That was the politics siren. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Dear people who do not want a Muslim oriented center at Ground Zero:
Your feelings, I am sure, are very strong. They most likely seem very real to you, and because of that, you believe they lend legitimacy to your argument against building a mosque or any Muslim themed center at that particular location.
They do not.
Simply because you feel something does not make it real. As someone who has long managed an interesting stable of unpredictable mental illnesses, let me tell you that feelings are more often than not based on erroneous information, incomplete ideas, and faulty wiring. To speak about how you felt watching the towers come down in the same breath as your objection to construction at ground zero does not make your argument valid. In my opinion, it detracts.
Since very few others will say it, I will. On a human level, 9/11 was a tragedy. We should all respect and mourn those who died there. We should hold the rescue workers, fireman, and brave civilians who reached out, often at great cost, to help their fellow man in our hearts forever.
But 9/11 was not the greatest tragedy to occur, ever, and I am sick of people talking about it like it was. We reacted so strongly as a country partly because we are sheltered and privileged. It is nigh racist the way we go on about how terrible it was and how traumatized we are. We are, on a government level, allright with causing similar tragedies but we are not equipped to deal with it when it happens to us. At the very least it is a distressingly USA centric attitude and one that I feel requires great revision.
Furthermore, to prevent the construction at ground zero sends a clear message. It sends a message of bigotry and reactionary emotion. To paint all Muslims with the extremist brush harkens back to the worst days of American propaganda. It speaks of fear, and hatred, and the creation of a false Other.
For me the construction of a mosque/community center at ground zero is a message of hope and peace. Yes, of course there are political forces at work that have different agendas. But on a basic human level, it says: we will not be bullied in to a black and white mindset by a ragged group of extremists. We will not succumb to terror and ignorance and shut out Americans, we will not give up our religious freedoms, and we will not widen the divide between faiths and peoples.
The Muslims who would worship at the mosque/community center are Americans. That is supposed to matter. We are supposed to stand together and stand under the banner of freedom. Don't just talk about freedom. Don't just circle jerk one another about how great and tolerant we are. Make it real.
Support the construction. Read the Quran instead of burning it. Think instead of giving in to dumb base emotion.
That is freedom.