Archive for the ‘New York’ Category

The Mosque in the Room

In Elections, New York, Opinion - theirs and mine on August 21, 2010 at 5:04 pm

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. ” ~Dalai Lama

Every election there’s the inevitable Thing – from here on known as The Thing. It’s The Thing that drums up controversy but has nothing to do with what is actually going on in the real world. It gives something a little more exciting and enticing for voters to talk about: This Thing that can either make or break an election to an unwitting candidate. Could you imagine being Kendrik Meek in Florida and being forced to comment on something that is located a thousand miles away nowhere near the Gulf of Mexico where you have actual problems? But alas not, this Mosque and positions on it will be the cross to bear of politicians this year. Well, the Mosque and jobs but unemployment figures don’t pack quite the wallop as “Did you hear that they’re building a Mosque ON Ground Zero?”

You can read anywhere that the Mosque isn’t physically on Ground Zero. It is near Ground Zero and requires walking and perhaps a stop at Duane Reade on the way there. But who cares about those minor details. The Mosque is not being built because the ‘terrorists will win’ it’s being built because there was probably space. I dunno, cheap space, perhaps? It is Manhattan after all. And they figured why the hell not? I truly do not know. What I am very well aware of is how this Mosque that is NEAR and not DIRECTLY ON TOP OF Ground Zero is taking away from the real situation at hand. It’s a diversion of sorts where the magician wants us to focus on his right hand as he pulls a bunny out of hat with his left.

This midterm seems not more volatile but more out there and in yo’ face than any other midterm I have experienced and there are still 77 days to go! Midterms are usually quite boring unless you a) are in politics for a living or b) there is a brand new President and this midterm is the bellwether for his entire presidency. Or something. But that is an entirely different post. What happens to be driving me crazy right now is not just general discussion about Mosque and the debate on the Mosque from the right (They aren’t real Americans and people who agree with having a Mosque ON Ground Zero aren’t patriots) and the left (Well, everyone has their freedom of religion and they should be able to worship where they’d like) and the Tea Party (Well, I mean, yeah that whole defend the constitution thing but do we still want to defend the constitution when Muslims are allowed to practice the First Amendment? Have we decided on that one yet, guys?) It’s just that it seems so very constant. So! Instead of discussing a real solution to the unemployment problem, whether or not a July 2011 is actually feasible to be out of Afghanistan, what USDOE would like to do to public education or did I mention the 9.5% unemployment? Instead of discussing all of these very real issues we keep talking about the Mosque that realistically will not directly affect 97% of us. Because quite frankly the former aren’t all that sexy but a Mosque? HOOO BOY! Pass me a fan.

I have received several emails about the Mosque and my feelings on it and whether or not I wanted to debate the merits of “Having Hamas right next to Ground Zero” and I have to politely decline. To me it’s just The Thing. It had to happen soon enough and if we’re lucky we might get another Thing in the next 70 plus days but right now just watch and listen and politely turn the conversation back to jobs, jobs and more jobs.

Mosque related reading if you are so inclined (or bored):

Ted Olson, Former Bush Solicitor General and Husband of 9/11 Victim, Backs Obama on ‘Ground Zero Mosque’

Pelosi’s Preposterous Pontificating On the Ground Zero Mosque

Gibbs: Mosque by Ground Zero a Local Matter