An Unlikely Candidate


by Rebecca Bynum (April 2008)

Vijay Kumar is a candidate for Congress from Tennessee’s fifth congressional district which includes the city of Nashville. This Congressional seat is currently held by Jim Cooper, a Democrat with a background as a lawyer and in private capital fundraising. He is the son of Tennessee Governor Prentice Cooper (who served three two-year terms from 1939-1945) and is well entrenched in state politics having previously served as congressional representative in Tennessee’s more rural 4th district. Going up against such a well-known politician is a formidable task, but Kumar is up to the challenge. He says the political turning point for him came on September 11, 2001.

“All my life I have been a liberal. I respected people of all colors, castes, nationalities, etc. I have profound faith in pluralism, democracy, and freedom. In 2000, I helped Gore-Lieberman campaign as a volunteer. I helped Jim Cooper and Bob Clement in their elections. However, my philosophy began to change since September 11, 2001. On September 10, I was an Indian-American immigrant and liberal.  However, on September 12, a metamorphosis took place in me. I started to question my own thinking.  I came to realize that while I might believe in liberty, democracy and freedom, there are nations, groups, and individuals who do not want to respect other peoples’ values. They must be stopped. And if we can’t stop them here in Nashville, Tennessee, the very heart of America, where can they be stopped?”

Kumar was born in Hyderabad, India (the site of several recent jihad attacks) in a traditional, orthodox Hindu family. He describes his upbringing as “a paradox of intellectual liberalism and personal conservatism.” His great love and respect for his father clearly helped to shape his belief that loss of the father in the home is one of the greatest tragedies of modern culture and the thing that has the most deleterious effect, not only in terms of rising poverty levels, but the greater problems that occur when cultural values are no longer transmitted from fathers to their children, including the example of fathers’ loving respect for mothers. The value our culture places on women has been steadily declining since the 1950’s especially at the lower end of the socio-economic scale. Kumar is also in favor of defining marriage as between one man and one woman and is for the rigorous enforcement of anti-polygamy laws. He was shocked to learn of the widespread practice of polygamy among Muslim immigrants in America.

“My mother was a house-wife with very little formal education,” says Kumar, “however, she was a strong and determined woman. My father was a very learned man in both traditional Hindu thought as well as in western philosophical thought. At home, we were very conservative but outside the house we are very secular. At an early age, that is, during my teens, I was very much influenced by what I considered to be progressive, leftist and liberal schools of thought.”

A major issue for Kumar is the revival of America’s melting pot standard of integration. Coming from the ultimate multicultural society in India, where many languages are spoken, Kumar sees this as detrimental to cultural cohesion and societal health. He calls for English to be instituted as the official language of the United States and for full assimilation to again be the ultimate goal of immigrants. He is also a strong opponent of illegal immigration and worries about the depression of wages for America’s poor. But more importantly, he worries about preserving American culture and national identity.

“There are two types of immigrants,” says Kumar. “Those who want to assimilate and those who want to create a state within a state. We must identify those whose goal is not to assimilate, but to change the nature of the United States instead. If we continue to allow the second type immigrants to come in large numbers, American society will be fractured and fail. I love America, my adopted country, and I want America to be strong, not weakened from within.”

His other proposals for strengthening America include support of second amendment rights and support of first amendment rights in the form of opposition to “hate speech” legislation. Kumar believes that freedom of expression is the most important and also most threatened right we have. “Our war is for intellectual freedom, and the alternative is unconditional surrender of the mind,” says Kumar. He has even compiled a list of questions we’re not supposed to ask:

“Why is it we only talk about the 350 years of the Atlantic slave trade rather than the Middle Eastern and Arabic slave trade lasting 1400 years?

Why can’t we talk about how illegal immigration impacts poor whites and poor blacks in America?

Why can’t we talk about how poverty is caused by poor education and no father in the home? 

Why can’t we talk about reducing the tax code from 13,458 pages to 200 pages?

Why does every person running for office say that they are for better education, yet education keeps getting worse even though we are spending more in it than ever before?”

The main reason Kumar is running for office is to help the U.S. develop a strategy to win the greater war being waged against us. Kumar is also one of the few politicians who openly identify the enemy as Universal Jihad. Therefore jihad must be countered in many ways, not simply on the battlefield.

Terrorists are products of militant ideologies, and not vice-versa. Unless we confront the ideology logically and persistently, our efforts are futile.

The protracted war in Iraq and other policies of the Bush administration sends a schizophrenic message to the Islamic world. The Bush administration opposes the Wahabis who comprise al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden. But it supports Saudi Arabia, the source of the Wahabi doctrine. It supports Sunni Pakistan, calling it a key ally against war on terror and opposes the Sunni Taliban, which is the creation of Pakistani intelligence services. It opposes the Iranian regime of Shi’ite Ayatollahs, and at the same time it supports the Iraqi Shi’ite-led government. The administration opposes some Sunnis in Iraq and supports others while it also supports Sunnis in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Kuwait.

This administration’s myopia minimizes the effectiveness of our military making it incapable of distinguishing a friend from a foe. Bush is guilty of conducting a defensive war. He wants to protect the United States from terrorists, but fails to understand that terrorists are the product of their philosophical views and he fails to attack their philosophy, which is Universal Jihad.”

We must recognize that we have done all we can do militarily for Iraq and Afghanistan, but Kumar would like to see a large military base established in the Kurdish areas of Iraq. Forty million Kurdish people, who are an ancient civilization, have been victims of genocide of not only by Saddam Hussein government, but also by Iranian, Turkish and Syrian Governments.  We must protect Kurdish people who could be a great ally of the West and by having a large military presence.  This presence also helps monitor radical and fundamentalists in the Entire Middle East and South Asia.

Kumar believes the strength of the U.S. military over the long-run should be our highest priority. He also thinks that opposition to Shari’a based governments should be a moral imperative, and just as opposition to communist governments was the backbone of our strategy of alliances during the Cold War, opposition to Shari’a should be the basis of our strategy now.  Sharia is a complete political doctrine and is incompatible with the United States Constitution.

Reducing the amount of money available for jihad by reducing our dependence on oil and reducing the amount of money we give to jihad-supporting governments is another area where Kumar believes progress can be made.

Kumar also wants to limit immigration from countries whose laws based on Sharia and work to assimilate the immigrants from those countries. “We cannot allow fundamentalist Islamist social norms, like male-female segregation, to be forced on the majority. They must learn to adjust to our norms instead,” says Kumar.

On social issues, as one would expect, Kumar is conservative. He opposes abortion on demand. He also supports prayer in public schools. On economic issues, he favors Reagan’s vision of small government and low taxes. He does not favor a national health care system.

To my mind these things are minor in comparison with the vital need to defeat jihad. Kumar is the first candidate to run on an anti-jihad, anti-Shari’a platform, but hopefully, he will not be the last.        

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Rebecca Bynum contributes regularly to The Iconoclast, our Community Blog. Click here to see all her contributions, on which comments are welcome.

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