Tuesday, August 24, 2010

American Losers

The two sides arguing over the “Ground Zero” mosque could hardly be more hysterical if they were dreamt up by a comic book writer.

Political figures like Sarah Palin and New Gingrich, who would seem to have 2012 aspirations, have weighed in with their invectives on the issue of whether New York City Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf can build (or renovate) a multiple-purpose community center that happens to have a mosque in it as well as a plaque offering condolences for the victims of September 11.

But it's the intransigents on both sides in this argument who have made this a no-win situation.

Just what exactly is to be gained by anybody regarding this mosque?

Will terrorism go away if they can’t build this mosque? Will we be unable to mourn those who died a few blocks away on 9/11 if a Muslim prays nearby? And since two New York City blocks from Ground Zero is an affront to the families of 9/11 victims, would three blocks be sufficient to remove the insensitivity of this undertaking? Four? Five? Twenty?

And if Osama bin Laden is able to recruit terrorists to his cause because Muslims around the world perceive the “Overseas Contingency Operations” as a war against their religion, then how does this mosque fiasco not serve his purposes perfectly?

Only in the broadest sense was this ever about religious freedom. There are already over one hundred mosques in New York City. Muslims certainly aren’t denied the freedom to worship.

The reason for the outrage over this “mosque” is obvious and understandable. Almost nine years ago, a few blocks away from the proposed site, mass murders were carried out by people devoted to a fanatical religious and political belief. That Japanese would want to erect a Shinto shrine at Pearl Harbor in 1950 is neither an unfounded nor a completely irrelevant comparison.

But Sufi Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is not the Wahhabi Osama bin Laden and the Cordoba House is not an affiliate of al-Qaeda. To conflate these actors is to certify that Americans, or at least American politicians, know nothing about the faith of over a billion people.

Among the people defending the building are New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and President Obama. The same Michael Bloomberg who discovered he had the authority to ban trans fats and serve a third term as mayor and the same President Obama, who thinks the Constitution grants health insurance to every American, come out of this debacle with the perception that they are the ones with a clearer understanding of the Constitution.

What’s worse is that these multiculturalists on the Left get to hide behind their supposed love for the First Amendment even as they prove themselves less interested in permitting the freedoms of the Second, Fifth, or Tenth Amendments. Why, who in the world would want to deny Muslims the right to worship anywhere they want unless they were Ra-a-a-a-acists! The Left gets to continue its indulgence that we can all just get along and they set up a trap to make the Right look mindlessly authoritarian, to which the Right has eagerly complied.

Regardless of which “side” prevails in this charade one thing can be sure: the only losers are the American people.

Partisans of the Left and Right get to continue indulging their fantasies: "All the Muslims are coming to kill us" vs. "We can’t allow somebody to not get whatever they want wherever they want it especially if they’re a minority."

Never mind that this was, at most, a state issue that had nothing to do with the First Amendment’s injunction that the federal government could not impose a state church on Americans. As a local property rights issue, this should not have animated the 99% of Americans who live outside Manhattan.

Never mind also that this one-act play was performed without any real discussion about state sovereignty, what effect this “mosque” has in our relations with Muslims already living in our own country, or whether our foreign policy has anything to do with why some Muslims want to murder Americans in the first place.

Then again, isn't it much easier in our idiocracy to abide by the two choices given to us by our masters than to ponder any forbidden third option?


Carl Wicklander,
Regular Columnist, THL
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