Remember that? It’s been two and a half months since September 11th, 2010, when anti-Islamic radicals, led by Sarah Palin, pushed Imam Rauf’s Cordoba House into the headlines, as a way to cast aspersion on the integrationist ambitions of moderate Muslims nationwide. But lately, if you haven’t been reading specialist blogs, or following the parallel controversy, where lawmakers tried to legally halt the construction of a mosque in Kentucky by redefining Islam as something less than a religion (they lost), you probably haven’t heard word one about the debate in a while yet.
This is a lesson we must learn going forwards: the right-wing controversy du jour is exactly as transitory as its merit should suggest. Momentary flare-ups of intolerance should be met aggressively and sharply checked, not just because of the danger such incidents pose to civil society, but because there are no long-range consquences to treating culture war partisans with the disdain they deserve, and that their short attention spans merit.
We should take this as a lesson, too, for all the concern trolls that purported to honestly worry whether the Cordoba House would threaten Islamic integration efforts. When hatred isn’t being actively fanned, it turns out that the American people have other concerns than who’s offended by what’s proximity to what.