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Pat Buchanan and the mosque

August 10, 2010 - John Stack

 Oh, do I ever miss the days of William Rusher and his well written articles about conservativism.  His was not the type of fire and brimstone, mud slinging, dirty pool hatred of many of today’s conservative writers. Rusher used to occupy a spot in the Press Republican opposite a Democratic writer. Often, Rusher was much less partisan and looked internally rather than blame and name call. Unfortunately, his replacement is Byron York, whose literary pedigree stems from one fact – he is right leaning and can only see hatred for the left. A couple weeks ago he wrote what passed for an article about Al Gore’s supposed sexual misconduct. He spent almost the whole column quoting only from her statements and saying it was a pretty convincing story. Except that no one else believed it. Not the police, not newspapers, not even titillating talk shows. But he spent an article – supposedly a political one at that – basically regurgitating a tale about as believable as the balloon boy of last year.

                But today’s winner is Pat Buchanan. He writes about the furor over the mosque being built near the site of the World Trade Center. He begins by mocking NYC mayor Bloomberg for seemingly ‘allowing’ this mosque to be built – and that he became a billionaire while being clueless about the country he lives in. Buchanan misses the point that we live in a democracy, and Bloomberg is not the ‘king of New York’ and that the mosque is constitutionally protected and there are also local and federal laws that Bloomberg can’t usurp (sounds actually like Bloomberg knows where he is and Buchanan is clueless). But no, Buchanan says the mosque should not be built because of the great insensitivity of it being built. Can you believe it? Pat Buchanan – conservative standard bearer – whining about sensitivity? How about the American Revolution? Maybe we should have not fought back because of the sensitivity of many of the Loyalists living here at the time? Should the NRA be denied convention space or hotel rooms in any city where there has been gun violence because of the sensitivity of some of the people?

Manhattan is a small place. The whole of Manhattan can easily fit between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid – it is about 4 miles by 6 miles holding 1.6 million people. A 13 story mosque is being built TWO blocks away from ‘Ground Zero’. This isn’t on the site of Ground Zero. And to continue to use the term ‘in the shadow’ of the former World Trade Center makes it seem like if you were standing at 1 WTC Plaza, you couldn’t help but notice the mosque. I venture the mass majority of people visiting the site never ever know about the mosque (if not for the crazies drawing attention to it).

I love reading about all of these talking heads who claim to be ‘true Americans’ and Constitution lovers. Especially freedom of religion. When it comes right down to it, freedom of religion to them seems to be that all religions are welcome. They claim to believe we draw strength from our diversity. As long as that diversity means the differences between Baptists/Methodists/Catholics and grudgingly Jews.

                Buchanan makes the foolish argument that we wouldn’t stand for a Shinto shrine at Pearl Harbor next to the Arizona. Which begs many questions. Is Ford Island in Pearl harbor in the middle of a huge city with more than a million and a half people within walking distance? Does the mosque dominate the landscape and draw attention to itself? Did the japanaese attack the US on religious grounds? Or did a small group of radical religious Japanese attack Pearl Harbor? He makes an even worse analogy about building a temple to the Crusades in Muslim territory. First, even catholics today realize the Crusades were a low point, not a high point in Catholic history. Second –that’s the whole point! We live in the land of the free! The US! We don’t live in Palestine! We aren’t under a sheiks control! Is his point that a Muslim nation is a theocracy which permits no religious tolerance – that of which our great nation was built upon? And that if the Muslims wouldn’t accept it we shouldn’t either? Huh? What Pat? He even makes the argument that the builder of the mosque won’t turn over the financials about who is paying for the mosque. Are you kidding? How many private buildings in NYC have to disclose all of the people financing the structure? Who else would agree to that? Would Donald Trump be forced to explain everyone who was financing a project and how much each was paying? Never Pat!

Sorry Pat (and the rest of Tea Party nation and the rest of the right wing nuts who claim to defend the constitution, yet have no clue what it means) religious intolerance cannot ever be accepted based upon your feelings of insensitivity.



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