On Thursday, January 4th, Keith Ellison (D - Minnesota) was formally sworn in as US Congressman in the 110th United States Congress, taking his oath on a copy of the Quran, once owned by founding father Thomas Jefferson. For the Neo-Cons, it was a day of dread - the Republican party formally lost control of the Congress. And the Speaker of the House selected to lead Congress this time around was California representative Nancy Pelosi, the first woman in history to be selected to the position.
But it was an historic occassion for another - the first Muslim to be elected to Congress. Ellison's swearing in was not without controversy, however. Ellison had earlier announced that he would take his oath on the Quran, another first in American history. Traditionally, the book on which the oath of office is taken has been the Bible.
The Neo-Cons were quick to react, ranging from uncomplementary insinuations to downright idiotic rantings - like this silly piece, posted on PipeLineNews.org, an ultra right-wing news and commentary website.
It may surprise many Malaysians, but the US also has a very slanted mainstream media environment, when it comes to news reporting. And the champion mouthpiece of the Neo-Cons is none other than Fox News. The following YouTube video is an excerpt from the popular Fox News talk-show Hannity & Colmes. [Hat-tip: News Hounds - via their article, "Hannity’s Latest Smear Tactics Against Keith Ellison: Distorting His Past To Make Him Seem An Anti-Semite"]
(video and more in the full post)
The guest on the show, Dennis Prager (a radio show host) had earlier, in an article published at Townhall.com, stated that "“If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book [the Bible], don't serve in Congress.” But it was later pointed out that there were 3 presidents in the past who were sworn in without the Bible - which is when Prager tweaked his stand (as seen in the video) - the concern was changing the Bible with another religious text. (source: News Hound article)
The Democrats have their work cut out for them, though. An exit strategy for Iraq will be high on the agenda. What transpires over the next several months may not undo the damage that Dubya and the Neo-Cons have done, but at least they will be there to try to return Congress to the stature of being the check that puts balance back into the US government.
And one of the individuals in this effort will be Keith Ellison. Democrat. Muslim.
Walski wishes him all the best. And it is hoped that the Democrats manage to get the troops out of Iraq - before the Neo-Cons twist reality around even more and convince the American people that Iraq was the Democrats' fault.
Odd, but in some ways, the American Neo-Cons do resemble Malaysia's own conservatives, and the media that speaks on their behalf, don't they? The ideological differences may be about different things, but the behavior and modus operandi sure look the same...