25 October 2006

A Muslim in Congress?

Oh, yes. It's a very real possibility and I'm going to help make it happen. Keith Ellison is the DFL candidate for Congress for the Fifth District, which is where I live. His story is making national news. From what I read in the Boston Globe story, it's making international news, as well.

Quite frankly, I often forget that Ellison is a Muslim. My first contact, if you will, with him was back when I was in college, writing for the Minnesota Daily. Ellison was the attorney for Kieran Knutson, a man accused of beating up a suspected Nazi at a anti-racism protest being held in response to a Nazi rally on campus. The Daily was drawn into the fray by then-Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman (which is the biggest reason I won't be voting for him to return to that post), who subpoenaed unpublished photos of the attack. And that's how I ended up in court on several occasions, waiting to see if our editor-in-chief was going to be sent to jail for refusing to turn over the photos. That whole experience made a really big impact on me, which is probably why I hold Ellison in such high regard and my disdain for Freeman knows no bounds.

It doesn't hurt that Ellison's Republican opponent, Alan Fine, has domestic assault allegations in his past. Not that I would have considered voting for him, anyway, but it's just so deliciously appropriate that would come out after Fine bashed Ellison on "character matters," the day after Ellison won the DFL primary. And in more University of Minnesota J School tie-ins, one of the reporters from that story, Paul McEnroe, was one of my adjunct profs. He also had a pretty big impact on my short-lived Journalism career.

The people who worry that Ellison would bring a Muslim agenda to Congress are on crack. Just how much pull do you think a first-timer of any political or religious ilk has in the House? I really don't think that episode of The Simpsons where Krusty is elected to Congress was that far off the mark. And I doubt Ellison will have an animated family and janitor who looks like ("Yeah ... looks like") Walter Mondale banding together to help him get any legislation passed on the sly. Anyway, what precedence is there for thinking Ellison will be looking out for only Muslim issues? He didn't do that when he was in the Minnesota Legislature.

I'm really excited to have the opportunity to help make history on November 7. I'd be excited to vote, anyway, because I'm a nerd. But there's something a little special about this year.

1 comment:

csmc said...

AWESOME post bacon! Thanks for all the work you are doing! :)