I don’t pretend to be political. There are simply too many nuances to every debate which I don’t take the time to learn – motivations, underbellies, financial what-have-yous, etc. Without knowledge of these details, analysis and reasonable conclusions fall short. So I stay away. When I do enter into a discussion about politics I attempt to keep it in the realm of individual motivation. I enjoy discussing psychology.
Do I have an opinion on Park51? Yes. It should be built. The reasons seem obvious to me, but here is the one which I would argue has the most weight:
By not building it we step backwards as a culture.
On the surface this seems political, but it’s not. At the core it’s an issue of acceptance and progress. This is as much a facet of culture as it is of individuals. By not building Park51 we are succumbing to anger. Our sensitivity wants to lash out because we require a retribution that can never be satisfied. Am I saying that we should simply “get over” the 9/11 attacks? Absolutely not. What I am saying is we have no means to lash out against the true assailants, so we have reasoned to lash out against what we perceive to be an extension of them. Anyone who opposes the building of Park51 has fallen into this trap.
Would I say that to build in that specific location is in poor taste? Part of me wants to say yes. The connections between the proposed building and the 9/11 attacks are clear, and the poor taste is apparent. Unfortunately, the part of me that recognizes this has been misled. I am wrong. It only seems to be in poor taste due to a manufactured connection between Al-Qaeda and all other Muslims. It exists because of sensitivity, not truth. It is sentimental reasoning backed by patriotism. It seems noble, but it is damaging. The only connection between Al-Qaeda and other Muslims is religion. Thinking it is anything more is on par with saying, “All black people are thieves,” or “All Jews are cheap.” It is a glaringly irrational position. More so, it is irresponsible. It is nothing more than racial profiling.
We attach ourselves to these blanket statements because it makes things easy to manage. Our minds are lazy in this sense. It takes a little too much effort to accept that a given demographic is made of individuals. Individuals require individual consideration, and that is simply too much to think about. It is easier to assume that all Muslims are terrorists.
I stand by that this is the core issue. It is the intentional misunderstanding of an entire demographic for the sake of requiring a tangible enemy. It is education skewed by media and propaganda. Do I know all there is to know about the Muslim faith? Of course not. I know practically none of it. It isn’t pertinent to my point of view. What I do know is that extremists exist in all religions. To judge the common practitioner is unjust.
I will posit one more thing: how does it feel to know that some people from other nations believe all Americans are fat, lazy, amoral slobs? Not some, mind you, but all. Just something to consider.