Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Current Events Blogging. . .

Okay, so all my blogging has to do with current events, but here are a few things that have been bugging me over the past few days.

The Cordoba Mosque - For the past several weeks, conservatives from around the country, including Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin, have created an uproar over the fact that a Muslim group wants to build a community center (which will include a mosque) a couple of blocks from Ground Zero.  Worst of all, the ADL and the Museum of Tolerance have joined in the spectacle.

I find the whole thing utterly distasteful, and quite frankly, Unamerican.  A quick history lesson - 9 of the 13 colonies were founded as a result of religious prosecution in Europe (the rest were founded to make money, but that's for another day).  And indeed, until the 20th Century, the most common reason for immigrants to come to the U.S. was religious persecution.  As a result, the Framers of the Constitution invoked the Rhode Island rule about separating Church and State, because that was the best way to protect religious minorities.  And yet, here we are, attacking religious minorities.

Yes, we were attacked on 9-11 by Muslim extremists, but look at what they attacked - the World Trade Center (a symbol of American economic dominance) and the Pentagon (the center of American military might).  They didn't attack a church, or a synagogue, or whatnot.  You know why?  Because is a nation that separates Church and State.  There is no church or synagogue that could be attacked in this country that would have the same kind of emotional punch as attacking either of these buildings.

What's more, we forget that Muslims were also victims of the 9-11 attacks.  Indeed the reason why the Cordoba Mosque people want to build the mosque in Lower Manhattan is because there's a substantial Muslim community living there.  Of course, to people like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, Muslims are not "Real Americans" and so they don't deserve any rights.  And yet, they call Obama a fascist.  Lovely.

Lastly, the ADL and the Museum of Tolerance really, really look bad here.  First, the Museum of Tolerance is actually building on hallowed ground - its tearing up a Muslim cemetery (and moving bodies) to build a house in Israel.  To then complain about the Cordoba Mosque is the height of hypocrisy.   The ADL, although a Jewish organization, used to fight for everyone's civil rights.  Not anymore.

Gibbs' Bitch Session

This just came out today, I guess, but its been brewing for a long time.  For the past two years, the Liberal grassroots have been asking questions like - isn't the stimulus too small?  why aren't you pushing for a public option?  what's your plan for Afghanistan? when are you going to close Guantamo Bay? why are you leaving Health Care Reform in the hands of Max Baucus? - and every time, the Administration says, essentially, trust us.  Here's the thing - we have been largely right, and the Administration has been wrong.  So, we keep asking the same questions, and we're getting a bit antsy.  In the meantime, the Obama Administration has been largely clueless and rudderless.  Where is Obama's statement regarding the Cordoba Mosque?  Where is the powerful argument for a new round of stimulus?  Where is the communications discipline we saw during the campaign?  Instead of bitching about the Left, Gibbs and the boys should figure out what they're doing wrong on the communications side and fix it.  Because.  That's.  His.  Fucking.  Job. 


Ugh.  Its a total fucking mess over there.  The Taliban are they're typical douche nozzle selves, but the Afghani people have determined that the only thing worse than the Taliban is Hamid Karzai, and we're kinda stuck.  So, allow me to kindly make a suggestion - the CIA should create, or empower an insurgent group that aren't total Taliban douche bags, drug runners, or warlords.  There has to be some one in Afghanistan that fits the bill.  Surreptitiously provide money and arms to this non-douche bag insurgent group, have them "kick our ass" and "force us out" of various areas of Afghanistan, hold peace talks with the group, declare them to be non-douche bags, and get the fuck out of Afghanistan.  Of course, this assumes that the CIA is capable of pulling this off without completely fucking it up. 


  1. Jim - It doesn't seem like there is any room for nuance on this issue. First of all clearly the builders have the right to build the mosque and cultural center, and the government should not be able to take that right away based on their religion, that would violate the 1st Amendment. However people also have the constitutional right to protest the building and speak up about their feelings.

    Personally, I think it is insensitive and counter productive of the Imam and the founders of the Mosque to build it right next the site where Al Qaeda, a radical Islamic group, killed 2700 people, people of all backgrounds and faiths, including Muslims (btw Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups kill far more Muslims than they kill any other group). If I was a Muslim, I wouldnt want a religious building built there either...and in fact many Muslims have come out and said they believe it is insensitive and they are against building the Mosque next to ground zero. ( and yes, its right next to Ground Zero, anyone making the argument this isnt close to ground zero or is "2 whole blocks" is being incredibly naive or willfully blind, 2 city blocks in new york is nothing...google map park pl and church in manhattan and you'll see)

    With that said, I am totally against and do not share a lot of the venomous and prejudiced views of many of the opponents of the Mosque. Most of the politicians speaking out against it (like Palin, Gingrich) are being politically opportunistic and have said nothing productive, or insightful on the issue. It is sad to see that many people blame all Muslims for what happened on September 11. Clearly you can not blame a "religion" or a "people" for the acts of extremists. I stand up against anyone who speaks hatefully against Muslims as a whole and who wants to discriminate against them based on stereotypes.

    However, there are people who oppose the Mosque/Religious center being build next to ground zero who do not stereotype or hate Muslims; that is what your post is missing.

    If the Imam is serious about building bridges and promoting dialogue between cultures, then I believe this is the wrong way to go about it. To many of the victims of the September 11 attacks, this is a way of rubbing salt in the wounds and it appears to them to be a provocative move. Not to mention, the scheduled opening of the center? September 11, 2011. The 10 year anniversary of the attacks.

    Sensitivity, cultural understanding, tolerance, is a two way street between all peoples. I don't think this shows any sensitivity to the victims of the attacks, regardless of the victims background (and trust me the pain of the victims families and the people in NY is still very raw). I want to believe that the Imam has the best intentions and that he is truly trying to help promote understanding of Islam and show that Muslim-Americans are part of the American social fabric and just as American as anyone else - but I think that building a religious center with a political undertone (even if its a positive intentioned one ) next to the site of one of America's deepest wounds is insensitive, counter productive to his own stated goals, and dare I say un-American. As an American, he should know better.

    By the way, I would be supportive of the center if there is a clear overt effort (for example a wing or a floor of the center, or even the entire center) that is dedicated to denouncing fundamentalism in Islam and denouncing the Islamic fundamental groups who perpetrated 911, and stating that Muslims the world over are responsible for shunning those extremists - however, the Imam hasn't made any indication that he intends to do so, other than saying there will be a 911 memorial in the center. In fact he has made equivocating statements about terrorism, for example saying that the US was an accessory to the crime.

  2. Dan, those are all legit points. From my somewhat puritan legalistic view, freedom of religion is sacrosanct. However, we do have the right to bitch and moan about it, and I'm good with that.