Our Maureen Dowd Madness

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[Publisher's Commentary]

It's not surprising that the Republicans, who are experts at rubbing salt into raw wounds, have chosen the proposed construction of a mosque and cultural center in New York City, near the site of the 9/11 attacks, as an issue they believe will win them votes in the November midterm elections.

One formerly disgraced Republican, Newt Gingrich --of Contract Against America infamy, and attack-Bill-Clinton-on-morals while cheating on his own wife and then abandoning her when she had cancer hypocrisy-- even declared  "Nazis don't have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington."

These are the folks who, as President Obama often observes, drove the car into the ditch and now want the car key back.

While stoking fear through religious and racial bigotry may appeal to some elements --especially the Tea Party and neo-Jesse Helms wing of the Republican Party-- the hate-mongering ultimately harms the United States' interests in the long run. Yet this type of statement is to be expected from a Republican like Gingrich.

Some stunning observations have also been coming from so-called liberal media pundits --honestly many of these columnists take themselves too seriously. They make assumptions beyond their level of wisdom.

One of the more obnoxious articulations of the mosque affair is "Our Mosque Madness," a column by Maureen Dowd in today's New York Times. She chides President Obama for first, correctly taking a stand in favor of the right of the developer of the mosque project to build near the location of the 9/11 attacks, then seemingly softening his position by questioning the wisdom of such construction.

This is of course oversimplification of what the president did. Dowd then outrageously claims that George W. Bush was clearer than President is, in declaring that the U.S. was not at war against Islam but against those who would pervert the faith to advance their own agenda through bloodshed.

George W. Bush clearer than President Obama on this issue? Really?

The same George W. Bush who promptly led the United States into Iraq when in fact the 9/11 attacks were hatched in Afghanistan? The same George W. Bush, who with his boss Vice President Dick Cheney, quickly squandered
the fund of international sympathy for the United States following the 9/11 attacks with their unilateral invasion of Baghdad while deriding the French and others who dared to ask questions as wimps and pacifists?

Was Dowd comatose when President Obama reached out to those of the Islamic faith during his inaugural speech? Was she still in a catatonic state when the President addressed the Muslim world during the celebrated Cairo speech? Where was Dowd when, again, President Obama reached out to followers of Islam, during his speech at West Point before asking for the troops build up in Afghanistan?

Recently, some in the so-called liberal community were indignant when Robert Gibbs, President Obama's press secretary, in a moment of frustration with the "professional" left for comparing Obama with Bush, wondered what type of drugs some of them were intaking. I was reminded of Gibbs' comment when I read Dowd's profanity today.

Dowd claims that Obama might have retreated from his position because some members of his own Democratic Party, including Senator Harry Reid, who is in a tight election fight, disagreed with him; Reid opposes the construction of the mosque near the site of the 9/11 attack.

Dowd is wrong in her conclusion.

Let's not even get into the part about how comparatively easier and less risky it was for President Bush to make statements targeting the Muslim world, as opposed to a president who was accused of being a closeted Muslim by the Republican zealots. Even then Bush's utterances come nowhere near what this president has said and done.

President Obama, is first and foremost, President of the United States of America. When he clearly stated during a White House function to celebrate the Ramadan observance that the developers had the right to build near the site of the 9/11 attacks as the Constitution of the United States guarantees, he was doing exactly what a president of the United States is supposed to do.

When he observed again, the next day, that the wisdom of the construction was something that the developers themselves needed to reflect upon, he was acknowledging the emotional opposition to the building by the families of those who perished during the attacks at the World Trade Center.

The president, in the first speech, stood up to defend the Constitution as he swore to do at his inauguration. Yet, the issue is painful for the family of victims, and so, he made it clear that he was aware of that with his second remarks.

This is what earned him the honor of being compared less favorably to George W. Bush in reaching out to the Muslim world, by Dowd?

I would like a whiff at some of that stuff Dowd may have.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

[email protected]  
For free classes in guerrilla journalism taught by Black Star News Publisher Milton Allimadi, call (347) 257-7330 or just show up with a pen and notebook or laptop every Monday from 6PM-8PM at True South Bookstore at 492 in Brooklyn's BedStuy neighborhood.

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