Author: Lake Toba

Furthermore! – Americans Believe in Sharing…Why Doesn’t the Right?

“Take our country back!” It’s a phrase I see often in the blogosphere. On its face, it might sound patriotic. But it’s not patriotic. It’s selfish. After all, if we’re “taking our country back” then someone has obviously taken it from us, We the People. Yet upon closer examination, its real meaning is far from patriotic. It says this country belongs to a subset of its citizenry, an “Us” that is somehow a victim of oppression if they can’t run everything their way. In sports, opposing teams share a ball, a field, and a set of rules. They share a desire to win. And mostly, they share respect for one another’s talent, and skill. I believe Americans get that. They understand sharing. And if you asked them directly, I imagine you would find that they agree that Americans should “share” their government with people of opposing views. We the People should include everyone in America. When you speak to Americans one on one, or create scenarios like ones created on the TV show: What Would You Do? you quickly see how willing ordinary American’s are to live and let live, to set aside personal prejudices to show a kinder face to their fellow citizen. In essence, they share. They willingly share their space in their small part of America with others that are different, even others who hold very different beliefs. They share...

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Furthermore! – NYC Mosque: Another Tea Party Teapot Tempest

The national brouhaha over the Ground Zero mosque is a right wing Tea Party teapot tempest. Newt Gingrich, Liz Cheney, and no less eminent a scholar than Sarah Palin warn that the mosque is an affront to America, or that its construction is a sign that the Muslim terrorists are winning, or America is being Islamified. I don’t think they have New York’s or America’s interests at heart. Rather I think they do this in order to advance their political agendas. It cannot be any more clear that this is precisely what they are in fact doing, when we examine some key facts about the “mosque”. Hendrik Hertzberg explained in The New Yorker that the “mosque”: …won’t be at Ground Zero. It’ll be on Park Place, two blocks north of the World Trade Center site (from which it will not be visible), in a neighborhood ajumble with restaurants, shops (electronics, porn, you name it), churches, office cubes, and the rest of the New York mishmash. Park51, as it is to be called, will have a large Islamic “prayer room,” which presumably qualifies as a mosque. But the rest of the building will be devoted to classrooms, an auditorium, galleries, a restaurant, a memorial to the victims of September 11, 2001, and a swimming pool and gym. Its sponsors envision something like the 92nd Street Y—a Y.M.I.A., you might say, open...

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