I keep trying to think of how to put a post together for Pith about the whole “Ground Zero” mosque, but I just can’t quite figure out what I want to say. I am embarrassed for people I know, good people, who think it’s inappropriate for the community center to be built there. It’s like seeing your friend shit herself in public and not know it.
We have to endure all this bullshit “mama grizzly” rhetoric and angry tea partiers and all this “We are so badass and you have underestimated us” nonsense to which I just want to say, “Then start acting brave.”
But I have to say, I honestly feel like we have, as a country lost a public notion of the bravery of gracefulness and good manners when dealing with people different than us.
We have, as a country, forgotten how to be good hosts, or at least how to fucking pretend to be good hosts.
Even Jesus says he was a stranger and we took him in but we, as Americans are all “But not if you show up here, not if you want to come in by that entrance.”
I feel like, when people say “Oh they shouldn’t build a mosque there” that they might love our country, but they don’t have any faith in it. That they see it it as this weak, shameful thing we have to hide from others and only enjoy when no one else can see it.
And I am baffled by people who on all other occasions find New York to be a den of sin they can’t be bothered with who are all “Oh my god, I should have some say in this like I have some stake in it!!!!”
And I’m coming to suspect that there’s an imperial impulse in deference–that demanding people defer to some group, be it 9/11 families or the sensibilities of the heartland or whathaveyou without any other reason than “it’s the right thing to do” is fundamentally contrary to the aims of this great American experiment because it sets up a class of people whose whims dictate public policy without accountability.
We have, by and large, always lived that way. We are, by and large, trying to do something different here. I think it’s important to remember that.
So, that’s what I’ve got.
I’m deeply embarrassed by people who aren’t brave enough to let America be America.