I’m sure I don’t need to remind anyone that it’s been a little less than 9 years since the September 11th terror attacks left a gaping wound in lower Manhattan – a wound that still seems very fresh. The images and fears of that day cross my mind regularly, and it seems there are reminders on every news page and TV show.
Ask any American where they were that day or what their personal memory of 9/11 is and they don’t even have to think about it. I was on the air that morning with Rouse & Company. We had switched from 1057 to 1027 only a day before and it was Kristie McIntyre’s second day with us. We were watching the TODAY show when the first plane hit, and then the second. Quickly we realized it was no accident: we were under attack and all the emergency broadcast plans that sit in every radio and TV studio in the country were for the first time put into action. In the case of CBS Baltimore, all 5 stations (WWMX, WLIF, WQSR, WXVY, WJFK-AM) were linked together to be anchored from the WQSR studio. All the staff was sent home, except Matt Tacka and myself who stayed to hold down the fort. We stayed for a very long, very strange day.
In the days and weeks that followed, I visited the Pentagon site, where the smell of jet fuel still hung heavily in the air. On my way to LA for the “Weakest Link” game show the first week of October, I had a stopover at JFK in New York and, as we flew in, the cabin fell stone silent as we all caught sight of the smoke still pouring from the then month-old Ground Zero site.
As I said, the memories are still fresh…as I am sure they are for you.
That’s why the debate about the Cordoba House is so heated. It’s been the main topic of many a talk radio show and the argument seems to be getting even hotter.
If you’ve missed it, Cordoba House is the proposed 13-story, $100-million Mosque and Islamic community center planned for the Ground Zero site (actually about half a block away in the old Burlington Coat Factory Building).
The outrage caused by the “Ground Zero Mosque” has known no bounds, crossing party lines and infuriating CEOs and soccer moms alike. The idea that a Mosque is being built alongside such hallowed ground seems unacceptable to a huge majority of Americans.
After all wasn’t it Muslims who destroyed the Twin Towers? Wasn’t it Muslims who killed nearly 3,000 innocent Americans in one fell swoop? Shouldn’t these Muslims be stopped from erecting a “victory” monument so close to the scab of the once great World Trade Center?
If you are one of the millions of Americans who wants to “Stop the Mosque” and you think that the mosque amounts to building a monument to the terrorists “victory” then I have some bad news for you – you are dead wrong.
First and foremost, there are millions, perhaps billions of followers of Islam in the world. Of that population, only teeny tiny percentages are “fundamentalists” – aka the “Bad Muslims.” The rest are just like most of us – they get up everyday and they go to work to feed their kids and pay their bills, they come home and bitch about how bad reality TV is. The difference is the way that they worship their God differently than Christians, those of the Jewish faith and so on.
For too long, we have equated the words “Muslim” and “terrorist.” Those two words simply do not equate. (And please spare me the chain e-mails on the subject. I’ve seen them all. Just because it was forwarded to you by your Uncle Freddy, doesn’t make it a fact).
The problem is not now, nor has it ever been, Muslims; the problem is extremism. In all its forms extremism is dangerous. The bombing at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 was perpetrated by Christian extremists – have we stopped the building of any churches because of it? I don’t think so.
Once again, we are left with this grim realization – living in a free society dictates that you will inevitably have to deal with things that you don’t like; and you can’t just go around stopping things that you don’t like. You may not like the idea of a Mosque going up at Ground Zero, but the Muslim community has the absolute guaranteed right to build there and any lawmaker who puts forth legislation to stop them should step down from his office immediately. His grasp of the Constitution is too flimsy to continue.
The big fear in allowing the Mosque seems to be that it will say to the world that the terrorists have won. On the contrary, preventing the Mosque from being built, altering our way of life because of what happened on September 11th 2001 – that specifically would give the win to the bad guys.
Having said all that…
The group responsible for building the Mosque says that they are building it as a way to open up dialogue and promote understanding between the Muslim community and the community at large. While I truly believe they may have the very best of intentions at heart, I have to say this may be a bit misguided. They do in fact have the absolute right to build and worship wherever they choose. However, I think that if their idea is to promote understanding and peaceful dialogue, building right on top of Ground Zero is going to do more to make people mad.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses may have some interesting ideas to share with me about Christianity. I don’t really want them at my door on Christmas morning. There’s a time and a place for things, always.
Writing on the Wall
While in DC a few weeks ago, I passed through a bad part of town and noticed the following written on the wall:
“Capitalism is the foolish idea that there is no such thing as too much.”
As a believer in the free market, I’d like to counter that with the following:
“Socialism is the foolish idea that everyone will always work together.”
After a week-long hospital stay, rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated, and despite the fact that my prescriptions cost (no kidding) over $2,000, I am NOT changing my position on government sponsored healthcare. I’ll tell you why next week. Plus, the story of me and the band hiding in the back of the van while sneaking over the border.