“In a strange way I’m here to defend his right to do that,” Bloomberg said, of Terry Jones, the pastor from Florida’s Dover World Outreach Church in Gainseville, Fla., who is behind the proposed rally. “I happen to think that it is distasteful…But the First Amendment protects everybody, and you can’t say that we’re going to apply the First Amendment to only those cases where we are in agreement.”
I agree. And this also means that other have every right to attack the pastor for his noxious, despicable views.
“I may disagree with what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it.”
The Cordoba House Initiative has become the summer’s defining political Rorschach test. Depending on whom you ask, the controversy surrounding Park 51 in downtown Manhattan, widely termed the ‘Ground Zero Mosque,’ is either a distraction or one of the most important issues facing the people of the United States, a matter of defending religious liberty or fighting supremacist triumphalism, defending rights or respecting sensibilities, Islamophobia or anti-fascism, and so on.
The bifurcation has already begun to define the contours of the New York gubernatorial race. But, at least one distinct side-benefit has resulted from the debate. It has demonstrated the absurdity of the demagoguery that so often passes for mainstream political discourse among Democrats and Republicans. For instance, some who are against the project have argued that if it is allowed to proceed, the terrorists will have won, while others who defend the project have argued that if the center is not built, the terrorists will have won, leaving us with the ridiculous conclusion that no matter what happens with respect to the Cordoba House, the terrorists will have won.
What we need and what we’re not getting, is a rational debate about the mosque. Our politicians and special interest groups have seen to that, demonizing the other side. That other side would be support for the mosque, but except for Mayor Bloomberg (the only adult discussing this on the national stage), virtually all media coverage and support has been on the anti-mosque side. The faux ‘discussion’ has been almost entirely one-sided, and shows the servility, cravenness, and barely concealed agendas of the mainstream media.
It’s also affecting the multi-party gubernatorial race in New York, with support and opposition cutting across traditional party lines.
Mayor Bloomberg strongly defends the Ground Zero mosque while Obama, Harry Reid, Howard Dean and other Democratic ‘leaders’ remain mute or attack it. Yet again, Democratic leadership shows itself to be both gutless and complicit with the far right.
Islam did not attack the World Trade Center — Al-Qaeda did. To implicate all of Islam for the actions of a few who twisted a great religion is unfair and un-American. Today we are not at war with Islam — we are at war with Al-Qaeda and other extremists who hate freedom.
The members of our military are men and women at arms — battling for hearts and minds. And their greatest weapon in that fight is the strength of our American values, which have always inspired people around the world. But if we do not practice here at home what we preach abroad — if we do not lead by example – we undermine our soldiers. We undermine our foreign policy objectives. And we undermine our national security.
Tell me again what the Democratic Party stands for? Because Bloomberg’s speech should have been made by Democrats, lots of them.