As many have heard, some want to build an Islamic Center near ground zero in New York City. Contrary to what reports would have us believe, there already exists a location for prayer. The goal is to expand the facility and create a center that would focus on building peaceful relations between Muslims and the West. I will admit that before reading more on the topic, I tended to lean against the construction of the facility near ground zero because I felt they could build it elsewhere.
Then in steps Obama. When I first saw he was getting involved in a controversial local issue which he did not need to get involved in, I was frustrated and could not begin to fathom why he would insert himself and risk public fury. Then I continued reading and began thinking. Beyond the initial knee-jerk reactions, I began to see the significance and wisdom of getting involved. It was indeed an issue of national importance too, not merely a local issue to be written off for political expedience. Obama did, after all, promise a new kind of politics and decision making that would rely on our fundamental democratic values rather than political maneuvering.
It was actually Michael Bloomberg’s quote in the article linked above comparing Obama to George Washington that got me thinking: “Two hundred and twenty years ago this week, the Father of Our Country penned his famous letter to the Jewish Community of Newport Rhode Island or, as he called them, ‘the Children of the Stock of Abraham.’ President Obama’s words tonight evoked President Washington’s own August reminder that ‘all possess alike liberty,'” Bloomberg said.