Friday, August 27, 2010

See With Clearer Eyes

Despite the media's attempt to blur the lines between the issues, the NYC mosque is about only one thing: One group is asking another group to change its mind about where it builds its mosque. Simple.

As often happens, a difficult and contentious issue is twisted by the press and made into something it really is not. As explained above, the mosque issue is about only one thing. But the press, as well as certain politicians, have taken two distinctly different issues regarding the mosque and have tried to make us believe they are one and the same.

Those who wish to build the mosque near Ground Zero absolutely have the right to do so. The U.S. Constitution guarantees it. As it currently stands, no reasonable people, either left or right wing, are disagreeing with this assertion. So, the "rights" issue has been resolved, agreed upon, settled. This is a non-partisan agreement. No compromise between left and right, no appeasement or sacrifice, just simple agreement. We haven't seen the two major political parties so easily agree in a long time.

The second issue, however, is completely different. Is it appropriate to build the mosque that close to Ground Zero? They have the right, but is it wise? We cannot seem to solve this problem as easily as we have the other. Part of the problem is that they have been melded into one issue. This is neither correct nor helpful.

This blending of two separate issues is irresponsible regardless of who initiates it, and the mosque situation is not the first time we've seen it. For instance, illegal immigration is vastly different than the need, or not, for immigration reform. By combining these two issues, those who stand against the unlawful practice of sneaking into our country can be painted by others as racist. This is inappropriate at best and perhaps altogether sinister.

In the case of illegal immigration vs. immigration reform, one is a matter of law-breaking and the other is a matter of rethinking standards. They overlap to some degree, but each is specific enough to warrant exclusivity to each.

We as Americans need to be sharper listeners, viewers, observers. We would rather formulate good comebacks than listen to another's point of view, consider ideas and then respond respectfully. If we cannot pay attention long enough to see the basic structure of the issues, how can we expect our words to be heard? Further, if we don't hold our leaders accountable for muddying the waters of these issues instead of providing clarity, we will get exactly what we ask for.

We can be vociferous defenders of our ideas and stances, but if we refuse to listen to others, and demand forthright communication from our leaders, we prove to be nothing but clamorous fools.

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