I am dismayed to learn that Pres. Obama's stance (echoing those of the NYC Zoning Board and Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg) favoring the construction of a mosque near (note--not AT) Ground Zero may be endangering both his and the Democratic Party's immediate futures. The group desiring to build the mosque already owns the land, and has been quietly worshiping there for several years. Moreover, closer to the site of the impact, there have opened discount shlock stores, porn and erotic lingerie shops, bars and several strip clubs...without objection. Have we fallen so far morally that we believe quiet prayer is a less worthy neighbor of hallowed ground than are lap and pole dances, crotchless panty sets and half-price Long Island Iced Teas?
Yes, the 9/11 perpetrators were Muslims. So what? So were many of those who died in the Towers--office, custodial and food service workers. I lost friends and nearly lost relatives there. Yes, reportedly "a majority" of this country opposes the mosque's construction. Well, back in the early 1960s a majority of white Americans favored de jure racial segregation in the South, opposed the Civil Rights Act and Miranda decision. and saw nothing wrong with de facto segregation in the North. In the first half of the last century, a majority of white (and black) Christian Americans had no objections to allowing religiously restrictive covenants in housing and bigotry-friendly quotas in higher education to stand. What should happen when the majority is just plain WRONG, when their choice is utterly antithetical to the principles of equality and freedoms of speech and religion on which this nation were founded? I'll tell you: when the majority is bigoted, fearful, ignorant (e.g., refusing to educate themselves independently but instead hanging on every word of right-wing media demagogues) and WRONG, our leaders owe it to us as a nation--and to the principles on which America was founded--to be courageous and side with the Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights. (And of course, to READ the darned thing, not just parrot "states' rights" codespeak blather. Just as the hated are entitled to a competent defense in a court of law, so are the religiously despised.
I hear that a majority also favor the abolition or modification of the 14th Amendment to end so-called "birthright citizenship." Repealing it would make it lawful and possible to declare any scapegpat ethnic group du jour unfit to be citizens.
Don't get me wrong: I abhor extremist Islam, just as I do extremist forms of Christianity, Judaism, and Zionism. But if we allow bigots and those frightened into a frenzy by the bigots who are their only information sources to call the shots, we are no longer the America that our founders envisioned. That sound you hear underground? Jefferson, Penn and Roger Williams not merely spinning in their graves....but throwing up as well.
We get the America we deserve. I should hope we deserve better than paranoia and gut bigotry. I love America--but at this moment I do not love a majority of my fellow Americans should they side with racists and Judeao-Christian religious zealots and bigots. In fact, though I love my country I may soon be ashamed of my countrymen. When I wrote my song "Canadian for a Day" back in 2003, I was gently joking, albeit respectful, in my admiration of Canadians. But these days, I may be forced to admit that they really ARE more evolved than we are. If this loses me friends and fans, so be it.
By all estimates, Democratic legislative majorities are about to end, and we may get a GOP President in 2012. I see no upside to this.......except four years of juicy political satire material.