|Disgraceful, ignorant bigots|
If anything has become apparent in the wake of the ridiculous faux debate over the construction of a Muslim cultural center at Park 51 in Manhattan it is this: if we value our Constitution we must now demand that the center be built, as planned, on the proposed site.
When rank hypocrites like Newt Gingrich refer to religious practice as "triumphalism," when poltroons like John Kyl and hacks like John McCain start suggesting that we amend the Constitution in order to deny its protections to certain people, when (according to one poll) 31% of Republicans profess to believe that President Obama is a Muslim and therefore somehow "not an American," it is past time to publicly excoriate those who hold such views.
This entire dust up might be the work of some right-wing political operative, some beast from the Karl Rove school of politics (if not Rove, himself). It could very well be a pseudo-controversy conjured up in the hopes of keeping fake patriot passions running high through the dog days of summer. But this ploy may backfire. As easy as it is to demagogue against Muslims (and gays and Mexicans), once you start impinging on First Amendment rights, Americans start getting angry.
My friend, Kurt Kemmerer, sent me this video. Take a gander and see what you think. Substitute uses of the words "negro" and "Catholic" with "illegal immigrant" and "Muslim." Then listen to Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh for an hour or two and see what you think...
Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean stated recently that he believes there may be room for compromise on the issue surrounding the planned cultural center. Well, I'm sorry, Governor: when bigots start insisting that citizens forgo their rights because the bigots are offended by them, there is no room for compromise.
The conversation must hinge on a single question: are the Muslim citizens acting within their Constitutional rights? If the answer to that question is "yes" (which right-wing freaks have already conceded), the conversation is at an end.
If rights can be compromised because some people are offended when those rights are exercised, then they are not rights at all, but concessions.