For the past few days I have been intending to do a big post about the proposed “Ground Zero Mosque,” in which I would gather up and comment on what various other people had said. Alas, I have not had time for that. So let me instead just do a quick post.
I have no problem whatsoever with the proposed cultural center (it’s not a mosque for heaven’s sake, though it would not change my opinion if it was). They have an absolute right to build it, and if they decide to exercise that right it will be a complete non-story as far as I am concerned. Of course, as an anti-religion kind of guy I do not especially like it when any building is used for a religious purpose, but that is neither here nor there. Frankly, as a rebuke to all the hateful rhetoric I have been hearing on the news channels recently, I’m at the point of hoping they built it thirty stories tall.
The notion that somehow there is a radius around Ground Zero that is now a Muslim-free zone is obscene and bigoted. This isn’t even an issue of freedom of religion. It’s about being innocent until proven guilty. There have been attempts by the right to demonize the fellow behind the project, but as far as I can tell it is all just a standard Fox News smear job.
Meanwhile, the standard political story of our time — Republicans are evil, Democrats are cowards, people are clueless — has played out to grim perfection on this issue. There have been a few bright spots. Al Franken proved once more that he’s the best Senator in the body. It took some courage for President Obama to weigh in on the project at all, though he did undo some of the impact by backpeddaling the next day. But those are the exceptions.
You know what? Now that I think about it I hope they build it fifty stories tall.
For a characteristically intelligent take on this, consult Keith Olberman’s Special Comment.