The brouhaha over the falsely labeled "Ground Zero" mosque has become a prime example of what's wrong with issue discussion in this country. There is no real issue. Why? Because there is no mosque. See the pic to the left? Well...there are no plans for anything like that at the Cordoba House site.
Plans call for a community center that will have fitness center, childcare, bookstore, culinary school and food court. Yes, there will be a "mosque," but not in the sense most people think. There will be no towering minarets or a dome visible. No daily prayer calls blasting over the city. No signs that anyone could visibly or audibly see from the WTC site at all.
Even if they were going to build a mosque like the one pictured, there's no call for insensitivity here. Why? Because the site is not IN or ON Ground Zero. It's been described as just "two blocks" from Ground Zero. But that's not really correct. It's "two" blocks from the nearest corner of the former WTC site, which is huge. It's actually more like 4-5 blocks from the area where the towers actually were and where the 9/11 memorial will be.
You know what else is within a couple of blocks of the World Trade Center site. Strip clubs. Tell us how hallowed that ground is again. New York Dolls??? That's not even Scores...
So completely lost in the shrill screams from the right about this place are the facts that this project is neither at Ground Zero nor a towering classic mosque to rub salt in victims' families wounds. Those things, in this case, are like unicorns...existing solely in the unconscionably, flammatory minds of the Glenn Becks, Sarah Palins, Newt Gingrichs and their ilk. They've managed to scare chicken-shits like Harry Reid into forgetting what this country is all about: Freedom and tolerance.
It is ridiculous, intolerant and downright un-American to think this project should be stopped.
We know a lot of people don't agree with Keith Olbermann. But his Special Comment last night was dead on.
BTW, we first learned the Martin Niemöller quote Olbermann begins with in the 9th grade, when Eva Grant taught us about the constitution. We pulled it out during the Bi-Centenial competition that year. Even back then, we were able to grasp what Niemöller was saying. Damn shame designated "leaders" in this country can not. We dare say they wouldn't have been able to cut it in Eva Grant's classroom. Newt...CORNER!