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The Mechanics
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Illinois Fri Jul 10 2009

Something I do like about Mark Kirk

So I posted something earlier about Mark Kirk's chances in a GOP primary, and in the comments made clear the fact that I wasn't defending his vote on cap-and-trade--it's not an issue I really know much about, nor do I claim any particular knowledge about Kirk's intellectual honesty in voting for it--and stressed that I certainly wouldn't consider myself a Kirk "supporter". With each passing election cycle, in fact, I find there are fewer and fewer politicians worth straining my fingers typing in support of; a function of my advanced, jaded, late-20s worldview, I'm sure.

However, as the widely acknowledged leader of Local-Chicago-Political-Writers-Who-Are-Also-First-Generation-Iraqi-Assyrian-Americans, this will no doubt get me in trouble with my fellow Assyrian-Americans, because Congressman Kirk has been outstanding in his support of minorities in Iraq, particularly the targeted and harassed Assyrians and Chaldeans of the so-called "Nineveh Plains" region. Kirk has fought tirelessly on behalf of those minorities, taking the US ambassador to task for not acting on programs created by the US Congress to ensure local security for those populations, and championing and passing an amendment to an appropriations bill ensuring funding for local security force to protect internally displaced people (IDP).

From the Iraq Sustainable Democracy Project:

"Congressman Mark Kirk is most certainly a champion who believes we cannot allow Iraq to fail. His measure will help to ensure that Iraq remains ethnically and religiously plural by aiding IDPs in the Nineveh Plain" said Michael Youash, Project Director of the Iraq Sustainable Democracy Project (a special project of the Assyrian Academic Society). ISDP is a Washington-based policy institute providing research and analysis on the situation of Iraq's most vulnerable minorities.

Those in the know know that Kirk's district contains an enormous Chaldo/Assyrian-American population; the Chicagoland Assyrian Diaspora population is considered the largest in the world, with its roots in Andersonville, and its biggest population centers in West Ridge ("the old neighborhood"), Lincolnwood, Skokie, and the suburbs north of there. You may also know us from our many cable access television shows.

Rep. Kirk has taken his advocacy on behalf of Assyrians and internal refugees in Iraq well beyond the typical politician's talk-big pandering and actually accomplished things that have made life for the internally displaced peoples materially better.

Not that this has any bearing on whether he could survive a GOP primary or the conservative rectitude of his vote on Cap'n Trade, just something that warranted mentioning. It's only fair to point out something good about a guy you shrugged off as just another politician. Also, I don't want to get served the last bowl of kubba at our next monthly meeting; this is a mark of great shame in my culture. (Not really).

 
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