Rebel flag: A national issue?
By HAROLD THOMAS
The Times and Democrat
Posted: Tuesday, September 7, 2010
The Muslims’ intent to build an Islamic cultural center in New York City has sparked a national debate as to whether building it so near ground zero would somehow infringe upon the sanctity of the site. The proposed location, which has been approved by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, is about two blocks north of the former World Trade Center.
The opposition against erecting the structure at that site appears to be far reaching, extending across all segments of the population, save perhaps the Muslims themselves. People who have previously never expressed any concern for New York or its residents at all have joined the wave of dissent against the center.
Surprisingly, antagonism toward the center was not that much of an issue until some groups decided to make it one. It is blatantly apparent that conservative politicians saw the opportunity to add one more item to the litany of complaints that they have against everything which did not originate from them or does not conform to their idea of what mainstream America wants. The decision to put a political spin on the matter is a calculated one that intends to capitalize on the residual psychological effects that the incidents of 9/11 still have on our citizens.
Frankly speaking, the decision to build the mosque at that particular location should not be a concern to anyone except New Yorkers and the commission authorized to determine whether the site was historically significant. The people of that state and city deserve the privilege to resolve the issue without intervention from politicians who look at this as just another chance to improve their political standing. Others want to use the situation as a platform to promote their hatred for people of the Islamic faith.
Stop! Let’s wait one darn New York minute! We just might have something here! Let’s continue letting the people in the country influence decisions in which they should not have any concern at all. After the politicians and their backers finish putting their 2 cents into the situation that they have in New York, we could go to the next area that has an issue that is controversial. We could probably solve some of these regional sticky wickets forever by conducting national polls and getting some perspective from areas that are not directly affected by whatever concern that is being debated.
We could stop at New York, but why should we? Let’s encroach upon the rights of those who still, as an example, choose to fly the Confederate flag. I believe we could solve this issue rather quickly because we could use some of the same arguments the opposition uses against building the mosque.
Our first point of opposition to the flag would be to question the patriotism of anyone who would want to support a cause that decided that armed confrontation, rather than the vote, was the only way to acquire the rights they felt were being denied them. Couldn’t the flag be seen as a symbol of their determination to make good on their vow that "the South shall rise again?" That statement should not be taken as an idle threat, but as a sincere promise.
It could also be argued that the flag, just like the mosque, is a monument to honor terrorists. Even though the treasonous behavior, which resulted in over 620,000 lives being lost, was instigated by terrorists of the domestic variety, the effect has proven to be even more profound than the horrendous events in New York, the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania combined. The extent of its traumatic effect on the nation persists almost 150 years after the end of the Civil War. Descendants of some of the participants in the rebellion have pledged to continue their ancestors’ quest to become independent entities, free of federal rule.
Just as the people of the nation and politicians who do not reside in those districts do not have a valid reason to involve themselves in the affairs of states that allow the Confederate flag to be flown, outsiders who are not directly affected by the center should remain silent and let those people decide what is best for their city. While some opposition is expected, encroaching on the Muslims’ freedom to do as they chose teeters on the boundary of crossing constitutional lines that guarantee the same rights to all of our citizens – with prejudice directed toward none.
America is a supposed to be permissive nation, even for those who may not have the country’s best interests at heart. We tolerate those who would change, if they had the opportunity, the very things that allow those same groups to exist. We permit those who are impervious to change the right to maintain that stance without persecution. Our Constitution guarantees that we are free to practice the religion of our choice – in the place of our choice – without provocation from others who may not necessarily agree with that faith’s theological doctrines.
Copyright 2010 The Times and Democrat.