substantial Muslim population, almost all from Somalia. They have settled heavily in the neighborhood adjacent to mine. My daughter's Kindergarten class is 15% Muslim, and I interact with Somali immigrants every day.

Let me acknowledge, first of all, that this is a diverse community that includes a lot of different kinds of people, and then lapse into stereotypes.

Somalis rock. Seriously. I feel incredibly fortunate that my city became a center for Somali settlement. They are so excited to be here. Not only about the economic opportunity (and they seem to work incredibly hard) but also about the opportunity to be citizens of a democracy. I worked on a mayoral campaign in 2001, and there were a ton of Somalis who volunteered to drop literature and door-knock. Most couldn't vote yet because they weren't yet citizens, but this was a way to participate. They are learning English; something like 90% of taxi drivers right now are Somali immigrants, and every time I take a taxi, the taxi driver has the radio tuned to NPR, to improve his English. They are fearless about using English. Shortly after 9-11, a money-transfer business in town was busted for possibly funneling money to terrorists. (Which they probably were, in the sense that they were paying bribes to strongmen in Somalia in order to get the money to where it was supposed to go, and some of these people were almost certainly terrorists.) The mid-morning NPR host at the time did a show on this, and was obviously rather surprised when she was flooded by calls from Somalis (all of them disagreeing with each other).

They're also all committed Muslims. The women wear head coverings and long dresses, and the little girls generally do as well. They try to arrange with their employers to have the opportunity to pray during the workday, and high school students request the ability to spend their lunch hour away from the lunch room during Ramadan (when they're fasting during daylight hours). And they slap these green bumper stickers on their cars that say things like "GOD BLESS AMERICA" and then give a cite to the Koran.

There is a reason Reform Judaism took hold in the U.S. much more than in Europe. When a religious group comes over here, they change the religious landscape, and the social and political landscape changes them. The world could really use a liberal reformist movement within Islam. It sure as hell is not going to come out of Saudi Arabia. It's not going to happen in Somalia, where the Islamists are taking over and being welcomed because they're bringing stability. It COULD grow up here, if Muslims come, settle down, and turn into Americans like every other group that has ever immigrated.

Ellison, FTR, is not an immigrant; he grew up in the U.S. and converted to Islam as an adult. I have been utterly appalled by the stupidity, racism, and religious bigotry that have been expressed towards him just in the last month and a half. I am so glad that I can say that my district elected Ellison, and not someone like Goode.

Nathan | December 22, 2006 09:40 PM

I'm traveling today and can't read through all of the above, so I apologize if my comment makes it plain I missed something.

Whenever the KKK wants to march somewhere, I always say "Let 'em" as long as they have to show their faces. If an asshat like Goode wants to make himself so easily identifiable as a fool, terrific. It just makes it easier for the rest of us.

And I'm not especially fearful that someone might push through legislation limiting immigration BASED ON RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION. It's just too far over the line to get wide enough support.

And lastly, while I certainly believe that some Muslims in America (both immigrants and converts) fall into fundamentalist leanings, I think it more likely that being in a pluralistic society, the majority retain or develop a level of tolerance. In most of the Arab world that spawns "the bad guys", they're fed a constant stream of propaganda with little or no opposing views. Of course they end up indoctrinated.

CJ-in-Weld | December 23, 2006 12:43 AM

mythago writes: I'm quite sure we can take for granted that this nonsense will be dragged out every time we have another wave of immigration. i.e., Yes, But These Disgusting Foreigners Are Not Like Our Nice Immigrant Ancestors. There's never any data at all offered to back up this notion, of course; merely nervous handwringing about how, well, we just can't be sure, and anyway these people are different. They couldn't possibly assimilate. They speak a whole different language, and anyway their food is funny. Plus, on top of stealing our jobs, they're lazy.

I've staked out a position here that may be summarized thus: it's worth looking at why previous waves of immigrants assimilated; it's worth looking at what might be different about the present circumstances; and we ought to have immigration policy that takes these things into account.

I don't think I said the rest of what you said. For instance, even I (who may be almost as bad as Hitler) believe that ethnic food is a big plus.

Anthony VanWagner | December 25, 2006 05:20 AM

Naomi, I am near your area. I also work with Somalis on a daily basis. Not only do I disagree with almost everything you have said about this group, I would like to add that I have been amost injured by the way they choose to work. That means, run over. I doubt most people will care until someone on board gets hurt.

It's funny to me that you mention the taxis. There is so much more as well.

http://knight-monk.livejournal.com/156225.html

Brian Macker | December 26, 2006 02:10 PM

John Scalzi,
"Otherwise, one could ask why I was made to read Das Kapital in college, because, after all, it was the book that inspired Stalin to get into a cold war with the US."

Are you being purposely obtuse?

John Scalzi | December 26, 2006 02:19 PM

No, Brian Macker, although apparently you are. Now, are you also purposely being an asshole, or is that happening unintentionally?

Brian Macker | December 26, 2006 03:42 PM

Josh says,

"So, the colonizers are afraid of being colonized, yes? This is what it's really about. Colonial powers (and if you don't include the US in that, you're an idiot) ..."

... and if you don't include Mexico in that you'd be an idiot also, not to mention most of the Muslim states of the world. The entire Muslim world is a former colonial empire, and a slaver one to boot.

Mexico is a colonization itself. Her "Hispanics" after all not Native Americans. They oppress the natives as surely as the US does. They are "colonizers" as were the Aztecs and Mayans before them. In fact history is one long saga of colonization, slavery, etc. Nothing unique about British/American involvement in those activies except that they abolished the practices.

You as much as accuse your imaginary opponents of a narrow vision yet you yourself are wearing blinders. I don't know if you fathom this but the US is quite unique in history in having for the most part behaved honorably in recent history given it's shear physical power. Some fail to become colonizers on the mere issue of weakness but we did so with the ability to succeed. Muslims didn't stop colonizing out of the goodness of their hearts, nor did the Spain and the Hispanics. I suggest you open the scope of your reading to include something other than leftist literature. A little less Chumpsky if you please.

Of course, all that is predicated on your assertion that immigration is the equivalent of colonization. I'm not sure I buy that. Given that statement I wouldn't throw the idiot tag around so freely if I were you. There are plenty of intelligent people on both sides of most issues. You are as much "admitting" a desire to see the US colonized and punished by your frankly idiotic statements. Does that make you one of the intellgent ones, or just an idiot?

Your reading of history is just that, your reading, nothing more. Most everyone here is quite well informed of the events that color your interpretation. We all get taught how bad the US is in our public schools. I doubt you have much visibility on what colors their individual interpretations.

Post a comment.

Comments are moderated to stop spam; if your comment goes into moderation, it may take a couple of hours to be released. Please read this for my comment moderation policies.
Preview will not show paragraph breaks. Trust me, they're there.
The proprietor generally responds to commenters in kind. If you're polite, he'll be polite. If you're a jackass, he'll be a jackass. If you are ignorant, he may correct you.
When in doubt, read the comment thread rules.




Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)