Since Barack Obama was elected, the Left’s default reaction to any disagreement has been to scream “bigot,” “hatemonger,” and “racist” as loud as they can. In that sense, their reaction to the national outrage that has occurred over a celebratory mosque being built at Ground Zero has been entirely normal. They scream “bigot” first and think later (or in many cases, never).
However, because this is such a powerful issue and so close to the elections, a funny thing has happened: AFTER liberals defined opposing the mosque at Ground Zero as “bigoted,” Democrats across the country felt compelled to oppose it anyway. Moreover, those Democrats opposed it for EXACTLY the same publicly stated reasons as Republicans opposed the mosque.
In other words, Harry Reid, Howard Dean, Rudy Guiliani, and Sarah Palin all oppose the mosque at Ground Zero for exactly the same publicly stated reasons. In fact, you could take most of their comments about the mosque, mix them up, and it would be difficult to tell the difference.
Ironically, even the Democrats who oppose this mosque, like Howard Dean, are still claiming that Republicans who have EXACTLY the same position that they do on the issue are hatemongers. Don’t believe it? Well take a look at Howard Dean’s explanation of his opposition to the mosque in Salon:
First of all, I am not going to back off. The reaction did surprise me because most of the negative reaction had to do with defending the constitutional rights of the builders of the center. Of course I never attacked those rights; I explicitly supported them, as the president also did this week. Nor did I side with the Islamophobic rhetoric of Newt, Palin et al. There are a great many people in this debate talking past each other, as is often the case these days.
…Fourth, there are many Americans, about 65 or 70 percent, including many family members of the victims, who have very strong emotional resistance to building on this site. Some of them may have other feelings such as hate, fear, etc., but the vast majority of these people are not right-wing hate mongers.
…My argument is simple. This center may be intended as a bridge or a healing gesture but it will not be perceived that way unless a dialogue with a real attempt to understand each other happens. That means the builders have to be willing to go beyond what is their right and be willing to talk about feelings whether the feelings are “justified” or not. No doubt the Republic will survive if this center is built on its current site or not. But I think this is a missed opportunity to try to have an open discussion about why this is a big deal, because it is a big deal to a lot of Americans who are not just right-wing politicians pushing the hate button again. I think those people need to be heard respectfully, whether they are right or whether they are wrong.
A short Howard Dean translation guide:
* “the Islamophobic rhetoric of Newt, Palin et al.” (Republicans who say the same things I do)
* “right-wing hate mongers” (People who hold the same position I do, but are conservative)
* “right-wing politicians pushing the hate button again” (conservative politicians who agree with me on the mosque)
Ironically, the best friends bigots, hatemongers, & racists we have today are liberals. That’s because by constantly shouting those terms at people merely for disagreeing with them, they’re draining those words of every bit of genuine meaning that they have. That’s good news in the sense that accusations of racism in politics are almost universally false these days, but I wonder if these liberals have ever stopped to consider the “boy who cried wolf” effect? Whether they have or haven’t, not only are their false accusations insulting and divisive, they’re creating an America that is going to be MUCH LESS sensitive to claims of racial discrimination in the future than it was pre-Barack Obama. On the whole, that’s probably a good thing, but I tend to doubt liberals will view it that way.