Ground Zero

In this atmosphere of fear mongering and lies from the chorus of voices proclaiming doom, one has to wonder what is their goal. The latest hand wringing and “I’m more intolerant that you” approach is the opposition to the building of a Muslim community center a scant 2 blocks from the site of the World Trade Center. No matter that there has been a Mosque 4 blocks away years before the first bombing of the WTC. The center is to be built on the site of a derelict Burlington Coat Factory store in a depressed section of lower Manhattan. But what is most vexing is the demonization of a ancient Religion that most westerners know very little about. These loud voices of “authority” paint with a broad hate-filled brush for the horrific sins of a few. It is easier to do this in the cause of lazy simplification. It seems like this approach works with people who place all their trust in these unearned hate megaphones and know no other “truth.” It is always dangerous to get all one’s information from the loudest of these voices. Although it is easy to fact check outrageous statements, the audience, for some reason does not. It is as if truth has become irrelevant.

Gingrich who one-on-one seems like a reasonable man has unfortunately turned to hyperbole in his description of what he sees as an affront to the Constitution and good taste and his vision of the American way of life. As he said on “Fox and Friends”

“Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust museum in Washington.”

This statement makes no sense except to inflame the listener. If I were on a public street with a Nazi armband or sandwich board touting Hitler, I would certainly be allowed under the first amendment to parade in front of the Holocaust museum no matter how distasteful that may be. Gingrich went on to say,

“we would never accept the Japanese putting up a site (Shinto Temple) next to Pearl Harbor.
“There is no reason for us to accept a mosque next to the World Trade Center,” he said.

This kind of logic, again makes no sense when one digs deeper into the facts which is only a “Google” search away. If they’d bothered to do some fact checking before opening their mouths, they’d have know that there are already Shinto Shrines in Hawaii, with a couple not far from Pearl Harbor. (There are also some Buddhist Temples in the area.) But the lazy audience chooses to allow these people to think for them. They have given over their ability to seek the truth to others in a cult-like way.

In another demonstration of pure ignorance and narcissism, Limbaugh asked listeners what they would think if a “Hindu Temple” was built at Pearl Harbor, apparently thinking that Japan was a Hindu nation. True, Limbaugh and others are isolated in their world of mirrors and choose to spout what they “think” is the truth and sadly the audience eats it up.

Finally from NewsCorps’ Wall Street Journal comes a statement from an angry reader,

“Perhaps we should test the Japanese people’s resolve by attempting to build a big christian church at ground zero.” (referring to the atom bomb drops at the end of WWII)

The reader is unaware of the fact that Urakami Cathedral is one of the major landmarks associated with the Nagasaki bombing. There were also churches in Hiroshima in 1945, with at least one near ground zero. Of course, both cities have Christian churches today.

It is a sad state of affairs for a people who I assume are intelligent and well meaning turning into the Pied Pipers of hate and mis-information and outright lies. Where there is wrong we rise as one to right it. In the scenarios rising from the cacophony of the hate air-waves this phrase is turned on its head, where there is right, we try to wrong it. I actually feel sorry for Beck and Limbaugh and Gingrich and Levin and Savage and others. I only wish they had the best interests of this country at heart.