You just have to shake your head.
The state Republican party, trying to find a new direction, met in Sacramento over the weekend. One of the controversies involved Harmeet Dhillon, a San Francisco attorney vying to be party vice chairman.
Dhillon is a Sikh. Her family emigrated from India when she was young.
According to the L.A. Times, “one delegate, in a posting on Facebook, accused her of sympathizing with Muslim terrorists. Some delegates, according to Dhillon and others, have said they could not vote for her because she is “un-American” and sniffed that she might sacrifice a goat at the convention.
“Fliers scattered throughout the convention meeting spot said: “Harmeet Dhillon, Republican token candidate, is not worthy of being trusted as she repeatedly tries to undermine and tarnish integrity of U.S. born patriotic Republicans.”
Wait. Dhillon is a Sikh, not a Muslim. Sikhs believe in the One Immortal Being an the Ten Gurus. They have been badly treated in India by Muslims and Hindus alike.
Dhillon herself dismissed her critics as a “handful of crazy people and bigots.” But bigotry long found a home in the GOP. If it weren’t for Karl Rove and his exploitation of wedge issues such as gay marriage, John Kerry would have been president. The GOP’s anti-immigrant stance helped cost it the presidential election.
If the party wants to move forward and, you know, win an election now and then, it must purge itself of bigoted wingnuts. But it must do more. It must recognize that Reaganism has degenerated into dogma and fused with fundamentalism into a retrograde philosophy that will perennially pull the party backwards. The haters have to go, yes, but also the ideologues so troubled by diversity and other aspects of modernity.