I'm talking about people like professional political tumor, Newt Gingrich, and future worst President ever, Sarah Palin, who have both slammed supporters of the Islamic community center with rhetoric so flawed, I'm afraid even linking to it might impair your computer's higher functioning circuits. But it's not just them. Due to the wave of misinformation being spread, apparently 68% of Americans also oppose the mosque.
How did this happen? Well, basically a complacent or a complicit media helped perpetuate three ideas that are either outright lies or intellectually dishonest arguments designed to bring out the very worst in all of us. And as you continue to hear them--and you will--take out this column which you will have already printed and laminated, and recite thusly:
1. It's Not at Ground Zero
The proposed structure is not on the hallowed ground of the former World Trade Center. It's at an abandoned and private building blocks away that used to be the Burlington Coat Factory. That means that if every one of the "g's" that Sarah Palin drops when she's talkin' folksy were 10 by10 feet large, you could still stack over 120 of them from Ground Zero to this community center. Easy.
That sort of makes all the difference, doesn't it? I know, when I first heard they were building a mosque at Ground Zero, I literally said, "What the fuck." Like out loud and everything. I didn't even pull a "WTF" despite years of writing for the Internet. That's because for the last nine years, we New Yorkers have listened to countless proposals and plans and ideas of how to best rebuild the area while honoring the memories of those who died. And suddenly it seemed we were being told, "Yep, it's all decided. Mosque. We want a mosque here. Just feels right."
So yeah, of course, no one was on board. That just made no sense. What happened to that proposed waterfall and wall of names? Nothing happened. Because no one was ever building a mosque on that site. It's just a lie that was told to you by people who wanted you to be afraid, upset, and hurt. People who wanted to manipulate your tender emotions to inspire contempt for the government. It's about as intellectually dishonest as manipulating debate footage to make it appear that "Drill, baby, drill" is Sarah Palin's stance on partial birth abortions. It's just wrong.
And to those who say that any location in lower Manhattan is too close for a Muslim structure, let me remind you that right now, in the shadow of what would be the former World Trade Center, there's a Halal Meat Hot Truck with a multi-denominational line that wraps around my building every day at lunch time. And I'm positive that's owned by a Muslim. And I've even suffered at his hands. (Spoiler alert: avoid the goat rhoti). Should he move a few more blocks away too? Of course, not. That would just be silly, right? Is it different? Why? Because mosques are religious and the 911 terrorists perverted Islam into something violent and hateful? Guess what? Those knights did the same thing to Christianity for the 300 years of the Crusades, and no one's saying that churches shouldn't be built anywhere in Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ Europe.
2. It's Not Strictly A Mosque
A mosque by definition is a purely religious structure. This is a large proposed community center, open to the public and set to house, among other things, a basketball court. Yes there will be a prayer space inside it as well, but you don't call St. Mary's Hospital a church because it happens to have a chapel inside it, do you? Well, maybe you do. You read about politics on the Internet from a guy who claims not to write about politics, so maybe you're functionally illiterate. But the point is, you shouldn't.
But "Islamic Community Center open to the public" doesn't have the same ability to scare people the way "mosque" does. I mean, you hear "mosque" you think mosquito, you think STING! You hear "mosque" you think "mask," you think DECEPTION! You hear "community center" you think "OK. One more place I'll never go." So, yeah, clearly the decision was made by those who hate you to call this the "Ground Zero Mosque" even though it's not at Ground Zero and not technically a mosque. Why are we still discussing this? Why haven't you already asked Sarah Palin if she's the devil on her Twitter account? Oh, that's right. Because the devil is supposed to be good at lying.