Friday, September 10, 2010

Nine-Eleven, Went to Heaven

Saturday marks the ninth anniversary of America's slow decline into insanity.

The Associated Press story commemorating 9/11 this year, which The Herald will run Saturday, notes that the first eight anniversaries of the terrorist attacks were marked by somber, politics-free reflection. This year, it's quite a bit more zooey, contentious in ugly ways, with emphasis on a "Ground Zero mosque" and a kook who wants to burn the Quran.

Unfortunately, AP fails to mention that both the addled controversies were fueled by a national media that have apparently become increasingly comfortable raising daft rants up a flag pole in the name of advancing the "national debate."

From the outset, the nutjobs who whine about Feisal Abdul Rauf's proposed community center in Manhattan should have been ignored, just as the drooling Islamaphobe cult leader who poses as a Christian in Florida should be ignored.

The story of Rauf's community center was first written in the New York Times much earlier this year and was greeted with a collective yawn by New Yorkers — until political opportunists threw their rhetorical spin into the issue. And the next time you hear Newt Gingrich expound on the notions that government has no right to impede religious freedom or that Americans should be free to do whatever they wish with their property, remember that he unabashedly tried to bully the president of the United States to intervene to prevent construction of the center.

And why the media chose to follow the antics of the loon in Florida is beyond imagination. The guy has about as much credibility as the babbling liar at the next barstool. (First hint of lunacy: He's got a church in Florida.) But now the Rev. Terry Jones has generated a level of media cred and national publicity that a book deal is certain to follow.

The reflexive lurching toward the lunatic fringes bent on dividing us is unbecoming. And it should stop immediately.

In the meantime, the rest of America — the rational super-majority — will remember the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001, and the many thousands of heroes involved in the rescue and recovery efforts. We will reflect on a day in which all of us stood unified in mourning and resolve.

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