America: Never Acquiesce
Stubborn. Proud. Independent. Certainly fair modifiers to describe a nation like the United States of America. Why should we be anything else? We have a history of firsts. We should not let that change or be overlooked. We have a rich and diverse past from our earliest origins up until the present day. We should be proud of that. We have always been independent. Why let externalities change our core values?
Why now? What could ever warrant such a shift? Nothing. Not September 11th. Not Terrorism. Not hate or aggression. Not envy or malice. Not non-action and not ill action. Lastly, not fear. We have nothing to fear. Our fear and that alone will destroy us. Our fear of retaliation or attack— be it verbal, physical, or acts of war— will do us as a nation more harm than even the greatest atomic weapons in our arsenal.
That my friends and countrymen is why we must build that Mosque or Cultural Center—these mind you are semantics as religious centers here typically entail other cultural activities etc and et al— in New York City. Yes, we must. Even in the shadow of the Towers and on the dirt where the ash and debris fell. If we do not: then my fellow Americans, we have failed. Our nation is finished. Our values and our sovereignty compromised beyond repair. And we shall fall to a bitter end and into ruin. That is the ultimate reality of our times.
Call it insensitive. I believe it is not spitting on the deceased to permit this complex from going up. Should their legacy be that they were used to block religious freedom and freedom of expression? No. The Patriot Act, and likewise? Certainly not. It should be their individual accomplishments, in their community, their business life, and their family. That, and knowing that they likely had bright futures stretching out before them. To have them associated with any negative or bitter sentiments is a shame. It is cruel and unjust. It belittles them, and makes them much less than what they were and could have been.
Call it blasphemy. Then again, most truths started as either utter rubbish or blasphemy. Don't think I have forgotten the anger and pain that filled my chest as I at ten, a mere child, sat staring transfixed at the television screen. Don't think I have forgotten the faces of those who knew or were directly related to those we lost. Don't think that I have forgotten that they must go on with sorrow. There are images that are forever burned into our brains. Those Twin Towers, billowing smoke and ash, imploding and collapsing to the ground, will never leave mine. I picture it as I write. I swear I will never forget.
In the aftermath of it I had never been more proud to be an American. We came together. We were tested and battered, but we held fast. At least temporarily. Now we have again fallen into disarray and bickering. C'est la vie. We come together and fall apart. We fall down and we get back up. We fail until we succeed. That my friends is the greatest fallacy and gem of human existence.
There may have been a Pearl Harbor, but it was followed by V-E and V-J Day. Yet, there is a price for freedom and liberty. Historically it has been paid by the blood of our young men—be they volunteers or draftees— they have given their youth, their innocence, and even their lives so that we may keep ours. Bless them for it. Hold them in reverence. "Praise them with great praise."
Yet, for V-J Day, there is also a Hiroshima, a Nagasaki. Attacks on civilians to induce fear both on the Japanese and the Soviets. Not on military bases or political buildings, but places of Industry and commerce. We did that during a time of war mind you, but I neither condemn or excuse it. It has happened, it is over and done—and nothing can change or rectify that. Did those civilians deserve it? No. Without reservation or equivocation I proclaim no. Similarly, did those in the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, or on the plane which crashed in Pennsylvania deserve it? No. Never. That is not even a consideration in any rational and sane person's mind. No one deserves death or destruction.
To a lesser extreme no one deserves to be marginalized. No one deserves any bigotry or indecencies hurled their way. Never forget that before Auschwitz there were ghettos. Before ghettos there was fear, pain, and resentment. This is not a fallacy. This is not being extreme or out of touch with reality. It is a slippery slope of a logical progression. Where there is smoke there is fire. Nothing just happens. There is a reasoning albeit flawed or mad behind every action or lack thereof.
It is time my fellow Americans. Time to put away our fears. Time to be bold. Time to unify behind a cause of justice and equality. Time to make a statement that will ring clear. A new declaration. For the old, the young, for my generation, for yours. That America is still here. That we as Americans still love our freedoms and all else this great land stands for, and we will die for them if need be. We will cherish those we have lost. The fear-mongers and hate-mongers will fade, and a new generation will rise to the forefront.
It's the American way. That in its most simplest of terms means so much more. There are those who wonder why this is so significant. It is indicative of our immediate and far off future. Will we hold true to our values or will we cave in the face of adversity? It like many other points of conflict in these days pertains to an ideological war. One side or the other will prevail. Meanwhile, the best option is perhaps an amalgam of the two. But that is life.
Let the Mosque be built. If you disagree or if it would pain you then abstain. Do not participate in any way. But do not refuse any person their rights. When we start to do that we admit defeat. We submit to their whim. We meet their hate with hate. Their intolerance with further intolerance. We will condescend to the level of inhumanity and incivility shown that day by an isolated group. We cannot take their actions as indications of a whole. That is a huge fallacy. May it not be our fallacy. Build the Mosque.