Archive for August, 2010
I need an explanation. Maybe I am just not getting it. Maybe I am insensitive. Maybe I just don’t understand. But I need an explanation. I need someone to explain to me what is at the root of the issue with the building of Park51, the muslim community center and mosque.
A man named Mike Lupica, who writes a column for the New York Daily News says, “Ground Zero mosque debate is about common sense, sensitivity to 9/11 vics, not religious freedom.” In this column, written August 16, he spends a lot of words chiding President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg for trying to tell the American people what is right and wrong and very little explaining his thesis. He quotes Bonnie McEneaney, a woman who lost a loved one on September 11th. She says, “The question isn’t about [first amendment rights]. The question is about sensitivity. To me, this is solely about sensitivity, the feelings of the friends and relatives who lost loved ones on 9/11.” Then, in his own words at the end of the piece, he says, “Everything Bloomberg and Barack Obama say about this sounds right. But if the only constituency that matters here – the ones left behind by the victims of Sept. 11 – think they’re wrong, they are.”
He has two points that I can read here: 1) The issue is about sensitivity to the victims’ families. 2) If the victims’ families do not want Park51 built, then it should not be built. In other words, they get to decide.
Newt Gingrich, via Twitter, refers us to a column by Charles Krauthammer at The Washington Post. Mr. Krauthammer, again, cites reasons of “common decency.” He uses the common tactic of comparing the situation to Pearl Harbor or the site of a Nazi concentration camp. But the argument boils down to the same thing. When comparing to Pearl Harbor he says, “…while no one objects to Japanese cultural centers, the idea of putting one up at Pearl Harbor would be offensive.” But he doesn’t say why. Why would that be offensive? I think it would be a useful mental exercise to put into words the answer to that question. Why would it be offensive to have a Japanese cultural center near Pearl Harbor? I want to hear the answer to that question.
What are the “profound reasons of common decency” that prevent the building of an islamic cultural center near the site of the attacks on September 11th, 2001? I would like to read those reasons articulated.
What I am hearing right now is a response something like, “if you don’t know now, I can’t explain it to you.” But I think the argument deserves a real explanation.
What is under the surface of the opposition is not just opposition to the building of Park51, but opposition to Islam; opposition to the muslim faith. What else can be read from the arguments? One has to guess what is meant because the arguments are not fully formed. The arguments are incomplete. There has to be a reason that building the community center is offensive. What is that reason?
I am more than willing to have an open discussion with anyone who is interested. I want to know the answers to my questions. This is more about understanding the opposition to the project for me than entering into a debate about whether or not Park51 should be built. Because, I think that the First Amendment rights extended to all Americans are indisputable.
House Republican John Boehner says: “This is not an issue of law, whether religious freedom or local zoning. This is a basic issue of respect for a tragic moment in our history.” This skirts the issue again. He’s depending on people to just agree with him or not ask him any questions. Here’s the question: How does that respect look? (I assume by not building the community center.) Then the question is: Why does respect for that tragic moment in our history have to involve not building a mosque?
The Republican Whip, Eric Cantor said, “I think it is the height of insensitivity, and unreasonableness to allow for the construction of a mosque on the site of the World Trade Center bombings. I mean, come on.” Why is it insensitive or unreasonable? Please answer. I want to hear the reason.No comments
This year so far, I have doubled the number of 46r peaks that I’ve climbed by adding Wright and Algonquin to the list (where Cascade and Big Slide have been since last year).
The climb to Algonquin and Wright was a long and strenuous hike. I set out with Hillary, Jim W., Liz V., Kat M., and Tom K., early in the morning. We stopped at the Noon Mark Diner to pick up breakfast to go and sandwiches for lunch. From there we drove to the Adirondack Loj at Hart Lake. We arrived around 9:20 to find that the parking lot was already full so we had to park the car about .6 miles down the road. We got on the trail at about 9:40.
The first 2 miles were not too bad. Some moderate climbs and some rocky trails but all in all, not too bad. It was after that that things began to get a little tougher. There were rocky trails and steep climbs with not too much respite between steep sections. The scenery was nice at times as we passed small waterfalls and creeks. At one point there was a cool looking “stone cobble” that we rested near and took pictures at.
At about 3.4 miles we hit the junction where the spur trail to Wright turned off to the left. This is where it got quite a bit harder. The .4 mile climb to Wright peak was steep and fairly tough. After we broke the tree line it got very windy with the wind blowing very hard at the top. We reached the peak at about 12:30pm. We rested for a while and talked with the steward whose job it is to be at the peak from about 10 to 4 every day. He is there to educate the hiking public about the delicate flora at the peaks of the Adirondacks. It’s rare plant life that can take a long time to grow there and any trodding upon by hikers can be very damaging. After a healthy portion of trail mix and a wind-shielded rest we made out way back down the .4 miles to the junction.
From there we contemplated the .9 mile ascent to Algonquin. It was much of the same steep, rocky terrain that characterized the climb to Wright, only much longer. I was fairly exhausted after reaching the peak of Algonquin at about 1:50pm, but I was really glad to have reached it. the top was a wide and expansive bare rock peak. It was crowded with other hikers as this is a pretty popular hike and it was a Saturday. There was another steward there that we chatted with for a bit as we ate our sandwiches. The views from the peak were spectacular in a 360 degree view.
The way down was the same as up except that it hurt the knees a bit more. We moved faster though. Jim and Liz both rolled their ankles but Liz was ok. Jim made it all the way down on his own but his ankle was really swollen and black and blue when he got down. (He’s going to see a doctor today.) We reached the trailhead ad about 4:30pm.
It was a great hike but we were all very tired at the end. Check two more off the list!No comments