No sooner had I had my most recent Commentary on this issue typed up and ready for posting on 'The Green Papers', when Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-California) made a statement which can only be termed (at best) bizarre!
Here is what Mrs. Pelosi said (in italics-- my own comments on same are in [brackets] in normal typeface):
There is no question there is a concerted effort to make this a political issue by some
[OK... yeah... true enough... by people on both sides of the issue, though];
and I join those who have called for looking into how is this opposition to the mosque is being funded
You just can't make this stuff up!... hmmmmm... 2 heartbeats away from the Presidency, too!... ;-)
by the way: I just want to here very much thank politicians on both sides of this issue- as well as both sides of the aisle- for providing me with such wonderful material ([sigh!]-- if only I were a stand-up comedian... except that none of this stuff I have been writing about in now three separate Commentaries under the same title is really all that funny!)
But seriously, folks: while I have been most critical of the opposition to the Lower Manhattan mosque (in particular: the manner in which some in said opposition have gone about saying many of the things they have been saying) in all these pieces so far, I have never suggested that said opposition be investigated! For I have always presumed that those who have said that which I myself have criticized ever have the very same Freedom of Speech (and Freedom of the Press) that I myself have (and, in turn, I have the very same Freedoms of Speech and of the Press that they themselves exercise). Just as I have argued- in these 'MOSQUE MADNESS!' pieces- that those Muslims who wish to erect the Cordoba Center/Park51 project in Lower Manhattan have the very right to do so as part and parcel of their own Free Exercise of Religion under the Federal Constitution's 1st Amendment (as well as provisions of the New York State Constitution), I would also- and just as strongly- argue that those who are opposed to the project (and, thereby, also happen to be opposed to my own views on the matter, obviously) have the right of Free Speech and a Free Press also protected by the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (as well as, again also, the Constitution of the State of New York-- in this case, Article I, Section 8 of the Empire State's fundamental document which starts out with the following: Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for abuse of that right; and no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press.)
I have been highly critical of many of those in opposition to the Lower Manhattan mosque for statements I consider to have been unnecessarily offensive and/or insulting to Muslims in general and the proponents of the Lower Manhattan mosque in particular (for reasons I have already given elsewhere) but I hardly think mere offense or insult is, in and of itself, "abuse of that right" (someone offends or insults you?-- then deal with it! I had a 'vox Populi'er very recently ask me, as regards my own position on this issue, if I might be [amongst other things] a "fellow traveler" [his own words]- a comment that could fairly be taken to imply that he is wondering if I might even be an associate of al-Qa'eda [a ludicrous proposition so as to be most laughable]-- guess what? I dealt with it, and in a [well... maybe ;-)] humorous vein to boot!... as I wrote in my original Commentary under the above title, one of the side effects of Liberty is the right to not have to like, among other things, someone else's religion.... thus, anyone here in the United States of America who doesn't like Islam in general- or Muslims as a group- is certainly free to not so like it and/or them [the issue at bar is that the State cannot constitutionally take such a position-- that is: an American government can't not like, among other things, someone's religion-- pardon the necessary double negative here!])
Opponents of the Lower Manhattan mosque (whether anti-Muslim polemicist or no [some are not, but others are!]) have the same right to raise money, even form committees and political action groups and the like, in order to better put forth their views on the matter as do supporters of the Lower Manhattan mosque along with those actually behind the building of the Islamic community center on Park Place-- further: opponents of the Lower Manhattan mosque (9/11 families or no) have the same right to give money and other ancillary support to the campaigns of candidates for elective office of their own choice as anyone else does... so tell me, Mrs. Pelosi, just what is there to investigate?
If one is going to make- as Speaker Pelosi now has- a charge- however implied- that there is some kind of "under the table" financing of those speaking out against the Lower Manhattan mosque, then one has to be far more specific, as well as express, as regards such charges (and I would, likewise, expect those who would want the funding of the Cordoba Center/Park51 project to be investigated to be more specific and express as well as regards why that should be: merely calling it the 'Ground Zero Victory Mosque' [as if that were its actual name chosen by the developers and with all that is intended to imply] on the basis of some silly hypothesis that the Cordoba Center is solely intended to be some kind of Islamic Siegessäule ["Victory Column" in German] just isn't good enough either).
While I have (as has certainly been noted in the previous two Commentaries of mine under this title) been quite critical of the views of Congressman Peter King (R-New York) on this whole issue, I here find myself (however strange this might seem to those who have been reading these 'MOSQUE MADNESS!' pieces of mine so far) agreeing with him as regards his own take on Mrs. Pelosi's comments: Congressman King's response to the Speaker's statement was, in fact, most succinct and to the point (as well as on point!): This is an attempt to stifle Freedom of Speech...
yes, Congressman King: you're correct... it is!
A politician- here (as I have already said about other politicians I have criticized) one who has (as House Speaker Pelosi has) taken the Federal Oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States not just once or twice (though taking it but once would have been enough for someone currently holding Federal office to be beholden to that Oath), but many times over the course of her now nearly quarter of a century in the U.S. House of Representatives- even suggesting such a thing is most reprehensible and unconscionable, fully contemptible and condemnable (do I really need to add any more such adjectives to get across to the dear reader of this piece just how I feel about this?)
Makes one wonder what is going to happen next in this whole 'Mosque Madness' debate... stay tuned!
All in all, however, it all remains rather interesting... if only as in that famous ancient curse: "May you live in the most interesting of times".