Near, not at Ground Zero

I was watching the CBS Early show this morning.  One of the stories they led with was President Obama’s comments on the mosque controversy at Ground Zero and top democrat Harry Reid’s break with the President on the issue.  Bay Buchanan was one of the guests and argued that Ground Zero is hallowed ground and that most Americans don’t want a mall or a casino built there.   She really said that.

What’s being lost in the discussion  is that this planned Islamic cultural center is actually not at Ground Zero, but near it.  It couldn’t be at Ground Zero anyway because the 911 Memorial and Museum is currently under construction there.

The last I checked, the first amendment to the U.S. constitution guarantees Americans freedom of religion.  But the controversy is not really about religion, it is about fear, and misplaced blame and at its extreme, discrimination and racism.  And it is being politicized on both sides – Harry Reid on the left and the Republicans who have weighed in and will try to make it a divisive cultural issue.  And the birthers will use Obama’s support of the proposal as proof that he is a Muslim.

911 was a tragic event.  The national psyche was damaged and has not yet healed and may never.  And while I am not blaming anyone, I am surprised that it has taken so long to build a proper 911 memorial at Ground Zero.  I think had one been built already, there wouldn’t be much of a controversy over a development project such as the Islamic cultural center.

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