Very nicely put in this post here.
I’ve turned big-time on this story. Before I was willing to give both sides the benefit of the doubt.
But a few weeks later, I can’t take it anymore.
The hate. The sheer mindless hatred being exhibited by these people. Every second sentence coming out of the mouths of those opposed to “Park51″ is hypocritical nonsense, inflammatory rhetoric barely hiding the racist, sectarianism ideology behind it. It really has become an argument defined as “freedom of religion is fine except when we, the majority, don’t want them to have it.”
This is very much a zero-sum issue. You either support freedom of religion or you don’t. You can’t say you support the right to worship, than tell them “except there”.
In the last 10 years or so, the decade when I’ve had an interest in foreign affairs, I’ve gone through mixed feeling towards America. Shrugs and secret grins about Clinton. Disapproval of Gore’s sour grapes turning into confusion over how he didn’t become President. Absolute non-interest in GWB for the first year.
Sympathy and support on that dark day in September. Approval of the Taliban overthrow and the invasion of Iraq. A gradual turn in that thinking towards “It was an awful mistake to go, but you have to finish the job now.”
Annoyance when Bush was re-elected followed by non-interest till he was nearly gone. Bafflement at support for Sarah Palin. And getting caught up in the ‘hope’ train along with everyone else.
Then gradual disillusionment with American politics again, this time due to the right, now increasingly radical, racist, uncaring, religiously bigoted. Due to a Democratic administration that seems content to keep the status quo going.
I say all this because one emotion I never felt strongly was shame. Disgrace. To be like that. To have to live with people like that. To tolerate such intolerance.
I’ve been angry, scornful, annoyed, sympathetic and uninterested in America over the last 10 years. I look at the American Constitution, read about the men who wrote it, who inspired others around the world, including my nation, and all I think is “How did you ever become this?”
For the first time, really, I am just embarrassed for the country.