Nancy Pelosi’s America has always borne only a passing resemblance to the America that the rest of us know and love, but the Speaker of the House has at last demonstrated just how out of touch she really is with the rest of the nation’s citizens. Her now infamous comments that appeared on the San Francisco Chronicle’s website on Tuesday regarding the Ground Zero mosque provoked wholly justified howls of outrage. “There is no question that there is a concerted effort to make this a political issue by some,” Pelosi said. “And I join those who have called for looking into how…this opposition to the mosque [is] being funded.” If Democrats wonder why they are in trouble this coming election season, they need look no farther than those two sentences. The Speaker revealed – once again – the ruling party’s disdain for public opinion and their insulting presumption that those with differing opinions must be ignorant rubes who have been manipulated by sinister forces.
Over sixty per cent of Americans are opposed to the construction of the Ground Zero mosque. This is for one very simple reason: it’s a plan to build an edifice that honors a religion that inspired zealots to destroy an American landmark and, more importantly, kill thousands of Americans. Constructing such a monument within eyesight of that tragic, shattering act of terror is deeply insulting. There is no need to fund opposition – how can anyone, much less the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, fail to understand that? Americans don’t need to be convinced that building a mega-mosque two blocks from Ground Zero is an offensive, insulting and provocative act. The facts speak for themselves.
The man behind the mosque, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, has resisted every attempt to find another location to build his dream mosque. Rauf paints himself as a healer, dedicated to reconciling the tensions between Jews, Christians and Muslims so that we can all live in peace and harmony. The Ground Zero mosque will serve to help the healing process, he assures us. Yet, how can one promote reconciliation by knowingly offending the majority of the people that you supposedly want to reconcile with? How can one promote understanding and tolerance between cultures by forcing one culture to accept a symbol it does not want and will resent? Even if Rauf was the healer he claims to be, and his refusal to denounce Hamas tells us quite clearly that he is not, his method of healing makes no sense. If you want to reach out to someone, you don’t slap the other party in the face before grasping their hand in friendship.
If Faisal Abdul Rauf truly wanted to promote peace and understanding, he would build his mosque somewhere else, somewhere far, far away from Ground Zero. The cultural center attached to such a mosque would include exhibits where Muslims could learn about all of the good that Jews and Christians have achieved. Understanding is not a one way street. If Rauf wants people to accept Islam as a religion that makes the world a better place, fine. Make your case Imam. But, in the same spirit, should not Rauf also allow Jews and Christians, not to mention atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, Hindus and everyone else, to make their cases too? Shouldn’t Muslims learn about other cultures and religions so that they can be tolerant too? If tolerance is only required of non-Muslims, then tolerance is not the point at all. Then the point rather becomes something called “appeasement.”
And Nancy Pelosi, like Barack Obama, is devoted to the politics of appeasement. She supports the Ground Zero mosque because she believes that the structure will reduce tensions between Islam and the West. She is wrong. If this mosque is built, most Americans will deeply resent it – including some American Muslims – for it will be a continuing reminder of how one particular culture has been granted privileged, protected status within our borders, even in the place where it conducted its most heinous attack upon us. The Ground Zero mosque is now a matter of Muslim pride and there is no way that Faisal Abdul Rauf can back down without losing face. Sadly, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama and the Democrats in general are far more concerned with saving Muslim face than they are with preserving American pride.
Pelosi tried to skirt this difficult issue by saying that the decision to build the mosque is ultimately a local zoning concern in which the federal government has no jurisdiction. She’s right, although that’s hardly the point. This project is a matter of national import because it involves an event that affected the nation as a whole in a way that no other event has in recent memory.
If Pelosi and her compatriots in the Democratic Party want to avoid disaster in November, they had better spend time learning why some issues are naturally abhorrent to the electorate. Wasting effort in an endless search for spurious boogiemen has a limited political self-life. Betraying a nation still healing from the greatest atrocity of our age, on the other hand, is not something the American people will soon forget.