Regarding the issue of building a new community center in lower-Manhattan:
New Yorkers are a peaceful people. Even in the midst of Post 9/11 hysteria, hundreds of thousands of us came out to protest the war in Iraq.
We are tolerant of different religions and customs. Clerks in department stores say, “Happy Holidays,” not because they are anti-Christmas or Christian, but because it’s inclusive and courteous given the diversity of our city. Go to Jackson Heights and you’ll see Indians and Pakistanis who share a culture, if not a religion living peacefully side by side.
We are even tolerant of the many visitors from other parts of the country who believe that “Ground Zero” is a tourist attraction.
But we have no tolerance for people like Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin who have taken it upon themselves to lecture us and bully us about how we should live. We’re also not too crazy about warmongering former mayors, who snicker at our “cosmopolitan” ways to prove their Republican street cred, weighing in on this either, and we despise the hypocrisy of suburban congressmen who have their own checkered history of support for violent terrorists.
In our city, building decisions are made locally by community boards consisting of people who actually live in the community. It’s none of your business where a religious institution wants to build a community center or house of worship. We think it’s bigoted and goes against our values to suggest to a church, synagogue, mosque, Buddhist or Hindu temple, etc. that they are not wanted or “don’t belong” on a particular street or in a particular neighborhood.
We understand your “values” may be different than ours. They may in fact be different from those of the founding fathers of our country, and you certainly have a right to hold those opinions however repugnant we find them. But we also have a constitutional right to tell you to shut the &*%@ up already and stop telling us how we should live our lives.