Monday, August 23, 2010

hey, that's great

There’s been a lot of controversy over this proposed Ground Zero Mosque lately. Except, of course, it’s not exactly at Ground Zero. It’s a couple blocks north, at 51 Park Place.

Our address? 53 Park Place.

Having a national debate as a next-door neighbor has been very interesting. And by interesting, I mean supremely annoying.

Of course, nobody seemed to care about the community center/mosque/ex-Burlington coat factory back in December. But now that elections are coming up? It’s been a steady stream of news vans, overly-coiffed newscasters, and weirdo protesters with very little drawing/spelling ability.

The newscasters are usually there until roughly midnight, which means, at the very least, our late night walks with Franny are blindingly well lit. It also serves to remind us that, according to Fox news, Franny’s apparently been peeing on hallowed ground for the last year and a half.

But none of that was any match for the powerful annoyingness that was the anti mosque demonstration yesterday. Luckily, we were properly forewarned and left town, heading up to my friend Kurt’s house in Newburgh for the day.

It was, by all accounts, exactly as advertised: loud, dumb, and ugly.

And at the risk of getting all political here, I’ll just say this: the towers were not attacked by a religion. They were attacked by a small group of psychos who are slavish to fanatical dogma.

But, of course, that’s Micky Mouse stuff compared to our own corporate sociopaths; the people who are actively poisoning our food and water, f*cking our financial system, taking out life insurance policies on ailing employees, and spraying cancer all over the Gulf of Mexico, all in the name of Corporate America’s one true religion…

The Bottom Line.

Sorry to get all preachy. It’s just that, when it’s so in your face, it’s hard to forget that this is exactly the kind of bullshit controversy drummed up to distract people from actual problems just before elections. The bad guy needs a face, and it really helps if that face looks different than ours.


Mom101 said...

Thanks for speaking your peace. Thanks for reminding us that really, this is not a New York issue.
And thanks for that photo which totally freaking blows my mind.

Amanda said...

I am constantly awed by how quick things can become a part of the 24 hour news cycle and how I am often sucked into believing it's news. That is seriously lousy that you are stuck in the issue of the moment.

I appreciate your honest, friend-down-the-street take. Because I can, I'll take my morning coffee sans network hysteria for the next little while.

Mamma San said...

Thank goodness I can read measured, thoughtful comments from sane folks like yourself. Sometimes I think we're living in a Second Dark Ages. Only time will tell.

MDTaz said...

I can't imagine what a nuisance it must be to have the any media outlet camped outside your apartment, but that one especially. Bon courage and I hope that some form of sanity returns to your neighborhood soon.

Julie @ The Mom Slant said...

And here I thought I was pissed off by the spin cycle.

Thanks for the personal perspective on what I can hardly believe is still making news. I hope the neighborhood is turned back over to the residents soon.

Jaelithe said...

Thank you for sharing your story. Wow!

Lulu said...

I have to admit, I was one of the people up-in-arms over the proposal to build a mosque "at Ground Zero". I was indignant and convinced that somw idiot was in charge of allowing this to happen "up there" in NYC. I live in Alabama, so it's not like this impacted my life other than hearing about it on the news and radio and reading about it in the paper. Yet I was livid that this would be allowed.

Then I read (probably from some level-headed NYC resident like yourself) that the "cultural center" site was actually two blocks away. That it wasn't just a mosque, but a swimming pool and all sorts of other stuff (can't quite remember what all right now). That they've kind of been there all along, just no one cared until an election year and Fox News and politics got involved.

The kicker for me was the fact that it's TWO BLOCKS AWAY from Ground Zero. That there's a strip club just as close as this center will be. Then the anger and indignation went away. I'm all for freedom of religion, as long as you hurt no one else in following your religion. That goes for every religion, even my own.

I've always known there are Muslims and there are the so-called Muslim Extremists, those who wish everyone who isn't like them dead. I've worked with many Muslims who were very nice people and who would never hurt anyone based on ethnicity or creed or gender.... I've had a Muslim say his prayers (is that the correct way to put that?) in my personal office before, and didn't feel the slightest bit of fear or anything else. He was just another human, following his religion's teachings. He was not intent on harming the "infidels".

All this was to say thank you. Thank you for trying to spread the word. Thank you for trying to put the truth out there. Thank you for sharing the real attitudes of some of NYC's residents. Everyone wants to guess and assume how y'all feel about this, but I don't think many have bothered to ask the people from that neighborhood how they feel about it. I doubt if many of the people who survived being there, or the family members of those who didn't, have been asked for their opinion. So thank you. I know I've changed my mind, and I hope many others have, also.

I sure hope the protests and news coverage in front of your home die down. Soon. I know it can't be fun. Makes me glad to live in the country, where nothing ever seems to happen like that.

Jaelithe said...

Wow. I know I'm late to this post -- just came over from Liz's blog. Thanks for speaking out. As angry as the anti-mosque rhetoric makes me from afar, I can't imagine what it must be like from next door.

(BTW yes, there really are two of us. Hi other Jaelithe!)