In Case You Missed It: Be Quiet on the 9/11 Mosque
Time Magazine's Mark Halperin has an important public service announcement for Republicans: Do the right thing and drop any and all calls against the Ground Zero mosque. His convictions appear so strong on the issue that he literally correlates GOP "misuse" of the situation with jihadist victory. If you missed the insanity, you can find it here. While Halperin is not necessarily a liberal (controversy ensues on his views/this issue), his piece illustrates a common tactic of the left - reversing rational thought and framing it in such a way that the opposition is purposefully backed into an inescapable corner. Let's get a grip. Opposing the mosque has absolutely nothing to do with letting homicidal terrorist fools "win" and everything to do with exploring the moral compass through which the Cordoba Initiative has arrived at its decision to build near Ground Zero. The now infamous mosque project has become a sore for Democrats in a hotly contested election year. Perhaps this is one reason why Halperin pleads so mightily for Republicans to leave the issue alone. Unfortunately for the left, the GOP has little control over public perception on this issue. Americans disagree with the mosque's placement near Ground Zero, regardless of what conservatives say (or don't say, for that matter). Even Harry Reid is hip to this reality. Halperin seems to believe that Republicans are driving public perception; this is incorrect on all counts. The American people are outraged and they want answers, explanations and assurance that nothing is awry.
Aside from the aforementioned tenants, there are a number of irritating elements in Halperin's article. Of course, no words at all are devoted to questioning why the Cordoba Initiative has chosen to build a massive monument to Islam just blocks away from where the World Trade Center once stood. Halperin's article is limited to telling Republicans why they should silence themselves on the issue. Before I continue, allow me to clarify something. I'm all for religious freedom; I'm not attacking Islam, but I am questioning the intention, knowing the sensitivities involved, of planning to build a mosque at that location. Naturally, Halperin is more concerned with providing advice to Republicans than he is in actually getting to the bottom of the issue at hand -- why the Cordoba Initiative is obsessed with placing an Islamic beacon at the center of America's greatest travesty.
And another note -- I recognize that most Muslims are peaceful. That's not the point here. In the end, the Cordoba Initiative has every legal right to build, but the moral implications of doing so at, near or around Ground Zero are evident. Whether leftists agree, the vast majority of the public sees the move as insensitive; it is widely opposed by nearly every measure. Should plans for the mosque forge on, there will be a great deal of resentment, which will, in turn, damage reconciliation efforts. If those individuals who wish to build truly care about bridging divides between Muslim and non-Muslim Americans as they've stated, they'll choose another location. Wouldn't this spread the goodwill that Halperin seems to believe can only come if conservatives remain silent?
Aside from the asinine notion that conservatives should simply back away from questioning the mosque's moral implications, Halperin inserted a number of slaps, digs and generalizations. For instance, he claims that the GOP has avoided dealing with social issues, while focusing wholeheartedly on Obama's spending habits. In his letter to Republicans he writes,
Up until now, you have restricted yourself as much as possible to an economic message, eschewing social issues and foreign policy as you try to establish contrasts for the electorate between your brand and the Obama-Pelosi-Reid record.
Unfortunately for this political analyst/journalist, who has obviously paid little attention to conservative proposals, the GOP offered a detailed alternative to ObamaCare, which the administration and members of the leftist media brigade simultaneously ignored. But, the bombshell (allow me to channel Nancy Grace) comes at the end of the piece, as Halperin writes,
It isn't clear how the battle over the proposed center should or will end. But two things are profoundly clear: Republicans have a strong chance to win the midterm elections without picking a fight over President Obama's measured words. And a national political fight conducted on the terms we have seen in the past few days will lead to a chain reaction at home and abroad that will have one winner -- the very extreme and violent jihadists we all can claim as our true enemy.
Did you catch that, America? Holding a president accountable for his own words will literally hand victory over to our enemies. When leftists and their enthusiasts in the media are prepared to allow students to recite the pledge without designating the words "under God" unconstitutional, idiotic or bordering on the illegal, I'll take their advice on matters of religious freedom. Until then, I'll stick with the notion that the Cordoba mosque is perfectly legal, but overtly insensitive and morally damaging to reconciliation efforts. Moving the mosque would be a sign of goodwill and would do wonders for Muslim/non-Muslim relations in our post-9/11 world.
With that in mind, don't give up. Make your voices heard, but do so respectfully and without making Islam the target. Focusing on the Constitutional and legal rights of the Cordoba Initiative, while illustrating the moral conundrums the project will create is a viable and common sense way to treat this issue. Don't let Halperin or anyone else for that matter tell you otherwise.
(Originally published at HuffingtonPost.com)