Your engagement with America is obviously based on the assumption that all of us Americans are racist, anti-Arab bigots and Islamophobes for whom you must disassociate from your religious and ethnic heritage in order to make yourself less repugnant. This was clear even before you decided to run for public office. You have now ran a public campaign for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates based on a strategy of deliberate ambiguity and deception, and the insulting assumption that a majority of Americans are racist, anti-Muslim bigots that won’t vote for an Arab, Muslim candidate.…We will have to wait till Tuesday to learn if you were able to buy a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, but we don’t need to wait for the election results to know the real winners will not be Virginians, but rather the Beirutis that no longer have such a despicable character living among them.
Next Tuesday Lebanese-American buffoon and Republican Party booster David “Go Gop” Ramadan’s candidacy for the Virginia House of Delegates will wind up as local voters go to the polls to choose their delegate for the 87th district. Regardless of the results, which we couldn’t care less about, we will be disappointed his campaign has to end. Ray Hanania, Dean Obeidallah, Maysoon Zayid, and the rest of the quickly proliferating Arab-American “comedians” have not provided us with as many laughs as Imad (“David’s” real name) has during his hilarious and well-funded campaign.
Ramadan has based his candidacy on generous contributions amounting to over over $40,000 to the local Republican establishment, and a campaign of deliberate deception and disassociation from his ethnic and religious heritage. Even before he decided to run for public office Imad exhibited all the symptoms of an inferiority complex and was constantly overcompensating for his minority status. As these personal issues began to manifest themselves in his campaign strategy it has not passed unnoticed. Imad’s comical public posturing can best be described as a series of poorly performed parodies of various American voter blocs and stereotypes, and can’t be fully understood without placing it in the context of this personal psychological complex. With his transparent bellowing of love for America and appeals to a chauvinistic and militaristic American patriotism, the immigrant from the Southern Suburb of Beirut, Lebanon has become a local neighborhood spectacle in South Riding, Virginia.
As we previously predicted, Imad based his campaign theme on an immigrant American story with a heavy dose of traditional American clichés and a large collection of red, white, and blue ties. If that was all there is to Imad’s campaign we can all sit back and enjoy the clown show, but there is something sinister and blatantly fraudulent about Imad and his campaign for public office in Virginia. It should be unacceptable to all Americans for anyone to come into this country and pursue public office based on a campaign of deliberate lies and deception as to who he is and what he stands for. Here are five issues which Imad has refused to honestly address, but should be clarified by someone running for public office or engaged in the political discussion.
(1) Imad, let us begin by saying we consider your personal background, including your religious beliefs, irrelevant and care even less about your religious persuasion or any other aspect of your personal background than we do about the election results. However, you have inserted religion into your campaign, presented yourself as a man of faith, and actively sought the religious vote making it a legitimate issue for public discussion. While you actively seek the vote of “religious conservatives” you remain deliberately and consistently vague about your own religious beliefs. In your public statements, including your announcement speech, you have never referred to yourself as a Muslim and opted, instead, for the phrase “born to a Muslim family.” You have also made it a point to immediately and always follow up this interesting phraseology by pointing out your father was “baptized as a kid by Christian family friends”, and that you attended a “Christian evangelical church school.” Local voters have also noticed your efforts to disassociate from your Muslim heritage which we’re convinced is an attempt by you to make yourself less repulsive to anti-Muslim bigots within the Republican Party.
It doesn’t stop there, Imad, and your behavior has those who follow your campaign wondering what you’re hiding. The fringe lunatics have attacked you as a “radical Islamist”, Hizballah supporter (which we will come to in a moment), and terrorist sympathizer. Of course, we know they’re wrong. Your deceptive behavior has nothing to do with your “terrorist” sympathies or any “radical Islamist” ideas. They don’t understand you as we do, and you shouldn’t think for a moment you can exploit the attacks by the lunatic fringe to make yourself appear like a respectable member and/or defender of the Muslim-American community. We both know it’s your inferiority complex and overcompensation for your minority status that they, perhaps deliberately, decided to mischaracterize to advance their own fear-mongering agenda. After all, admitting you’re a harmless little twat won’t help the lunatic fringe promote the notion of an Islamic invasion of America.
On the other hand, those of us who understand you, where you came from, and your petty personal agenda as the deliriously happy immigrant pursuing the American dream have other valid questions we believe local voters deserve to have addressed. In this video you were seen clutching an 18th century Bible, and in this video, speaking to a group of bible-thumping, (literally) gun-totting nut jobs, you ended your little talk by telling them you will join them for the “fellowship later on” (4:27). Have you converted to evangelical Christianity? If so, why hide it?
Again, we don’t care if you’re a “man of faith” or a secular atheist, Muslim or Christian, or whether you adhere to any religion at all, but we do not believe you have a right to come into our country and run for public office based on a campaign of lies and deception. You have actively courted the right-wing, religious vote but you have refused to clarify your own beliefs. Are you a Muslim? Are you ashamed of your Islamic heritage? Have you converted to evangelical Christianity? Why do you remain vague about your religious orientation?
(2) Our US government has designated Hizballah a terrorist group, and with the help of the corporate media, and the Israeli propaganda machine in this country most Americans have developed an image of Hizballah that is no different than the international terrorist group, Al-Qaeda. We, along with many other Americans, are well aware that far from being an Al-Qaeda-type terrorist group, Hizballah is a Lebanese political party with an armed wing that has exercised its legitimate right to resist Israel’s foreign military occupation of Lebanon. You were born in Lebanon and raised in the Southern suburb of Beirut, a Hizballah stronghold. The residents of your old neighborhood have consistently voted overwhelmingly for Hizballah candidates in Lebanese elections. In fact, during Israel’s occupation of Lebanon there was near unanimous support among the Lebanese people, even among those who do not share Hizballah’s ideology, for the organization’s resistance to Israeli occupation. This presents a series of questions you should address. Do you consider Hizballah a terrorist group or a legitimate Lebanese party with an armed resistance wing that exercised its right to self-defense against a foreign military occupation? Do you believe that the vast majority of your fellow Lebanese in South Beirut among whom you lived and were raised would vote for a bunch of murderous terrorists? Or do you believe the image of Hizballah as presented by US officials and the media is inaccurate and distorted for political reasons?
(3) Your real name is Imad. Why did you change it? Why did you feel you need to change your Arabic name to a non-Arabic, English-sounding name? Is this part of your effort to disassociate from your Arab heritage? Do you think we Americans are so prejudiced that we won’t accept you with an Arabic name? We are a country of immigrants, Imad, and American names are not only English-sounding. You could have kept your Arabic name, or opted for a Hispanic or Chinese name and it would still be American.
(4) Why have you avoided any discussion of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 when you were 12 years old? Do you expect us to believe that at the age of 12 you don’t remember the Israeli invasion of your own country in which over 20,000 Palestinian and Lebanese civilians were killed? That would be like a 12 year old boy in Poland during WWII not remembering the German invasion, it’s simply not believable. Yet you have made the bombings of the US embassy and Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983 part of your campaign theme. In fact, you have repeatedly emphasized these two events as having a great impact on your childhood. In your announcement speech you stated the following:
“The first defining moment of my life came at age 13. Even though I had seen many bombings, April 18, 1983 was the start of my political awakening. At 1pm that Monday, my school shook to a loud explosion. The US Embassy in Beirut, which was located at the edge of our campus was targeted. We rushed out of class to the other side of campus and watched with horror the destruction. 60 people, mostly Embassy Staff lost their lives that day. The second defining moment came 6 months later, on October 23rd 1983, my family and I were awaken at 6:20am to another loud explosion that targeted the Marine Barracks less than 2 miles away from our apartment in the Southern Suburb of Beirut. I rushed to the Airport area and watched again in horror. 241 brave marines were killed in a cowardly terrorist act that Sunday morning. It was then that I turned my attention from sports to politics.”
How could you not have remembered Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon in which the city you and your family were living in was placed under a three month military siege and bombed daily from the land, air, and sea, but vividly remember the bombings of the US embassy and US Marine barracks? Imad, this is simply not believable. It’s abundantly clear to all of us familiar with Lebanon’s war years and who also understand modern American history that this is part of an effort to appeal to American emotions by narrating a fictional personal story that is cynically weaved into two of the most painful moments in modern American history. That you would do so as part of a strategy in a campaign for public office in America is an insult to the families of those who were killed in those two events, not to mention the families of over 20,000 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians murdered by Israel in 1982 which you choose to ignore because any mention of them might be understood as criticism of Israel and that wouldn’t be helpful to your candidacy. Needless to say, anyone willing to exploit and politicize human life and death is despicable and incapable of making any positive contribution to whichever society or country he/she decides to make his home.
(5) In the past your activities in the Republican Party supposedly included outreach to Arabs and Muslims. You proudly carried the title of “vice-chairman of the party’s outreach work to the Arab and Muslim communities in Virginia”, an effort on behalf of the Republican Party we suspected you weren’t very serious about. It appeared to be more of a convenient and silly designation which you sought in furtherance of your own petty, personal agenda. Our suspicions have been proven correct. Rather than reaching out to Arabs or Muslims, during your campaign you began parroting some of the most vile anti-Muslim rhetoric we have heard come out of the Republican Party. In response to a question about how you as a Lebanese and Muslim, no doubt, were able to overcome “anti-American sentiment” in “the area” you answered by saying “It was my upbringing. I had an excellent father. He practiced law and refused to participate in the lawlessness and the religious divide. He sent us to Christian schools and we grew up on Christian values. We did not fall into that stupidity.” Such a statement about “Christian values” is reminiscent of the worst type of racist, anti-Muslim rhetoric we have heard in the last few years. The “lawlessness…, religious divide” and “stupidity” was not a product of non-Christian, Muslim values which is what you’re not so subtly suggesting. The brutal Lebanese civil war included Christian, Muslim, and non-sectarian, religiously-mixed, factions and groups, and some of the most vicious and bloody massacres of that ugly era were carried out by right-wing, Christian militias. However, no sensible person would ever suggest the Karantina, Ehden, or Sabra and Chatilla massacres were a reflection of “Christian values” nor would sensible people attribute the bloody history of Western Christendom with its own civil and colonial wars to “Christian values.” Your response to that question and the message you were trying to convey was clear; I am not like those crazy, violent Muslims who attended “madrasas” (although the Christian school you keep reminding us you attended is also referred to as a “madrasa” in Arabic by both Muslims and Christians), I have attended Christian schools, and I share your “Christian values.” Your strategy of appealing to the very worst racist, Islamophobic tendencies within the Republican Party to win a public office in the United States is shameless, and no decent American will fail to notice and condemn this reprehensible behavior. It’s no wonder a racist like Eric Cantor endorsed your candidacy, but do you really believe that Arab culture and Islamic values are immoral and inherently violent?
Imad, win or lose, if you continue to participate in the political process at any level in our country these are issues you will need to address sooner or later. Your name-change, flag-waving, thumbs-up signs, transparent hyper-patriotism, and “Go GOP” chants were amusing, but your initial entertainment value (we especially loved your Sarah Palin impersonation)has been eclipsed by your cynical and offensive approach to Americans and American political society. You have waged a campaign based on deceiving and lying to the people whose country and state you decided to make your home. Your engagement with America is obviously based on the assumption that all of us Americans are racist, anti-Arab bigots and Islamophobes for whom you must disassociate from your religious and ethnic heritage in order to make yourself less repugnant. This was clear even before you decided to run for public office. You have now ran a public campaign for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates based on a strategy of deliberate ambiguity and deception, and the insulting assumption that a majority of Americans are racist, anti-Muslim bigots that won’t vote for an Arab, Muslim candidate. In the late stages of your campaign you even invoked the worst Islamophobic, anti-Arab stereotypes as part of a strategy to win over the American voters you presume to be bigots.
Not only are you not representative of the decent Arab and Muslim communities in the US, you’re also not representative of the vast majority of decent Americans. Americans strive for a society that is welcoming of all people from all backgrounds and cultures. We don’t want anyone to feel they must change their name and deny their religious or ethnic heritage to be accepted. We don’t need any insecure immigrant defining our country and identity in narrow, chauvinistic, racist, and militaristic terms, joining the very worst elements in our society, and then speaking to all us as if we’re ignorant and naïve racists to whom you need to make yourself less repugnant to win our votes. You really don’t understand America or Americans, Imad, but we understand you and what you’re doing. It’s clear that you lack the values, moral character, and basic human decency that would allow you to make a positive contribution to any society or help improve the human condition which, after all, should be what public service is all about. We will have to wait till Tuesday to learn if you were able to buy a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, but we don’t need to wait for the election results to know the real winners will not be Virginians, but rather the Beirutis that no longer have such a despicable character living among them.