Symbols Matter, said They….

The selective empathy of the Left never ceases to amaze me. Progressives are so-o-o sensitive…IF you are on their list, that is. Otherwise, step aside please, they DO NOT CARE.

The Ground Zero Mosque debacle is a case in point. (yes, I know I’m not supposed to call it that, but no checks from the AP have been turning up in my mailbox lately, if you get my drift.) The whole fiasco has got me remembering, for one thing, the Writhing-on-the-Ground progressive angst toward sports teams with Indian (oops I mean..”Native American”) names not so long ago. To hear our liberal friends tell it, children were going to be scarred for life by Monday Night Football. Quick, cover their ears!

“Symbols matter” they told us then.

And speaking of the “Indian/Native American” designation (which I kind-of was)…I was a docent at our local Art Museum during the early days of the Terror Reign of Political Correctness….a museum where we are lucky to have a very significant collection of..ummm..THAT art. I’m not going to say we were herded into reeducation camps…or taking from our homes to be deprogrammed…but one could have exploded into a barrage of four-letter words at the visiting Fifth-graders and not be subjected to the withering disdain a slip into “Indian Art” would call upon you. My one friend… “said it”… one day, and immediately became so rattled that she next told the children and their chaperone that Winslow Homer’s “Snap-the-Whip” was “essentially worthless.”

She meant “priceless.”

But that was a Docent misdemeanor…compared to the High Crime of saying…”Indian Art.”

Let me insert here, I did not resist these new protocols. Why? I don’t want to ever hurt anyone if it’s in my power not to…that’s why.

If somebody’s symbols matter, I’ll make them matter to me.

Now, years later, we are all accustomed to what we can and cannot say or do… that “hurts people.” If I am on a committee, you must call me a ‘chairperson” or you are disrespecting my gender. We cannot have crosses or nativity sets during “Xmas” or people may be driven to substance abuse. We must never forget the horrors of the Holocaust and slavery.

But September 11, 2001?

Oh that.

Come on.

It’s been ten years. Get over it already.

To our progressive Elites, it is petty to even reference that rogue “crime” when discussing the now renamed…Park 51… Mosque project. That “crime” probably had more to do, they think, with helmeted sports taught in elite privileged academies somewhere abroad than…ummm…religion. Objection to the mosque is…Islamophobic, Racist and all the other Progressive Bad Names. Besides, the progressive Huffington Post tells us breathlessly…this Mosque will be America’s first GREEN. Mosque. My God, we should tear down the White House to build THAT!

The One We Have Been Waiting For…weighed in on the Mosque supportively the other night, when he was speaking in front of a group from the Muslim community. But, in front of reporters the very next day…he clarified that he was just trying to inform the general public that…from what he learned at Harvard Law…building the Mosque on land the Mosque owned was not illegal.


This is why it is so good to have a Constitutional scholar as President for a few years. He can help us understand complex concepts like that.

And our current President, like all progressives, styles himself as the embodiment of empathy. He wants to fix our “mean” country. He wants to tell everyone on our behalf that America is sorry. Sorry for everything. We are, in his eyes,in fact, a sorry people. Hasn’t he been flying around the world incessantly bowing to show how sorry we are and sensitive he is?

So…how come the 9-11 families don’t make the Obama-compassion cut? Where are his and all those other progressive bleeding hearts when it comes to the broken-hearted families of 9-11?

Remember them?

The families of the first-responders who rushed in to burn or be crushed to death beneath the force of collapsing skyscrapers;

The families of young people who threw themselves screaming from the tower windows to escape incineration;

The families of the airline captives who watched throats slit with box-cutters and then were flown erratically for 30-45 horrific minutes before being slammed at 400mph into steel or solid ground;

The families who got those terrified heart-destroying cellphone calls from their trapped loved ones that they will NEVER, never be able to fathom or forget;

The families who searched in the dust and yellow smoke for days, pleading for news of a son, daughter, father, husband, mother.

Remember them, Mr. President? The folks whose pain you now debase so you may pander politically at your dinner parties. What about some sensitivity to THEIR symbols?

Maybe Mr. Obama just needs a refresher course. I can help! Personally, I read EVERY 9-11 obituary in the New York Times memorial obituary series after the attack. My daughter was in the City that day. I felt I had a moral obligation to read, and feel, and cry for those who suffered to death and those who suffered now ….to live without them.

Some crafty partisan adviser should tell Mr.Obama before he educates Americans again on the real estate law or morality or anything…he should damn well educate himself FIRST about the horrific personal losses of that infamous day.

Start here..….the Portraits in Grief.

So why, Mr. President, do the 9-11 families deserve no sensitivity?

And why does the Imam and his congregation not understand?

This Mosque is supposed to be built to foster understanding. It’s purpose is supposed to be creating inter-faith bridges. It is supposed to educate and heal. It is supposed to represent a great religion.

Therefore, I would advise the Imam…stay true to your goals. And after taxpayers have picked up your travel bills and you get home, tell your friend Obama…he did you no favor. The average American has twigged to his hypocrisy…his selective sensitivity. The average American knows what the “smart move” is… much better than their supposed “brilliant” President:

Here’s the smart move: move the Mosque.

MOVE…to make an astoundingly generous step toward the blended community you say you seek. MOVE…to show the depths of your religion’s compassion and community spirit. MOVE… to put the lie to every accusation toward your faith and sense of fellowship that has been made. MOVE…to prove this Mosque is a testimony to a powerful loving faith.

In a way, the Muslim community in NYC has been given a great gift…an amazing opportunity.

Nothing any architect can design or contractor can build will remove the memory of 9-11, or now,of this contentious controversy. However,acknowledging the real pain that rogue elements of their faith caused the 9-11 families and all of America…by moving the Mosque…will be an unforgettable moment: one fine, imposing manifestation of human compassion. In a sense, it will be the perfect antidote to the poisonous, evil “stereotypes” those murderous hijackers inflicted on their own faith.

By yielding to move…the Muslim community conquers every misconception about its faith. Every Easter, in my faith, we remember the paradox of Jesus, God’s son..stooping to wash the feet of his disciples. The paradox of divinity and abasement is a powerful, unforgettable lesson. The most prominent PR firm in the world could not have created a more stellar opportunity for the Muslim community to define themselves in the most sympathetic, and successful terms. Bend…to soar. Give…to gain tremendously.

This is not an issue of real estate law, or fodder for political pandering. or a statement about the rights of religious freedom.

Symbols matter.

This is an opportunity for great empathy.

Or an occasion of blatant, selfish emotional infamy.

The Muslim community of lower Manhattan is about to define itself…and, by extension, its faith.


3 Responses

  1. I too read every one of the obituaries in the NY Times. I can remember crying to the point that there were no more tears. My husband was supposed to be at the World Trade Center that morning for a meeting….it was only because I had thrown a temper tantrum earlier in August about the fact that I could not do two different Back to School Nights for our children plus attend the Back to School Night at the junior high school where I then taught alone that he reluctantly made arrangements to meet colleagues at a different time. I had a brother who was in Boston who was scheduled to fly out to the mid-west that morning….his flight, later in the morning would be grounded and he would be able to rent a car to drive home. My cousin, who worked at the Pentagon in the wing where the plane was flown into was not at her desk that morning – she had a meeting in Crystal City.
    That September 11th morning, I was teaching my American history class when the math teacher came by to tell me that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center (the first). My class ended soon after and I had a planning bell. I turned on the television in my classroom only to find that the cable connection which gave me the ability to get tv channels had not yet been hooked up (our school had undergone extensive remodeling over the summer). However, I managed to string a paper clip wire to get grainy reception only to see a clip of a second plane flying into another tower. My students came in and we spent the remainder of the day, like many others, glued to the television, barely able to tear ourselves away and yet afraid to watch as to what would happen next. Little did we know that above us in the sky the fourth plane was slowly making a wide turn heading toward its intended target, the Capitol, before being brought down as its brave passengers decided they would not go to their deaths as sheep to a slaughter.

    My husband had several colleagues who died that day. One a young man with young children. I have often thought how fortunate I was – I could have been a widow with four teenage children, lost a cherished sibling who was also a father of a young child, and a cousin who is like a sister. As I read those many obituaries I kept thinking that those could have so easily been the story of my family’s loss but for the grace of God.

    And yes, I understand that there is religious freedom in this country – and that is a good thing. But what cannot be codified but what all should remember, whatever their religious inclinations, is that just because someone has a right to do something does not mean that it should be done. That Muslims have the right to build their mosque at 531 Park Place is undeniable. Is it the right thing to do? Here, I would say that the answer is no. There is no over-riding reason why it should be built there as opposed to another place in the city. While the imam himself may be a religious leader who desires to build bridges between faiths, the fact is that the islamofascists see the mosque/cultural center as another victory in their war against the West – using the very freedoms that they decry as a means of achieving a propaganda victory. It is remeniscent of Goebbels speech to the Reichstag in 1930 when he said that the Naziis would use the very freedoms that they hated in the Weimar Constitution to destroy the Weimar government. It would behoove those like Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama to go back and study that period of history. I do not believe that it is too far off the mark to see in the President of Iran as well as in the leaders of Al Quada the same mindset that one saw in Hitler, Goebbels, and Himmler. Obama is quickly becoming another Chamberlain (or for that matter a Daladier). We need a Churchill who is unafraid to utter the truth.

    I find these nights that I sleep uneasily…there is a cold dread that awakens me in the wee hours of the morning. I try to tell myself that it is nothing more than the usual fears that I have as Mr. cks gets ready to embark on his European jaunts. I am always a little fearful……he dismisses my concerns. It is his job and it must be done and there is no reason to worry….and yet…….

    We must never forget what happened that clear, sunny September morning. I try to make sure that my students understand that that day is a watershed in American history… changed early that morning. The safety that we took for granted was gone – I doubt that it will ever return.

  2. A sense of outrage is still very much allowed those of our fellow citizens (and even their non-citizen friends) who assume that everyone to the right of Keith Olbermann carries a wallet photo of Bull Connor. This “sophisticated” outrage most often shows itself as a sneer—as a condescending grimace at the patent stupidity of tea-party types and their allies, who “of course” cannot grasp the beautiful nuances of one-worldism or the ineffable delights of post-modern critical theory. Ronald Reagan’s remarkable foreign-policy successes had for awhile kept the smugeratti in the shadows. But an educational establishment and a political class awash in multicultural shibboleths and dedicated to the proposition that America cannot be good as long as anyone anywhere dislikes us can be counted on to stick it to the Gipper and his knuckle-dragging epigone whenever it senses grumbling among the peasants down on the farm.

    James Bowman, media critic of “The New Criterion,” takes up the cudgels on behalf of the dimwitted rustics, most of whom know nothing about farming but perhaps more than they’d like to about the herd animals of the ruling class and the so-called intelligentsia:

    “One of the principal memes of the left in the renewed culture war currently being fought on the op ed pages of America over the Ground Zero mosque as well as gay marriage and other matters has to do with the stupidity of the right. This must be why, as Maureen Dowd believes, ‘the country is having some weird mass nervous breakdown’ on account of ‘disinformation’ from the right. Something like two thirds of the American people are too stupid to recognize self-evident absurdity when they see it — since, according to the increasingly shrill ‘progressive’ consensus, the only arguments at their disposal in opposing the mosque are absurd ones. And if eighteen per cent of the American people are now supposed to think that Barack Obama is a Muslim, it stands to reason that that figure should be a significantly higher 31 per cent among the stupid party. I don’t believe it, myself, either about the President or about Republicans, but the media is so obsessed with what is clearly an outlying poll number because it backs up their core belief that Republicans are stupid, the highly gratifying corollary of which is that they themselves are smart for being able to tell them so.

    It may, of course, be so, though the stupidity of those — like Richard Cohen in today’s Washington Post — who keep insisting that the battle of the mosque is all about tolerance and freedom of religion seems to me more shameful. It is one thing to be mistaken on a matter of fact. At least it is understandable if lots of people think that someone whose middle name is Hussein and who has engaged in ‘outreach’ to the world’s Muslims even when this involves criticism of the (mostly non-Muslim) country he was elected to lead, might himself be a Muslim. But what are we to say of those who can see on the part of those who disagree with them nothing, as Mr Cohen does, but ‘the arguments of bigots, demagogues or the merely uninformed’? In such cases, stupidity is the charitable explanation; those of a less kindly disposition would call it malice and dishonesty. As Mr Cohen says, ‘This is not a complicated matter.’ For the smart people who think us opponents of the mosque are stupid, of course it’s not a complicated matter. But for those of us who think it is a complicated matter, the cavalier denial that it is complicated is, well, stupid.”

    For more from Bowman, see

  3. cks, I certainly identify with your very moving post. And I too experience the “cold dread” these days. My husband, son and daughter are on planes very, very often…and that includes internationally. I felt it in NYC this time too…”by the pricking of my thumbs, something evil this way comes…”

    I pray we are just overreacting to a government that seems frighteningly inept.

    Benny, Cohen’s article made my blood boil…but I enjoyed Theissen’s piece in WAPO yesterday. Here’s a link in case you missed it…

    “Much attention has been paid in recent days to a poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life showing that 18 percent of Americans incorrectly believe that President Obama is a Muslim. But the results of another Pew poll on religion released last December were far more shocking. It turns out that 36 percent of Democrats claim to have communed with the dead, and that 19 percent believe in casting a curse on someone using the “evil eye.” Think about that: According Pew, more Democrats believe in the “evil eye” than Americans believe Obama is a Muslim.”


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