We live in very interesting times.
This Ground Zero mosque issue has exploded before our eyes and shows that there are still great and immeasurable hurts because of 9/11. What happened that day is unprecedented in our nation's history. And precisely because the trauma of that day has no parallel, the pain resulting from those actions will not ever completely go away.
What's really maddening to me is the reaction by some towards people like me who don't think the Park 51 project should go forward at the proposed site. We're being called "islamophobes", "bigots", "racists", even "un-American". Really? So does that mean almost 70% of the country is composed of such people (among which are those like Debra Burlingame who lost loved ones that day), this same country that just elected its first "black" President? Of course, the talking heads are saying this from the comfort of their nicely decorated television studios. It's easy to call people names when you don't have to look those people in the face. Channeling that famous broadcasting legend Ron Burgundy, "You stay classy San Diego."
The President's weighing in on this issue has been a profile in disaster. Full-throated and confident, he took time during a White House iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan to insert himself into the controversy. A couple of things stood out to me beyond what he said last Friday versus Saturday; first how he decided to deliver those remarks between those same two days and secondly, the content of the official statement from the White House concerning the celebration of Ramadan. Symbolism, decorum and delivery say a lot - especially when remarks come from the President. As smart as many elites would like for us to believe he is, it's remarkable that 20 months into the job he still gets tripped up by this. He gets so eager to kowtow to the Muslim world that he forgets about the people he's sworn to protect.
What this episode does is perpetuate the narrative that Democrats just don't get it. Let's go back to that official White House statement regarding their celebration of Ramadan (if you wish, you can read it in full here). The President stated, in part, that "Ramadan is a celebration of a faith known for great diversity and racial equality. And here in the United States, Ramadan is a reminder that Islam has always been a part of America..." Islam has always been a part of America? How so? To say this is an attempt to erase the intentional influence that Judeo-Christian principles played in our founding. It's an attempt to undermine the abundant Christian faith of our forefathers. Go back and read the words written by those who signed and authored the Declaration of Independence as well as the Constitution. Take a trip to Washington and go to the monuments - read the words etched in stone at those sacred places. You won't read about Allah, Mohammed, hadith, jihad or shariah. But if you were able to examine the cap of the Washington Monument, you would read "Laus Deo". If you were at the Jefferson Memorial, you would read "Almighty God hath created the mind free..." At the Lincoln Memorial, you would read that "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether".
It's not just the President "stepping in it". You also have Nancy Pelosi saying just yesterday she supported the government investigating those who oppose the Park 51 project. Really Ms. Pelosi?! Do you not have better things to do other than trying to intimidate Americans who have an honest, substantive problem with a mosque being built at Ground Zero? I've got an idea. Why don't you instead take time out to truly look into who Imam Rauf truly is and why he can't bring himself to say that Hamas is a terror organization, why he says Usama bin Laden is made in the USA and why the US was an accessory to what happened at 9/11? Why take a chance to embolden the millions of radical Muslims around the world by allowing this mosque to be erected on sacred ground knowing that Muslims have a penchant for building victory monuments at places of conquest?
Regardless of what Robert Gibbs says, this mosque controversy is a lot more than just a local issue. This is bigger than New York, city and state. People know that this issue reverbs throughout the country. Almost 10 years ago, Lower Manhattan was Ground Zero to the worst terrorist attack in our history. Today it serves as Ground Zero for the battle lines being drawn again as our continuing legacy as a nation hangs in the balance. We can't ignore the fact that our way of life is under attack by radical Islam and by those who wish to stifle and intimidate those who oppose this mosque.
Listen to the words of Raheel Raza, a truly moderate Muslim who in a recent interview with Bill O'Reilly said this: "I can't begin to imagine how they would even conceive of an idea that building a mosque there, which is an exclusive place of prayer for Muslims, would in any way build tolerance and respect."
Wisdom and the courage of conviction - thank you to Ms. Raza and those families of 9/11 victims standing on the front lines in this fight exuding these very traits so many in this discussion lack.