Although concern over the “Ground Zero Mosque” never made much sense, the lategame opposition appears to have collapsed into the truly absurd. Sarah Palin, and a few other Republicans, see the Cordoba House — a community center open to all, built with the explicit intention of bridging interfaith divides — as the moral equivalent of burning Korans. It’s worth mentioning this brings all of them in line with the would-be book burner himself. Donald Trump thinks it would be significantly less offensive if moved only three blocks north. We’ve never gotten an adequate answer to how far the “mosque exclusion zone” should extend around the sites of national tragedies… tragedies that affected American Muslims too… but Trump’s chosen line of demarcation ought to prove that this debate is no longer about “offense,” if it ever even was. It’s about putting American Muslims in their place, on the periphery of American society. If the site were to move, no matter how far, we would ratify this sickening turn of events.
In the hands of our demagogues, the “mosque” issue has become the wedge by which the thin veneer of interfaith respect can be peeled back, and the hopes of the hateful energized for an important election season. We now owe it to ourselves to ensure that coexistence is forced upon us, not for the benefit of downtown Muslims (although that’s nice too), but to prove to the world, and ourselves, that we are not ruled by our baser elements. I remain convinced that, once the building is actually built, this will fade away in a matter of days. Whether or not that result obtains, we no longer risk validating hate. We must insist on a peaceful future. Nine years ago, and every day since, some of our countrymen died for something. Let them have died for that.
Update: Peacekeepers are already getting hurt over this absurd nonissue.
Update: “Ground Zero” is now all of Manhattan west of Broadway and south of Park Place. There are about six halal carts in that vicinity.