Park51: The Ladder to Heaven
I was surprised to read that a sizeable majority of New Yorkers are opposed to the Islamic Community Center near Ground Zero.
We have changed since 9/11. We feel more afraid and more vulnerable. We are angrier and more resentful. We are less confident in ourselves. We are less optimistic than we were. We are less generous in practically every way – morally, politically and philanthropically.
We feel less resourceful and less competent. We have created banks too big to fail; dug oil wells to deep to fix; and have built weapons too powerful to use. Since 9/11 we have a general feeling that our performance has been sub-prime; that we can no longer dream big dreams, launch big projects or solve big problems.
We are angrier and more polarized than ever. Some bonds of trust Americans once shared have become junk bonds.
What is at stake in the debate surrounding the Islamic Center is more than the principle of religious freedom, although it is surely that too. What is at stake is more than the principle of political tolerance, although it is surely that too. What is at stake is more than a matter of geography – on what Manhattan block is it appropriate to construct an Islamic community center.
What is at stake is something even more fundamental: The dispute has exposed our weakened immune system; microbes of fear have invaded the lining of the American heart and are threatening to infect the body politic. We are on the verge of chronic heart disease. Like any patient with a chronic disease, we may be able to live fairly normally for even a long while, but sooner or later, it will debilitate us.
More at the link.