What a bunch of lowest-common-denominator-cable media-milking knee-jerk racist bigots have tried their shameless ignorance-exploiting best to dominate the last few weeks whatever lingers of a "public discourse" in this already intellectually-deprived country, or: In the absence of anything positive to offer, Republicans try to find a wedge issue and milk it, as usual. No surprise, Newt Gingrich is apparently one of those "intellectual" bigots. Sara Palin is quite obviously a bigot. Between the two of them, not a shred of self-earned moral conscience hinders their shameless, opportunist, unintending self-parody/hoof-in-mouth routine. Despicable behavior from pathetic human beings, deserving of far more serious condemnation than the advertising pimp-owned pussy media is currently much capable.
...for the last nine years, at least, people have been trying to block the construction of mosques all over the country.
Now, let's be clear, the subject of the highest profile Muslim structure, 51 Park in New York City, will have a basketball court and a culinary school. Two floors will have a prayer room. The other eleven will host movie nights, performances, group dinners, etc -- it's basically a Muslim YMCA, open to everyone. These moderate Muslims are doing everything we could ask of them. They're trying to build a bridge in the communities they live in, trying to show the world that Muslims are cool and interesting and diverse, and proving that being a Muslim does not equal being a terrorist.
But they're being thrown under the bus by our elected leaders, egged on by some of the ugliest elements of the right-wing. Well-intentioned leaders of the Democratic Party are getting caught up in the fray as well, some of them seeking to find common ground with an implacable opposition. It's not helping.
This isn't just a Manhattan problem. Right now, there is opposition to mosques in Staten Island, Brooklyn, Southern California, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Illinois, and dozens of other locations across our nation. Where would they move? If public pressure can be brought to bear to take down the most high-profile Muslim community center in liberal NYC, then these other places don't even have a chance, Ground Zero connection or not.
Frankly, this isn't about Ground Zero. This is about America. This is about freedom. This is about people and there seems to be no place that Muslim people can go without being harassed.
The harassment has to stop, and that starts with you and me.
I think most people agree that Muslims have the right to worship. But these efforts to harass Muslims are based in fear, prejudice, and ignorance. Removing a community center doesn't solve these problems. But talking about religious freedom -- really engaging people -- can open people's minds, and blunt the prejudice.
I pledge to do it myself.
-excerpted from a letter by Arshad Hasan
NB. And Howard Dean, while not necessarily always a bad thing in the world, remains (I say as a fellow Vermonter) just another opportunist, politically-ambitious coward. In other words, he read a poll, smelled an opportunity, tried to be make a savvy move and appear "centrist" and ended up back-peddling frantically from the position of bigot. Too late trying to be Bill Clinton, bub. As he peddles, he makes some otherwise valid-sounding points. Points Keith in particular would do well to mind, needless to say. Or not.