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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Griper Blade: If You Liked "Fahrenheit 9/11," You're a Terrorist

Man holding sign reading 'Support Freedom of Religion'The so-called "Ground Zero mosque" (which isn't actually a mosque and isn't at Ground Zero) is a mere distraction from the larger issues of unemployment, wars, and the economy. It is but a trifle and beneath the notice of intelligent people. It's a blip on the national radar screen that frivolous people have decided to make the fad of the moment. So say the Serious People in Ties. This argument tells us that congress isn't in session, the election campaigns are firing up, so we're entering the "silly season" of American politics, when demagoguery and grandstanding rear their less-than-serious heads and this isn't something we should really pay a lot of attention to. But this line of reasoning ignores the months of hysteria-whipping by the likes of Newt Gingrich and lunatic blogger Pam Geller. This has been brewing for some time and the idea that it's only now gotten the attention of the Serious People in Ties is laughable. They've watched it unfold, reported on it, and now they want to pretend it spontaneously ignited sometime last week. Apparently, the Serious People in Ties have grown weary of this particular story. Time to move on.

Salon's Glenn Greenwald noticed this "it's a distraction" trend in punditry and, as he often does, took the contrary position. According to Greenwald, the issue of Cordoba House at Park51 isn't some momentary outbreak of stupidity. Rather, it underlines a deep and growing misunderstanding of what America is all about and gives us the opportunity to ask ourselves if we like where we're headed.

[The "distraction" meme is] an artificially narrow and misguided way of understanding what this dispute is about. The intense animosity toward Muslims driving this campaign extends far beyond Ground Zero, and manifests in all sorts of significant and dangerous ways. In June, The New York Times reported on a vicious opposition campaign against a proposed mosque in Staten Island. Earlier this month, Associated Press documented that "Muslims trying to build houses of worship in the nation's heartland, far from the heated fight in New York over plans for a mosque near ground zero, are running into opponents even more hostile and aggressive." And today, The Washington Post examines anti-mosque campaigns from communities around the nation and concludes that "the intense feelings driving that debate have surfaced in communities from California to Florida in recent months, raising questions about whether public attitudes toward Muslims have shifted."...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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