The emerging new political credo shaping up around the downtown mosque is “No, We Shouldn’t,” and it has strong bi-partisan support. On the left, Governor David Paterson was on WNYC radio’s “The Takeaway” this morning complaining that the situation is “getting more and more out of hand every day.” Since this is the governor speaking, you would think there must have been serious rioting last night in Tribeca, with crowds besieging De Niro’s new hotel and setting torch to high-end boutiques.
Actually, the only thing out of control is poll numbers which are falling for any official foolish enough to talk about 350 proud years of religious freedom. This is being accomplished by the Murdoch Empire and its axis allies who are having a daily ball stoking the fear machine. The yahoos are aided and abetted by the likes of Paterson who is fixated only on what office he should next seek. His path to future power, he has decided, includes fashioning himself as the great compromiser, something along the lines of the way politicians back in 1850 thought the Fugitive Slave Act was a smart way to cope with a nasty national divide over whether or not anyone had the right to own someone else.
Paterson told the show that he wants the mosque moved someplace that “would not be so close to Ground Zero that it seems to offend many people that live there and many people that don’t.”
Paterson’s ally on the right is Rudy Giuliani who has also been busy on the airwaves. The plan is “creating more division, more anger, more hatred,” he said yesterday on the “Today” show. “The reality is that right now if you are a healer, you do not go forward with this project. If you’re a warrior, you do,” he said. And here we thought all they were trying to do was build a church with a nice swimming pool and lecture hall.
Giuliani is all praise for Paterson: “Gov. Paterson has the best approach here. Nice compromise, find another place, have a beautiful mosque there. Don’t have it there.”
Naturally, Paterson, Giuliani, Murdoch, and all the other “Don’t Build It Here” advocates are staunch defenders of religious freedom and tolerance. As long as it’s in the right place.