No. He's wrong. Allowing an Islamic Center to be built in a building actually damaged by the attack, bearing the name of a conquered Spanish city where the church was razed to build a mosque, sends the powerful message to the extremists AND THOSE WHO FOLLOW THE "STRONG HORSE" that they have won. They don't think in our parameters - the word "tolerance" doesn't even register. They don't care about the personality of New York. They do not define America the way we do. They think in terms of honor and shame, of victory and defeat. This will not only wound the families of the victims, it will ensure more future American victims.
And you are framing all of Islam as terrorists. Shame on you.
It's not giving the extremists anything. It's saying "freedom matters enough to us that we will not let fear oppress you." His argument is that Muslims should fear worshiping there. That's equally wrong.
And if it's NOT built there, extremists are just going to point to that as proof of how much America hates Islam. We can't cater to how extremists will read it, because they will skew it to their POV in any case.
That's one of the hallmarks of extremists, based on personal experience: If there are options A and B, option A will point to them being right because of this, and option B will point to them being right because of that.
It's taken a long road getting to here (and I'm not done yet), but I've decided that I'm not going to let people who think I don't have the right to exist -- and those who think that they have the right to make me stop existing -- keep me from living my life.
And a large part of me has to answer: So?
If we are forced to second-guess our every public policy decision based on how it will affect how our enemies will view us, then not only have we allowed them to terrorize us (because what is terror but being too afraid to act for fear of the consequences?), but we will also be ineffective because they will just come up with reasons that we hadn't even considered to call their cause a success.
If you want to twist things so that they fit your definition of "a public policy decision" (in what universe? It's a municipal zoning ruling, and an insensitive, crass one at that; Obama has durably harmed his party's chances in November with his thoughtless statement, which even Harry Reid has disclaimed) you can always justify something that'll make your inbuilt liberal tropes resonate. That was precisely the object. This center is not public policy, it's a provocation. There are two mosques already in the area, one four blocks away, the other one twelve blocks away. It is neither necessary nor, until now, requested by any local Muslims (who are essentially 250 blocks away, where there are several mosques including the large 96th St mosque.) Rolling over and playing dead is the way to yield to terror, not refusing to let the other side steamroll you over the area of confrontation.
If the only possible reason that I could be all right with the center's being built there is me regurgitating 'liberal tropes', then what does that necessarily mean about you, then? I like to think that I'm capable of being an adult and making my own decisions regarding things, but if you're not capable of accepting that, I'll feel free to take my time and words elsewhere.
Honestly, I don't care what Obama did or didn't say about it -- I'm not a big fan of the president. And that's neither here nor there.
Two other mosques nearby? In a commercial district. So there can't possibly be need for another. Well, I work in a downtown commercial/governmental district, and I drive past a good half-dozen churches on my way to work. All of which are of different Christian denominations. Islam has multiple denominations too. Parking sucks, btw, so I'd imagine most people use public transit, or park once and leave their vehicle there. Which means? You leave the office for lunch, you're walking. A mosque twelve blocks away is too far to easily get to if you want to pray there during your midday. A couple blocks is better.
And sorry if I didn't use precise perfect legalese for whatever exactly a zoning ruling is (In my universe, public means...public! Like the government! And a policy decision is..a decision, on a policy, you know, like a ruling on zoning rules. But maybe I'm wrong, eh?). And 'insensitive and crass?' I'm sorry, but I must disagree. Unless there is something regarding those zoning rules that would otherwise forbid the building of a community center in a commercial zone (and if there are, do inform me -- but I haven't heard anyone mention any yet), forbidding its construction only due to the Islamic nature of it is entirely unconstitutional. Baldly so.
This center is not public policy, it's a provocation.
"Provocation" is what I repeatedly hear from homophobes whenever two gay people express any sort of affection in a space they're uncomfortable with. In other words, when you don't like it, it's politicized, and when you really don't like it, that means they're just trying to piss you off.
Frankly, if there are two mosques in the area - which I've known about for some time - then three mosques shouldn't be an issue.
As far as the steamrolling, this whole issue arose because conservatives said, "OMG, LOOK! MUSLIMS!" in an attempt to distract from their shameful handling of the 9/11 relief fundings. And then it became an issue when there was none because conservatives kept shrieking about it.
So your argument here is basically, "We shouldn't roll over and play dead to an argument that we ourselves blew into a huge issue, or we're caving. We must FIGHT for our artificially-induced trauma, or they will WIN!"
Nice logic, but I don't buy it. Frankly, I'm far more likely to say we shouldn't be steamrolled by hair-trigger conservatives raising arguments.
... I love your brain ... :D
2010-08-20 09:19 pm (UTC)
So let me understand correctly: You're saying that we should disallow a private party from developing private property in a particular way, because we believe that foreign extremists might consider doing so to be a victory? How is that not a decision based on public policy?
Manhattan real estate development rules are notoriously labyrinthine, but I'm fairly confident that they don't differentiate as between different religions. So unless you're suggesting that a church or synagogue (or Buddhist temple or or or) would be equally offensive there, you're saying that we should ignore the usual rules in order to forbid a particular development, because someone we dislike might take it to mean anything less forceful than a big "fuck you" from us to them.
Just what about this strikes you as a good idea?
They do not define America the way we do. So then should we define America to the whims of anyone who points a gun at us? Should we abandon the tenets of freedom of religion and freedom of speech just because OMG THEY'RE MEAN PEOPLE?
Your way is cowardice. Your way is, essentially, saying, "If they're not going to play nice, we shouldn't either!" Which is the same crappy thought process used to justify American torture.
I've got news for you: being the good guy is not always easy. If you think it is, you radically misunderstand what it means to be the good guy. Will the message be understood by the terrorists? Probably not - but if your thinking is that everything Americans do should be completely fathomed by terrorists, then you have lost.
Meanwhile, our message is clear: we allow others to speak, even when it's offensive. And if we can't practice what we preach, then why in God's name would a terrorist or ANYONE ever bother to do so?
Way to live up to the lowest common denominator. Personally, I'm not afraid. More attacks will come no matter what we do.