America Has Lost Its Mind, II

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Obama Administration

Yesterday I learned that the U.S. Senate race in Missouri between Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Robin Carnahan is now being waged over — wait for it — the so-called “ground zero mosque.”

Missouri’s candidates for U.S. Senate clashed Thursday over a proposed Islamic community center near ground zero in New York City, an issue that has dominated the national political debate in recent days.

Republican Roy Blunt said the center — which includes a mosque — should be nowhere near the “battleground” where Islamic terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

Democrat Robin Carnahan countered that New Yorkers should decide among themselves on what is essentially a local zoning matter.

Those of you moved to make a donation to the Carnahan campaign may do so through her website.

Meanwhile, I’m reading that construction workers and suppliers from all over the country are vowing not to build the Islamic Center.

The grass-roots movement is gaining momentum on the Internet. One construction worker created the “Hard Hat Pledge” on his blog and asked others to vow not to work on the project if it stays on Park Place.

“Thousands of people are signing up from all over the country,” said creator Andy Sullivan, a construction worker from Brooklyn. “People who sell glass, steel, lumber, insurance. They are all refusing to do work if they build there.”

“Hopefully, this will be a tool to get them to move it,” he said. “I got a problem with this ostentatious building looming over Ground Zero.”

If Mr. Sullivan lives in Brooklyn, I assume he’s been to lower Manhattan once or twice in his life, meaning he should know the Islamic Center will not be “looming over Ground Zero.” For all the visual impact it’s going to have on Ground Zero it might as well be built in Missouri.

And let me also point out that since there are no architectural drawings yet, we have no way to know how “ostentatious” the center will be. All we know is that the building will be modeled conceptually on the 92nd Street Y, a familiar New York institution that began as a YMHA — Young Men’s Hebrew Association. And I wouldn’t call the 92nd Street Y building “ostentatious.” One suspects Mr. Sullivan believes the “ground zero mosque” will be not only be built at “ground zero,” but will literally be a mosque.

Truly, Ignorance got up early and tar-papered the whole neighborhood while Truth was still asleep.

The article quotes one construction worker saying he’s on the fence on the issue, but it’s not hard to imagine that construction workers who really don’t mind the Islamic Center would have to be very courageous to say so, and possibly would have to find a new career.

Meanwhile meanwhile — Charles Krauthammer sinks further and further into duplicitous arguments about rights. But first, let’s review what CK said in his previous column:

America is a free country where you can build whatever you want — but not anywhere. That’s why we have zoning laws. No liquor store near a school, no strip malls where they offend local sensibilities, and, if your house doesn’t meet community architectural codes, you cannot build at all.

He’s arguing that government should stop the building of the center, is he not? But today he says, ‘No one disputes the right to build; the whole debate is about the propriety, the decency of doing so.”

“Rights” are not symbolic abstractions. A right that cannot be exercised is not a right. Krauthammer and others on the Right keep saying they don’t dispute the right to build the Islamic Center on private property, but are saying the Center shouldn’t be built. And, the conservatives say, we have a right to express our opinion. Yes, they do, just as I have a right to call them bigots and ignoramuses.

But if the Right somehow stops the Islamic Center from being built, whether by government, or by a privately organized campaign to deny the builders the ability to build, or by any other means, then they’re saying Rauf et al. don’t have a right to build an Islamic Center on private property. A right that cannot be exercised is not a right.

An analogy — this is like saying yes, you have a right to express your opinion, and we have a right to stick a gag in your mouth to shut you up if we disagree.

Now, on to the claim just because we think all Muslims are the same doesn’t make us bigots. You either understand that Muslims are not all associated with jihadists, or you don’t. Krauthammer writes,

Radical Islam is not, by any means, a majority of Islam. But with its financiers, clerics, propagandists, trainers, leaders, operatives and sympathizers — according to a conservative estimate, it commands the allegiance of 7 percent of Muslims, i.e., more than 80 million souls — it is a very powerful strain within Islam. It has changed the course of nations and affected the lives of millions. It is the reason every airport in the West is an armed camp and every land is on constant alert.

Ground Zero is the site of the most lethal attack of that worldwide movement, which consists entirely of Muslims, acts in the name of Islam and is deeply embedded within the Islamic world. These are regrettable facts, but facts they are. And that is why putting up a monument to Islam in this place is not just insensitive but provocative.

So, because a whole bleeping 7 percent of Muslims are jihadists, the other 93 percent of Muslims are guilty, too?

Greg Sargent:

Here’s the thing: If you believe that it is “provocative” to put a center devoted to the study of all of Islam near the site of the attacks, then you are inescapably legitimizing the idea that all of Islam is somehow responsible for, or should be vaguely associated with, those attacks. If you don’t believe that — if you believe that the attacks were carried out by a group that perverted Islam and wasn’t genuinely acting on its behalf — then you wouldn’t have any reason to see the building of a project nearby devoted to studying Islam as “provocative.”

Claiming that the attacks were carried out “in the name” of Islam is a transparent way to dodge that simple truth. It’s a way for Krauthammer to make an argument premised inescapably on the idea that all of Islam should be somehow conflated with the attacks while claiming he isn’t doing that at all.

It’s generally the case that bigots can’t see their own bigotry. The minute you recognize your bigotry as bigotry, you begin the process of letting go of bigotry. Die-hard bigots, on the other hand, believe their opinions are simple facts and think people who disagree with them are nuts or naive. So the bigots will continue to deny they are bigots and take offense at being called bigots — but they’re still bigots.

See also: Mosque debate: New Yorkers take dim view of rabble-rousing outsiders

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15 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Kathleen  •  Aug 20, 2010 @2:03 pm

    Truly, Ignorance got up early and tar-papered the whole neighborhood while Truth was still asleep.

    Priceless!! I love it when someone else puts into words exactly how I feel and that hit a big spot. All the ‘mosque’ issue has been is an education for the moderates who never get involved…how could any intelligent person not see the bigotry in all this, how can anyone stay moderate?

    Any group who holds Sarah Palin up as the woman’s role model of the century has more than a few screws loose. I hope that now people will see how easy it is to be fooled if one is not properly educated…this issue could bring back the study of our constituion and civics in our public schools.

    That wonderful quote also explains to me how David Vitter, because he has ‘name recognition’ down here, is a supposed ‘shoe-in’ for reelection. It seems that how he got ‘the recognition’ means nothing . The local news has him beating Melancon because he has done so much for Louisiana…..maybe he did, who knows, but his name is recognizable due to the Washington Madam scandal.

    It is so hard to believe that I am living in the middle of ‘the bible belt’.. Kathleen

  2. c u n d gulag  •  Aug 20, 2010 @2:09 pm

    Outside of Bloomberg, very few ‘profiles in courage’ on the left have spoken out on the right to build this center.
    On the conservative side, the ‘adults’ are silent. “Profiles in outrage,’ rule.
    I never thought I’d ever say this, but, where the Hell is George W. Bush on this issue? His Daddy?
    The only thing Bush did right in his disasterous presidency, was to not vilify people of the Islamic faith, wholesale, after 9/11. Outside of his “crusade” remark, he kept the cap on this anti-Muslim genii’s bottle.

    The very least Democrat’s can to do is say what Al Franken said, “They (Republicans) do this every two years. They try to find a wedge issue, and they try to work it.” Then list their efforts over the last 20+ years. Some of them died out quickly; some not so quickly.
    Don’t they realize that the furor they’re fanning, simply to create a wedge issue in an election year, will not die out after November? This will have long term consequences. LONG TERM. Within the country, and without.
    Edmund Burke said, “‘The only thing necessary for the triumph [of evil] is for good men to do nothing.” Instead, too many are ramping up and accelerating towards what is, not only un-American, but truly evil.
    ‘Nothing’ would be an improvement over what we have now…

  3. buckyblue  •  Aug 20, 2010 @2:15 pm

    I can see many construction workers refusing to work on the Community Center, forcing the developers to hire ‘outside’ workers, made up of either illegal workers from Mexico, or possibly Muslims from the Middle East, one of which may be a jihadist-terrorists. So, by opposing the Community Center, they have actually put America more at risk for a terrorist attack.

  4. goatherd  •  Aug 20, 2010 @2:20 pm

    I find the “it’s too close”, “stab in the heart” and “make people feel bad” opposition curiously close to what the Right usually maligns as “political correctness”. They simultaneously exhibit unabated bigotry against muslims. You’ve got to hand it to them, I’d have thought that very few non-schizophrenics could acheive this level of hipocrisy. They never cease to amaze me. I wish they could amuse me from a safe distance like the Bizarro World. They would fit right in.

    This story could never have achieved such prominence if it didn’t contain so many elements of the right wing narrative. The enemy/other, the traitorous threat from within, the victimization, the trashing of a national symbol, he’s a secret muslim, our Christian nation at risk, they’re taking over our country. I could go on. It’s all bullshit, lies and distraction. The scary part is that is doesn’t seem to matter anymore whether something is true or false, as long as it fits the narrative.

    We’ve just fallen through the rabbit hole and I can’t find my tin foil hat. Well, no matter, it seems there is a fellow here who makes hats.

  5. c u n d gulag  •  Aug 20, 2010 @2:28 pm

    Osama Bin Ladens greatest mistake was in not patenting and taking his “Americans Hate Muslims” game to Parker Brothers.
    There are a lot of people in this country playing the unauthorized version.

    Congratulations, consevatives, you’ve proven Osama right. But in this game, only he wins.

  6. uncledad  •  Aug 20, 2010 @4:00 pm

    The very least Democrat’s can to do is say what Al Franken said, “They (Republicans) do this every two years. They try to find a wedge issue, and they try to work it.”

    Well that is all this is, the whole controversy was made up just in time for the August recess (when the blathering morons on cable news have nothing to talk about). Then the icing on the cake: lets release two polls that show 18-20 percent of Americans believe Obama is a Muslim, does anyone think that the medias obsession with both topics are by accident? My opinion is that no mosques, churches, synagogues or any god dam building that provides space to worship the sky wizard should be built anywhere in this country, period! This whole incident solidifies my opinion that religion is nothing more than cultish crowd control, used by “leaders” to exploit hate and perpetuate fear, one no better than another.

  7. Lynne  •  Aug 20, 2010 @4:13 pm

    Someone on radio this morning mentioned that it was August congressional recess time, so media are reaching for the most outrageous subject matter they can find to compensate. Could be something to that. America does appear to have lost its collective mind.

  8. erinyes  •  Aug 20, 2010 @4:18 pm

    “America has lost its mind”
    The coup de grace was on 9/11, the mind was fading for a generation before.
    Funny thing how we have “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, when we hate Muslims; funny how we just had a mega-billion dollar arms deal with the Saudis who are evil and did 9/11, and who hold so much financial interest in the U.S. that the economy would darned near collapse if they pulled out their loot,. funny how the U.S. and NATO bombed the fuck out of Belgrade for over 20 days to save Bosnian Muslim Serbs,funny how we gave the “Mujahadeen” stinger missiles, then later aligned ourselves with the Northern Alliance communist war lords to fight the “Mujahadeen / Pashtu/ Taliban,funny how the anti terror campaign is secretly doing dirty deeds in the Horn Of Africa, the former Soviet Central Asian Republics, and North Africa, funnier still is that “we’re” protecting Afghan women from the Taliban, when all Muslims are evil; spending BILLIONS a month to do so.
    There is no doubt that a number of Muslims hate America, and want to kill Americans, but America has been very good at killing Muslims, mobilizing great numbers of Americans at considerable cost to do so. This effort is killing us financially and morally. That “group” who wants us to do this is very good at creating new realities and bending minds to their way of thinking; there are FOX NEWS “ALERTS” 24/7, 365; and most of America watches FOX.
    We’ve been neo-conned, and that’s the way it is.
    The country is run by madmen at the Pentagon, and that ain’t gonna change.

  9. uncledad  •  Aug 20, 2010 @4:34 pm

    “Hopefully, this will be a tool to get them to move it,” he said. “I got a problem with this ostentatious building looming over Ground Zero.”

    A construction refusing to build a mosque, what’s next Doctors refusing to treat Muslim patients, what a bunch of fools. I don’t see any point in arguing this topic any further, religious bigotry cannot be reasoned with, no point in even trying. Frankly I am surprised that a site of the caliber of the mahablog has devoted so much space and time to this issue. I understand that you live in the area but your beating a dead horse. Your first post and every post since on this topic have pointed out the insanity of the argument against the mosque. But when peoples ignorance is based in religion there just aint no reasoning with them, so the whole discussion becomes pointless. The examples of people saying and doing stupid things in relation to this issue are endless, and there will be new examples everyday.

  10. Curmudgeon  •  Aug 20, 2010 @4:38 pm

    I’m smelling astroturf. Divisive hate campaigns of this size don’t just crop up spontaneously. This has the hallmarks of yet another GOP astroturf campaign, just like every other orchestrated hate/wedge issue campaign the GOP has launched every election season since adopting the southern strategy. I’d bet money that one or more GOP PR firms is running the show from behind the scenes just as Freedomworks ran the teabaggers.

  11. DB  •  Aug 20, 2010 @5:01 pm

    There is plenty of immigrant labor that would be happy to build anything you want to hire them to build. They’ve built every skyscraper in Houston, Dallas and Phoenix anyway.

    Give ‘em two good wedge issues and and unemployment check.

  12. Daphne Chyprious  •  Aug 20, 2010 @5:55 pm

    The “Hard Hat Pledge”?! I am adopting that as the perfect metaphor for digging in on a ludicrous proposition. Should get plenty of use.

  13. goatherd  •  Aug 20, 2010 @6:03 pm

    BBC Four had a documentary “Science and Islam” available on youtube. It is well worth watching.

    The Islamic empire was successful because it was able and eager to draw on a diverse set of sources for knowledge and because it valued knowledge both as a thing in itself and for practical reasons. If we give in and become a xenophobic, depleted society like a “brute beast without understanding” how can we compete with more open societies which can more freely access a broader pool of knowledge?

    In an unrelated vein. How does a YMCA like community center become a “monument to Islam”?

  14. erinyes  •  Aug 20, 2010 @6:58 pm

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