As Democrats take control of the house for the first time in 12 years, voters in the fifth District of Minnesota were brave enough to not look at one’s religion when going to the polls on election day. They elected him because of what he stands for and his policies.
Keith Ellison, Democrat, has become the first Muslim to be elected to the U.S. Congress.
He is also the first African American to win a congressional seat in Minnesota.
Ellison overcame countless personal attacks emphasizing his past association with Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam. But Ellison ran on populist platform, for a call for an immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq, for universal health care system, increasing education funding, better transportation system and a pro choice stand.
“I am calling for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. I opposed the war before it began; I was against this war once it started and I am the only candidate calling for an immediate withdrawal of troops,” said Ellison on a message to the voters on his Web site.
His critics have tried to paint him as a radical and a divider, but that simply doesn’t square with the view of people who know him and his track record.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune said it best in their editorial endorsing, “During two terms in the Minnesota House, he has authored bills on lead paint abatement, voter fraud, retail crime and a healthy range of other issues, often building bipartisan alliances in the process. His trademark is bringing people together, and he has a gift for enfranchising the disenfranchised, a talent that Minnesota needs.”
When voters were asked by Assoicated Press if they knew he was Muslim, they simply answered no and said that it didn’t matter to them considering his track record and position on health care education.
Ellison calls for universal health care system said a statement of his Web site, “It is time for universal single payer health care in the United States. Right now 46 million Americans do not have health insurance, and 8.4 million of them are children. Right now millions of seniors are unable to keep up with their skyrocketing drug costs. Right now American businesses are struggling under the weight of health care costs and losing their competitive edge in the global market. This situation should be unacceptable to every reflective American citizen.”
I only wish our California representatives would join him on his call for universal health care, because something tells me that our current system is not working very well if we have 46 million uninsured Americans, not to mention that I am included on that long list.
Tuesday’s democratic midterm victory is exciting and I only hope they keep some of the campaign promises that don’t usually get filled.
I hope this send s a message to our president regarding Americans position towards his policies.
Ellison’s victory will give some hope to Muslims who fell are being discriminated against and targeted by this Bush Administration.
Hopefully this country’s policy towards Middle East will change a little, although I don’t see it coming anytime soon.