Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Elephant Sitting On The Couch In The Living Room That No One's Asked to Leave

"The Mosque at Ground Zero."  Wow.  What a powerful piece of ignorant propoganda.  It's like something out of a college art project meant to titillate and shock (and probably piss off daddy).  It's that haunting juxtoposition at the end of Planet of the Apes.  Those maniacs. They blew it up.  Goddamn them.  Goddamn them all to hell.

Two problems.  You already know what they are (not a mosque, not at Ground Zero).  And while I'm sure that I haven't blown anyone's mind by reciting those two facts (if I did, I'd like to be the first to welcome you to our planet; here's a sampling of some of our finest music, literature and foodstuffs), you have to admit they seem to keep falling by the wayside, haven't they?  Because there's a special kind of shock value in repetition, and the mind has this thing called implicit memory that the right loves to exploit these days.

So the moniker stuck around longer than the facts, accompanying nearly every television broadcast.  That's alright.  I'm sure most guys' nicknames stick around longer than their relevant, too (unless said nickname has something to do with the loss of a limb - you're not getting that limb back).

But there's a much darker, unadressed reason why "The Mosque at Ground Zero" is such an upsetting phrase - a reason that, oddly, no one seems all that upset by.

You couldn't say "The Mosque at Ground Zero" if there was something else AT Ground Zero.

"We will rebuild," Mayor Rudy Guiliani said on that awful day. "We're going to come out of this stronger than before, politically stronger, economically stronger. The skyline will be made whole again."

The last estimated completion date for One World Trade Center was set for 2037.  Completion dates for the other buildings remain entirely unknown.  Over $7 Billion has been spent and virtually nothing has been built, despite two groundbreaking ceremonies and endless empty promises.  

I'd argue that's a little more outrageous than what's replacing a Burlington Coat Factory a block and a half down the road.

So perhaps it's time we stop worrying about the Cordoba House and start worrying about the people who are worrying about it.  Because at heart, they're a lot like the school bully:  he'll push and he'll shove and he'll shout, but in the end, you know that kid has bigger problems back home.

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