Grinds My Gears: The Cordoba House “Debate”

Posted: August 25, 2010 by RA in "The Media", Politics, Religion, Society
Tags: , , , ,

Sometimes, I hate people. I’ve been trying to stay out of this Cordoba House madness in the hope that by not feeding it in some way on my little blog, the shit would go away. But of course that isn’t the case, and shit’s starting to get real out here. In my opinion, all this anti-Islam furor is a better anti-American terrorist recruitment tool than anything bin Laden ever came up with.

So with that, America, I must enumerate what grinds my gears about this whole Cordoba House mess.




1. The Media made this happen.

Since the Barack Obama was elected, we’ve seen the country march towards oblivion, step by hateful, irrational, mouth-foaming step. When a bunch of nutjobs who watched (and barely understood) a YouTube video came around with a bunch of signs and teabags, the media should have covered them like the freakshow curiosity they were, rather than legitimize them like they did.

Now, eighteen months later, they’ve screamed, spat, and intimidated their way to their place as a legitimate political group and the  new Republican Party kingmakers, and the media has only itself to blame. Ratings-courting, combined with their standard quest for a first-grader’s definition of objectivity, led them to treat nonsenical rants about secret muslims, death panels, and Kenyan long-range missiles deployed with the expectation that they would be elected president in forty years, like credible policy points worthy of debate.

And now, after helping this country along the road to what may well be its own implosion, media outlets and commentators continue to refer to Cordoba House as the “Ground Zero Mosque,” knowing fully well that it’s neither at Ground Zero nor a mosque. Yes, I understand it makes for snappy soundbites and snazzy news graphics, but think about what you, CBS/(MS)NBC/ABC/CNN/FOX could provide in terms of actual, you know, enlightenment if you just referred to the proposed site as what it is — an Islamic community center with a mosque. And a basketball court. And a swimming pool. And a restaurant or two. You know, like a YMCA. What a difference a letter makes.

Sarah of Liberty2. “Peace-loving Muslims” are the ones who have to back down.

Why is it that whenever a dispute between a marginalized group and the majority escalates, the minority is exhorted to back the fuck up in the name of peace. When things began heating up from Selma to Birmingham, a chorus of “well-meaning” voices arose to tell black folks that, while equal rights were nice and all, it just wasn’t the right time, and they should step back for the sake of peace.

Few rational people reading this today would agree (openly, at least) with that sentiment. Yet, many are quick to wax poetic about how the best course of action would be for the Park51 developers (and yes, America’s Muslim population) to roll over in the name of unity and “sensitivity” toward the feelings of New Yorkers. No matter how irrational these feelings may be.

What grinds my gears most about this is the fact that the angriest, most insensitive, most inflammatory bullshit is coming from the anti-Cordoba side. Yet, they’re not the ones expected to back down — to forfeit what everyone agrees to be their constitutional right — in order to keep the peace!

Oh, and in possibly related news, this happened.

3. These bastards aren’t really New-Yorkers… But they kind of are.

Just like by now, we (should) all know that the Tea Party was anything but a spontaneous grassroots uprising of The People, we should also keep in mind that a lot of the anti-Cordoba noise being made at these protests probably isn’t from actual New Yorkers. Groups like FreedomWorks have been known to transport and feed rhetoric to the masses at their rallies, much like Fox News staffers were caught riling up crowds at one Tea Party rally in a sort of twisted outrage-inspiration-validation feeback loop of indoctrination. Who the fuck is to say these folks screaming about their precious landmark weren’t blasting it from “Real America” last year?

But on the other hand, who’s to say they weren’t grabbing a bagel at Zabar’s? Or gentrifying some Brooklyn neighborhood? Or taking the 2 Train to work at Condé Nast? Or [insert additional stereotypically NY-centric experience here]? My point is that whenever shit like this goes down, folks are all too quick to swear these bigots are from the Midwest. Or the South. Or the Young Republicans of America. No, my friends. Even with all your talk of melting pots, and hamfisted references to your multicultural circles and interracial relationships, you know the shit you’ve heard that one friend say that shocked you. That shit you’ve caught yourself thinking. That shit you’re kinda thinking now.

Instead of facing the fact that the city furthest up its own ass about its multicultural populace may well be more salad bar than melting pot, we come up with ways to blame those damn outsiders for fucking up our city’s image. In a way, we’re about as bad as those jingoistic, furrner-hating yokels we swear we saw just getting off the Greyhound at Port Authority.

4. Liberal politicians are pussies, as usual.

Another thing that grinds my motherfucking gears is that cumstains like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich are once again controlling the narrative on a national issue that really shouldn’t be an issue. They’re whipping their constituents into a frenzy over a mega-mosque from which the order will come, that 49 stars will be dropped from the flag in favor of one big-ass crescent moon, while Obama transforms into the thousand-foot tall Sharia Qur’anium — the huge-brained elitist Muslim grotesquery straight from Rita Repulsa’s lair.

Yet, the Democrats are, as usual, treating their scrotes like reusable grocery bags — trotted out every now and again, but for the most part, forgotten and folded away in a comfortable, well-meaning nook. From Schumer to Weiner to Obama to Patterson, key Democratic voices have been largely silent. Those who have spoken up have been ambivalent to the point of uselesness or have condemned Cordoba’s location in exagerrated, hand-wringing cries for peace (see below). The only figure to have stepped forward to take a decisive (and unwavering, okay Barack?) stance for Park51’s right to build in downtown Manhattan is NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, the rich-as-sin asshole who, thanks to his sinful riches and the unfettered access to power they give him, is seldom beholden to anyone. And he identifies as an independent.

At this point, I think more of us should.

 5. All this “Hallowed Ground” bullshit.

Listen, I’m well aware that thousands of people died on 9/11/2001, and it was arguably the greatest tragedy in the history of the United States. But I hate that it’s become this sacred calf whose name cannot be spoken without prayer and fasting. 9/11 and everything about it have become fucking hierophanies to be worshipped in and of themselves.

Yes, the WTC is the site of a great tragedy, and must be respected as such, but remember this: this oh-so-hallowed ground was once home to an Ann Taylor and a Nathan’s Famous. And the new one will probably be the final staging ground in the Great Battle for NYC between Starbucks and Duane Reade (not to mention some of the other establishments already in the neighborhood). So excuse the fuck out of me if I’m not convinced that a complex containing a space with actual religious significance doesn’t deserve to be anywhere near it.

You wanna know what actually is disrespectful of the 9/11 legacy? The fucking souvenir industry that has sprung up around it. You can buy everything from tour maps to figurines to photo books. To paraphrase a standard refrain in the Cordoba House debate, it would be one thing to sell them uptown, or even in Midtown, but to sell them right at the footprint of the still-unresurrected towers? Now that’s just disrespectful.

You wanna know what else is downright disrespectful of that day’s events? Plastering a huge image of the point of impact (the moment at which scores of people lost their lives, and shortly before thousands more would) on the side of a bus — a bus that will traverse the city in which this happened — because you’re opposed to the idea of Muslims saying a prayer after a basketball game.

So please, write a letter, make a phonecall. Do something to let your elected officials know they don’t stand much chance of staying that if they don’t take a stand against the tolerated oppression of the Muslim population in America. You don’t have to wait till your people are the ones under fire. You don’t have to be quiet in fear of your people being under fire again. Do it ’cause it’s the right fucking thing to do.

  1. Grinds My Gears: America?s Handling of the Cordoba House Debate…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  2. Queen of Swords says:

    I dread the day I have to come back and deal with all this bullshit…

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