It was something he certainly didn't have to do. But he did it anyway. President Obama stepped into the fray of the single most divisive issue pertaining to terrorism, healing of hurt, religious disagreement, civil liberties, political fracturing, racism, and national security all in one step.
How's that for bringing us all together?
Why a sitting president feels compelled to sit down to a formal Muslim dinner in the first place begs the issue of necessity. Although, to be fair, President Bush also held Iftaar dinners, in the State dining room. But in this case, Mr. Obama, why not send a nice little videotaped greeting like you did the Boy Scouts of America? I mean it's not like it was the 100th anniversary of anything, after all.
No, instead President Obama you felt compelled, not just to attend, but to host the little soiree and then make formal comments addressing the gathering.
Something along the lines of:
But let me be clear: as a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are. The writ of our Founders must endure."
Question, Mr. President, "Do you feel that all Muslims have a right to exercise their religion?"
How about those around the world who buy into the exact same brand of Islam that the killers of 9/11 practiced? Do you feel that they have the right to practice that brand of Islam in the United States? How about on the hallowed space surrounding Ground Zero?
Even the "moderate" practitioners of *that* faith seem to be having some real trouble coming to clarity on not encouraging their fellow Islamists to be so insensitive.
To date all of two prominent moderate Muslims have had the courage, and endured the death threats, to suggest the mosque be built somewhere else.
But you, Mr. President, we expected better of you, and Mr. Bloomberg, and Mr. Paterson for that matter. We expected those of you who work for "We the People" to have some sort of understanding of propriety, decency, and honor. At the very least we did, and still do expect you to demonstrate some modicum of competence: like pushing the pause button until we know who is funding the mosque, and where the money comes from.
Also a check into the known links between the front man for the effort and terrorist groups wouldn't hurt either.
What we especially don't need and wish you wouldn't waste our time on is meaningless public statements. Are you genuinely so bored that you've run out of things to comment on? Here’s a topic for you:
"Extension of the Bush tax cuts for small businesses so that we can tackle unemployment problems in our nation...” Discuss...
The truth is the Obama mosque is in large measure being favored and given preferential treatment to other communities of faith. How else can you explain why a small Greek Orthodox church in the same neighborhood--which existed prior to 9/11--still doesn't have clearance or permission to reestablish its presence in lower Manhattan?
Americans aren't unreasonable, Mr. President. If we could be really sure, because some investigative body did its job thoroughly, that the kind of Islam being taught in this particular mosque wouldn't be the same kind of Islam that is taught in radical mosques all over the world, then we'd find it somewhat easier to be soothed by your forked tongue.
The problem here is, no one's even claiming to have a desire to look into it.
In Islam there is a long standing practice of building a mosque, a temple, a shrine to Allah's glory upon conquered lands. I know that you and the rest of the "professional left" find it inconceivable that Muslims would dare to think that about America. But you've given them no reason to think otherwise.
You let your Attorney General spit in the face of the 9/11 families by attempting to bring the beasts currently housed at Gitmo back to my precious city to make some grand gesture. But the jihadists didn't see it that way. They laughed at you for your foolishness.
In fact, since you've been in office you've repeatedly apologized to the Islamic world for America's action of liberation to fifty million Muslims, you wholly redirected our space program to the unique purpose of making them feel good about how smart Muslims used to be, and on issue after issue you've sided with the views of the terrorists, even appointing several of the former defenders of the Gitmo detainees to your Department of Justice.
But this last week, even though no one was asking you to, you stepped into the most painful issue related to the hallowed grounds of 9/11 to date.
You chose sides, even when nobody cared if you did.
But now it's in your file. We will discuss during your performance review in November and over the next two years.
And now you own it!
The Obama Mosque of Lower Manhattan... Hmmm...
It does have a ring to it.
Kevin McCullough is the nationally syndicated host of "'Baldwin/McCullough Radio"now heard on 212 stations and columnist based in New York. He blogs at The Kind Of MAN Every Man SHOULD Be is in stores now. And host of "The Kevin McCullough Show"weekdays 7 a.m. - 9 a.m. ET on Sirius 161.
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