23 July 2010
The New York Islamophobic Primary
Keeping up the pressure to Rick Lazio's right, quasi-independent gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino tells New Yorkers that he, as governor, would have a more effective way to prevent the Cordoba Institute from constructing its sadly controversial "ground zero mosque" than the regular Republican candidate. Both candidates join Sarah Palin and Mark Williams in "refudiating" the mosque and pandering to Islamophobic hysteria. I'm no fan of Mayor Bloomberg or the Islamic religion, but this idiocy has got to be slapped down and I applaud Bloomberg for making the effort. To treat the proposed mosque as if it'd be a) a memorial to the September 2001 terrorists or b) a "provocation" that "stabs hearts," in Palin's words is to act under the assumption that the religion of Islam and not a faction of Islamic ideologues attacked New York City nine years ago. To act under that assumption to suppress the mosque is merely to confirm what those ideologues have been trying to tell their co-religionists: that the United States is waging war on the entire religion of Islam. The course taken by Lazio, Paladino and their various sympathizers isn't quite hate. It's really spite. It's the feeling that, if a mosque goes up anywhere near the footprint of the late Twin Towers, some Islamist scumbag out there will think that his side has won something. To wipe that theoretical smile off the chimerical terrorist face, the New York Islamophobes stand ready to slap the faces of many more unoffending Muslims. To be clear, I'm less worried about the insult Muslims might suffer or how they'd react to it than I am ashamed on behalf of my state over the complete irrationality that drives this movement. Lazio and Paladino are engaged in a race to the bottom; the winner might be Idiot of the Year.