The trigger-finger inducing Ground Zero Mosque. A blatant and awkward moniker meticulously assembled by politi-marketing savages. I’d have suggested TerrorMosque ™: One Jihad Enter if I were on the staff at Stop Islamization of America*,but they don’t return my phone calls. I will hereafter call the mosque in Manhattan,NY,USA.
This is fundamentally and inescapably about religion. You cannot simply wave a hand,state that the debate around the mosque in Manhattan,NY,USA is only about ideology or respect.
Of course,you can say anything you want about religions. There’s no restrictions on taking part in protests against the mosque. Or simply protesting that Islam is an anti-American ideology. Or white people. Whatever trouble you want to get yourself into via speech,this country grants you the freedom to do so.
But the big thing that this whole controversy points out – what you’re missing – is that this country never granted you the freedom from being offended.
So buck up,sickos. You may loath the mosque in Manhattan,NY,USA. You may believe that Islam will Destroy All Freedom and These United States. The one great thing this country represents is freedom for all its people regardless of race or religion.
And so the thing that frightens me most is how quickly this issue was adopted into this election season’s candidate platforms. The obvious truth in our freedom from being offended doesn’t seem so obvious when a candidate is talking about using his elected position to stop the mosque in Manhattan,NY,USA. For some strange reason,little media attention is ever turned to the authority and legality of doing so.
Look: while democracy often appears to be a simple majority rules game,the fact is we have a variety of legal protections in place to prevent,say,the enslaving of Jews because most of the country joined the National Socialist Party and wanted to vote for the No Jew Left Behind bill.
I have no idea what the intricacies of zoning committees in lower Manhattan. In most cities,public opinion certain does play a role in granting building rights in various situations. Most of these cases involve liquor license renewals for an establishment with a history of noise complaints and police activity. I’ve seen the citizens of a neighborhood reject architectural plans that block their view,or disrupt the flow of a park or roadway. The zoning committee members, typically made up of the elected Aldermen and elected attorneys,take into account public statements made by the neighbors, lawyers,and developers during the hearing.
Through this route,I could see the subversion of equality through electing extremist local officials that govern your neighborhoods,coordinating with an extremist mayor and state governor. This would still have to make it through any legal challenges at each point,involving court hearings,city and state resources: your tax dollars at work…
But in an election season all that practical and legal dust never mars the sheen of a popular message. And the mosque in Manhattan,NY,USA certainly fits the bill nicely for most anti-Muslim sentiments. Why not tell your base that you’ll put a stop to this outrage. You’ll prevent the disgrace of 9/11 by Muslimterrorists [sic]. You are the sole arbiter of the scared and fading American Tradition. Sure they’ll buy it: there is plenty of fear and hate and strength in times of war. And we are most definitely at war…
So is there a line between right and wrong in this debate? I believe there is,and that line is drawn across what we really mean when we carelessly wave flags and proclaim Freedom Ain’t Free on our windows,bumpers and baseball caps. Whether you like it or not,the freedom of religion extends to the farthest reaches of tolerance,and Islam is far from that edge.
There is an easy turn ahead towards the path of losing that Freedom we purchased over these handful of centuries in blood on our own soil,occasionally from our own hands,from our own mistakes. That path is when we start demanding that government protect us from being offended,electing officials who happily trade race and religion for the ease of popularity in a singular message. When we turn away from tolerance towards fellow American citizens and label the easy path as the common sense conservatism hiding inequality and injustice. There are many people who you will not like in this country, who will not believe in your God,who will not agree with your politics or foreign policy. If we don’t work to understand those differences in our beliefs,we will see nothing but a growing stupid consume the average politician and American voter. We will sacrifice that delicate Freedom with a cheap imitation of Patriotism who waves the flag and adheres to populism in spite of equality and justice.
* Pamela “For every rocket fired,drop a MOAB [on Palestine]” Geller may or may not be a Lambs fan: she cannot decide which parts are irony and which are hypocrisy.