[Note please: may I call on the liberal/progressive readers of my blog to stand back and remain silent for awhile. I want to learn what the conservative/right-wingers have to comment without their feeling the necessity to respond to others who leave comments. I want to have a chance to hear them clearly. Therefore, be considerate in only making comments pertinent to this specific blog post. Thank you.]
The furor over a Islamic community center being built somewhat near the site of the 9-11 terrorist bombing in New York City is confusing to behold. I understand the deep feelings of the victims families, but once again we have others who are patriotic "posers" speaking up with insane comments. Please stop and think. When we limit one person or one group from equality, we are on a slippery slope.
Americans have forever been insensitive to others as we paraded across this continent. How many sacred places of American Indians did we plunder and mar? The Black Hills, a sacred place of the Lakotas and other tribes has been turned into a souvenier shop, a camera-toting bunch of insensitive American tourists, over-run with shops, parking spots, roads, carved monuments to the "white man's" presidents, etc. Have you given any thought to that?
What about the prejudice and bigotry faced by Jews, certain Christians, etc. when they came to this country? German immigrants after World War I and World War II? Asians? Latinos? Hindus?
Look what we Americans did to the slaves we brought here. They were legally regarded as property. We literally stole land from Mexico. After stealing the land we desecrated huge pieces of Indian land in the Southwest. We literally forced death marches of Indian tribes from their fertile southeastern U.S. land to barren prairies. We slaughtered huge populations of American Indians. The discrimination against Asians who were brought here to build our western railroads was enormous, and they were forced to live in squalor for decades and decades. We put Japanese Americans in concentration camps during World War II. And we seemed to think it was all OK. We never gave it a second thought. Equality? Democracy? Freedom [for whom?]? The original Americans were treated like unwanted immigrants, while it was European immigrants who desecrated the land and killed the people here.
We hanged innocent black people. Today we treat every Moslems as though each of them somehow had something to do with 9-11. The terrorists who brought the World Trade Center buildings down committed a crime, not totally unlike what Timothy McVeigh did in Oklahoma City. This was not an act of Islam. The overwhelming majority of Moslems abhorred what was done on 9-11, just as the overwhelming number of Christians and Jews in America were horrified by the bombing in Oklahoma City. We are so lacking in our understanding of Islam that our bigotry does not allow us to make rational decisions. When we take a horrible incident like 9-11 and make all kinds of bigoted decisions, it is not unlike the person who knows a few black people and draws all of his/her conclusions about that race based on tiny anecdotes. Fortunately, non-white Americans are not as harsh in drawing bigoted conclusions about we Caucasian Americans. They suffered, we did not to that degree, yet they forgive.
Can we somehow begin to think rationally about the Islamic center proposed in Manhattan? If you were to study Islam you would find many, many examples of a loving, peaceful, considerate religion. Placing the Islamic center in-between huge skyscrapers, almost impossible to see from a block away, is hardly "forcing" something on the special site of 9-11. We should embrace peace, understanding, tolerance, respect for Islam and the proposed center for those believers. Hateful attacks on Islam are not only counter-productive, they are expressions of the worst in America. Let us keep our dignity, honesty, and understanding alive, and let the prejudice and hate of too much of our past be put to rest. Let's move on in the truest and best of what the United States of America can offer. If we do not acknowledge our bigoted past, we will continue to make the same prejudicial, horrid mistakes. We must finally learn what equality really means.
"Since when do you have to agree with people to defend them from injustice?" -Lillian Hellman
"I think the first duty of society is justice." -Alexander Hamilton
"A prejudiced person will almost certainly claim that he has sufficient warrant for his views." "Gordon W. Allport
"Prejudice is the reason of fools." -Voltaire
"National injustice is the surest road to national downfall." -William Ewart Gladstone
If you cannot see that restricting one group from equality in a democracy restricts us all, then I strongly suggest you read the U.S. Constitution and dig into the papers related to the Nuremburg trials.