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What You Can Do About The “Ground Zero” Mosque

I’ve written this post several times now and deleted it. The manufactured Ground Zero Mosque controversy is not worth talking about, in so many ways. Like Manish, I figure that ultimately “nobody is repealing the 14th Amendment, Muslim-bashing will simmer down after midterms and so on. This is just politics as bread and circuses. Anything to turn the crazybase out and avoid talking tax cuts for the rich.”

Law-abiding Muslims and browns in turbans are vilified in the process, justice is shattered once again, Harry Reid still hasn’t found a spine and the dissonance hurts ears and brains alike, but Fear & Loathing is an ancient Washington game. And fools rush in … Fool me once, shame on ” shame on you. Fool me … you get the picture.

A new episode of Rescue Me airs tonight. For those of you don’t watch the show, here’s a quick rundown: Denis Leary plays a New York City firefighter whose alcohol-drenched and dysfunctional family life is thrown into a serious tailspin in the years following 9/11. There’s life and then there’s trauma. You get over both, if you’re lucky. Two weeks ago, the show introduced a firefighter from another house; Pat Mahoney is dying of cancer he came down with after working in the rubble of the World Trade Center in the months following the attack. The character Mahoney is symbolic of many firefighters, police officers and relief workers who have developed blood cell cancer from inhaling benzene and other toxic chemicals during the search and cleanup.

Ground Zero is hallowed ground. I know, I was there. In 2007, long after the last piece of rubble was taken away, D and I stood at the corner of Washington and Liberty Streets in Manhattan’s financial district and stared into the crater, past the hole. I thought my heart could shatter no further after Kuwait, 9/11/2001 and The Storm, and yet whatever remained was shredded.

Can you look at a picture or hear or watch footage from that day without fighting the urge to lose it, tear your clothes and run screaming into the wilderness? Not I.

But it shouldn’t turn us into animals, into barbarians. Barbarians who tout our nation’s freedom of religion on one hand and, on the other, deny it to a group of Americans who want to build a religious and community center in a former Burlington Coat Factory building three blocks away. Savages who blessed the launch and nourishment of two disastrous wars using 9/11 as a launchpad. And the worst, most hideous act of all: referring to Ground Zero as hallowed ground and then turning around to deny vital monetary aid to 9/11 first responders under the pretext that it “creates a massive new entitlement program, exposes taxpayers to increased litigation, and is ‘paid for’ with tax increases and potential job losses.”

If anyone should have their citizenships revoked, it should be these asshole politicians we put in power, who would rather play with the lives of real American heroes and their families, only prolonging the greatest mass murder in American history for their own gain and not helping heal it. Furthermore, instead of loudly bringing up these inconsistencies and injustices, We The People more often tuck our tails and watch the moral-relativist ball tossed back and forth between two parties who purport to work for America. Barbarians and animals.

Would you like to keep Ground Zero truly Hallowed instead of using just the word over and over again until it loses its meaning? Want to put that America F**k Yeah sentiment to good use beyond linking to a favored opinion on your Facebook wall? Here’s what you do:

– Donate money at any time to the Fire Fighter Cancer Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 2830, Wilmington, DE  19805

– Team up with your local fire station for the Save Our 9/11 Survivors program, to “help raise funds to provide 500 air purification units that will help ailing responders breathe clean air, avoid secondary infections, and suffer less. Please organize fund raising activities to help your brother & sister responders and send donations by 9-11-2011 (10th anniversary).”

– Stop watching the greedy hate fomented in cable news and reading that which raises anger and self-righteousness as well as your inactivity. Your patriotic bravado followed by no positive action does nothing for the people who are living and dying the real fallout of 9/11.

– Write your congresspeople and political action committees and ask them what the hell they are doing anyway. Soaking in their pre-packaged tea or beer or whatever it is today is what they want you to do. Get away from it. Break truly free.

– And stop fearing. Fear is the mind killer. Think. Be decent. Be American. It’s about time.

4 comments… add one
  • Pistolette August 17, 2010, 11:30 PM

    Excellent post. I’ve mostly shut out listening to the tv news on this one, as it’s mostly repetitive hate-mongering.

    That said, I’ve made no secret of my distaste for Islam (or any religion for that matter), but from a libertarian perspective, I think denying these folks their right to operate anywhere they choose (and can pay for) is not in the spirit this nation was founded upon. Unless they can prove criminal or terrorist ties to this group, they should let them build their mosque.

    But also, you can’t completely discredit the fear coming from the conservatives and many centrists. Islam carries a lot of sociopolitical baggage along with its theology. From a defense angle, the US gov’t can’t simply ignore seemingly innocent behaviors anymore, such as opening a church, when its been proven all over Europe and Asia that they ARE used (quite regularly) to shelter terrorist activities and promote extremism. So the fear is understandable, but the reaction is very unAmerican.

    Anyway, Cathy Young wrote a good article that sums up a more rational perspective on this issue: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2010/08/05/the_mosque_controversy__religious_freedom_106634.html

  • Maitri August 18, 2010, 8:29 AM

    Cathy Young’s article underscores a very important point: That symbolism and sensitivities are the currency in which we now deal and not doing something that truly matters. Screw that, if America wants that day and ground to mean something, we will get off our butts to keep religious freedom alive and simultaneously not withhold vital aid for people actually physically suffering from 9/11.

    The problem is precedent: The moment you bar the building of this Muslim community center, it opens doors for the rejection of others. Catholic churches and synagogues yesterday, mosques today, what tomorrow? We’ve got to get away from this business of vilifying whole cultural segments of society under the pretext of “sustaining America.” Another immediate side effect is the conflation of everything non-Christian as Other and, in some cases, Terrorist. A Hindu temple being proposed in this area is looked on by non-Hindu folks here with the same distrust they have for Muslims. Don’t forget also that Sikhs have been the biggest target of anti-Muslim violence.

    And the reaction is very un-American. I can’t believe that some would stoop so low as to ask in retort whether Saudi Arabia would allow the construction of churches. Have those who hold up our Constitution as the world’s guiding light forgotten that Saudi Arabia is a Muslim monarchy? We compare ourselves with the oh-so-enlightened Saudis now? Really?! Is this what we have come to, even if it’s a ploy to get the numbskulls to come out and vote in the midterms?

    Check out these photos. They offer some much-needed perspective to those who haven’t visited the former WTC site.

  • liprap August 18, 2010, 1:44 PM

    Also, if you hound this thing out of town, you create what NYC had not so long ago towards my people, except “restricted” will now pertain to Muslims. That’s not a good way for one of the world’s most international cities to be.

  • ALM August 19, 2010, 12:08 PM

    Great post. I’m so tired of Christians seeming to think that the concept of freedom of religion applies only to their religion and what makes them comfortable. And I say that as someone who considers myself a Christian. (Just not one of the nut-job, Old Testament-quoting, hate-mongering “Christians.”)

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