Big doings in Southside* on Veterans’ Day. This year, it was the dedication of the Blue Star Memorial in Buckingham Court House. The ceremony drew a crowd of veterans and local citizens to see the unveiling. Among the dignitaries was Congressman Virgil Goode from Virginia’s Fifth District. At the reception which followed in the County Arts Center, our congressman agreed to an interview regarding some pending legislation in the House of Representatives.
The main concern for Gates of Vienna is the upcoming immigration bills being introduced in Congress by Rep. Goode. Those will be addressed in detail in a subsequent post, when Mr. Goode’s office sends us the full texts by snail mail. Our theoretical fax has never worked, so the main topic will have to wait.
However, we also hit the highlights of other Issues Dear to the Hearts of our readers (not including trolls and visitors wandering in from James Wolcott’s blog). Everyone has agreed on our good fortune in being represented by a patriotic stalwart. Therefore, since there was such positive response in our original post on the Honorable Mr. Goode, we felt it our duty to discuss the bones of contention our readers have with the current Congress and administration.
Virgil said he is more than aware that the conservative base is unhappy with the goings-on in Washington, considering the orgies of pork and the spineless response to judicial nominations. When asked if he would pass the news on up to the RNC, Mr. Goode sighed, “They don’t listen.” As an example, he related occasions when conservatives within the caucus take the Republican members to task, trying to effect some behavior modification on spending. But then President Bush arrives, makes the rounds shaking hands and talking to people and suddenly any memory of fiscal resolve disappears. He agreed that a day of reckoning is coming: in the not-too-distant future, on the morning after an election, Republicans are going to wake up to an unhappy surprise.
The Fifth District’s Congressman is one of the staunchest fiscal conservatives in the House. He says that the administration is listening to the media when the President travels to Louisiana and promises two hundred million —and then correcting himself — can you believe two hundred billion? — in relief aid following Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Goode believes the media has too much influence and drowns out what the rest of the country is saying.
To his mind, the federal government should restrict itself to the huge fiscal commitment necessary to rebuild the Gulf Coast’s infrastructure: the roads, bridges and levees. Other efforts from state and local governments, along with the untapped private sector, would direct the rest of the rebuilding more efficiently and economically. The co-ordination already occurring between civic and church groups is a good indication of that. Virgil pointed out his photographer, who accompanied him to Buckingham, as an example of private effort. This man had already been to Louisiana to help in the rebuilding efforts and would be returning. Virgil thinks the genius of individual American know-how and its approach to problem-solving will rebuild Louisiana. Gates of Vienna agrees; it takes no ingenuity or particular wisdom to dump two hundred billion dollars of “relief” on a state which doesn’t seem to coordinate its own efforts very well. The thought of all that money lining the pockets of all those professional politicians in Louisiana is most disheartening. You and I worked for those tax dollars. Now someone is going to load them into a fleet of crop dusters, fly over Louisiana, open the doors, and rain billions over the ruined levees and disappeared towns. What a nightmare.
Gates of Vienna told Virgil about the decision of Scottsville — a small town on the James River — to adopt an extended family from Pass Christian, Louisiana. The town will be helping this family for the foreseeable future as they rebuild their house and business. We’ll be giving you the details later.
But that was the opening act. Our real concern — and the concern of many of our readers — is the current chaos resulting from the failure of federal government to act on the tide of illegal immigration flooding in from Mexico. Congressman Goode agrees that it is a disaster which ought to have been addressed long ago. He has one bill pending and he and a colleague have announced their plans to introduce another.
Stay tuned. As soon as the documents arrive from his office, Gates of Vienna will lay out in specific detail what is planned and who is involved. Then you and I and the rest of us will take it from there.
As an aside, we also floated the idea of a blog for the Fifth District. Virgil’s concern, and one he doesn’t see a way around right now, is that anything emanating from his office needs to directly reflect what he believes, and the concerns of his constituents. Any blogger knows how time-consuming a blog can be. Due to the crush of his schedule, he hasn’t figured out a way to post to a blog regularly. And Virgil is adamant: any blog carrying his name will not be written by someone else. But, yes, folks, he is aware of the blogosphere and he knows full well its potential to affect the course of events.
Things are on the move.
*“Southside” is considered the area of Virginia south of the James River, west of the Great Dismal Swamp, and east of the foothills of the Blue Ridge. The region is characterized by dialectical peculiarities, such as the pronunciation of “house” to rhyme with “close.”