In the story that will never end, a couple of local blogs, strong supporters of Julie Lucas, repeatedly recycle stories of relationships between various muslims, muslim organizations, members of the Bush administration, career government officials, and Faisal Gill.
Their point, if it could be said they even have one, is that the "associations" formed by the linking of the names of these groups, is itself a disqualifying factor.
What remains unsaid is what the associations are supposed to "mean" to a person being a delegate representing the 51st district. But that is really all that is truly important, so it's a rather large ommission.
Because if the past associations have no bearing on what the candidate says, does, or is expected to say or do when elected, and if the "appearance" suggested by those associations is mitigated by the FACT that nobody actually believes what is suggested, then the associations themselves are truly meaningless.
Nobody who really knows Gill believes that he supports terrorists. Nor does anybody who really knows Gill believe that he supports terrorist sympathisers, gives money to terrorists, would vote to enact muslim law as a delegate, or would give special preference to terrorists or terrorist-related groups.
Further, there is no EVIDENCE that Gill would do any of these things. There is no indication that his actions today are anything but those of a patriotic American who loves his country. His service as an active-duty soldier in our military, as a committed public servant serving in the department of Homeland Security, his life as a good family man, all belie the notion that he is some sleeper-terrorist looking to overthrow our government or establish sharia-law. And that is true whatever "associations" one might draw between Gill and people who have expressed those opinions.
Further, when these "associations" were first raised in 2004, there was an active government investigation. But knowing everything claimed about Gill and "terrorist associations", the DHS not only cleared him of wrongdoing, they allowed him to remain and kept his security clearance active. Nobody whose job it is to find and weed out terrorists and people connected to terrorists found ANY issue with Gill.
About the only remotely applicable issue is whether Gill should have known all about these associations, and made different choices based on that knowledge. But while the "revelations" splashed about are news to most people, those who needed to address this did so years ago, and those who know Faisal are convinced that this too is a charge belied by their own knowledge of the man.
Further, the oddity of people just learning stuff that others knew years ago, and based on that new knowledge loudly proclaiming that others were stupid NOT to know of the same things years ago, should be obvious with the telling. Those who spend years looking into cracks and crevices often come up with associations and issues that a vast majority of people would never even dream of. How we act when we LEARN of these things is far more important than the fact that we, like millions of others, weren't the first to discover them.
To use an analogy, most of what we see as "modern technology" seems quite obvious to all of us today as we use it. In fact, it's hard to imagine why airplanes could not be invented hundreds of years ago, for example, given that you need no special knowledge to build an airplane wing, and kids make lifting-body paper airplanes all the time.
And yet, the Wright Brothers were considered great inventors for making flight work. Because hindsight is easy. All those things that are obvious now were one time great mysteries.
But I digress (part of my general nature -- I hate doing these "personal application" posts, and would much rather talk in broad strokes about things like how what is known was once unknown -- oh well, maybe another time).
I think this is what has frustrated me and most others who are seen as "faisal defenders" (remembering that I am neutral in the race). It's not that we are oblivious to terrorist and terrorist ties, or dismissive of anything that is said. It is that all of the "light" shining on the past has no use other than to illuminate, and given the testimony of those who personally KNOW the man today, the supposed "illumination" of the past if found to be false, and therefore useless.
If I had to summarize a different way, I would say that all the hand-waving asks a legitimate question -- does Faisal Gill support terrorists? But that's all it does, ask the question. If all we had were the reports of the past, we would have to devine the answer, and the repeated and more detailed information from the past might be considered relevant to that task.
But we are not engaged in an academic exercise. The man we are looking at walks among us. He comes to our meetings, he lives in our community, his children go to school with ours. We don't have to guess at who he is today. We can ask him, we can ask those who know him, who deal with him on a daily basis.
The fact is that those who want to get Lucas elected don't ask Gill the questions. They don't approach him at the meetings, or send him e-mails. It took a 3rd-party blogger to ask a few of the questions that were 'so important' to the local bloggers. They were happy to link to the results, only to misinterpret the answers and then again to NOT ask for clarification. They don't want facts or actual dialog, because they just want to leave the questions out there based on the past.
Voters will have to look at the issues of importance to the district, listen to the two candidates, read their proposals, and determine which of the two is more likely to do what they want, and which has a personality and background to better accomplish things in Richmond.