August 17, 2010 
by Bob Higgins






The current hoo-hah over President Obama’s public statement of the obvious, that Muslims have the same rights as everyone else, to worship, to speak, to petition the government for redress, to get jiggy, and just about whatever Dude, has had the media, the Republicans and a few chicken shit Democrats obsessing through the weekend and deep into today, with no end in sight.
This is, as usual, being driven by the same gang of Republicans who really don’t give a damn about the siting of this Islamic cultural center but do care deeply about sticking a knife in every vulnerable patch of flesh that the President and his party expose to their efforts.
They hope only to drive a wedge between the electorate, at least the fraction of it that cares about this sort of nonsense and the Prez and Democrats in general.
It is also, of course, being fanned by the completely irresponsible news media whose only concerns are notoriety, ratings, advertising dollars and maintaining a shallow pretext of objectivity.
This sort of behavior is a constant with Republicans, creating a large issue out of nothing, finding a mountain where all that exists is a molehill and wasting the public’s time picking fly shit out of pepper.
As a personal matter I don’t give a damn where mosques, churches, temples or other religious shrines and symbols are built as long as they don’t tear down decent saloons in the process.
To me, some things are more sacred than any of this religiosity.
Tim McVeigh, you remember Tim, the self identified Christian and follower of Richard Butler’s Aryan Nation and Neo Nazi aligned Christian Identity movement? I’m not sure Jesus Christ would have taken much pride in that outfit.
After McVeigh, the Identity Christian and certifiable patriot blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City there was no outcry to get Christian churches away from that hallowed ground.
We don’t bar Japanese tourists from visiting the USS Arizona Memorial although 1102 of our Sailors are entombed there, having been dispatched to the bottom of the harbor by the Imperial Japanese Navy.
There is a large statue of Robert E Lee overlooking the graves of the dead of the Grand Army of the Republic as well as his own rebellious troops at Gettysburg. The dead don’t seem to care whose statues the pigeons defile.
I understand the objections expressed by many of the families of the victims of the al Qaeda attack but even among the families there is no unanimity on this issue, many of them welcome this project and have no objections to it.
I read Obama’s brief comments as a thoroughly responsible statement by a President seeking to uphold the law and the principles of the Constitution. By making an unequivocal statement on the legality and constitutional issues of the proposed construction, in the face of reprehensible and inflammatory commentary from the right, he performed an act of personal political courage.
For those who say that he walked the statement back a day later and waffled by saying that he did not, and would not speak to the wisdom of placing the Islamic cultural center at “Ground Zero,” that is a stance that he is required to take under the strictures of the establishment clause. He is not allowed to pick religious favorites before the law, nor is any one else in the government of the United States.
Attend the church of your choice but don’t try to sell it around here, on company time, is the damn rule, it was penned by James Madison 233 years ago.
The nutcase right, driven like a “B” movie lynch mob by ill intentioned ideologues Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, John Cornyn, Sharron Angle and others of that “ilk” and abetted by acts of cowardice from a few Democrats, is once again being used as a tool to create yet another red herring to distract from the fact that they are without solutions, vision, ideas and simply suck at governance.
Their only message over the last three decades has been “cut taxes on the wealthy,” while working overtime to divide the electorate into manageable factions and keep them warring against each other.
Have a border problem; amend the Constitution, someone burns a flag, rewrite the Constitution, Civil rights inconvenient, trample them, disagree with someone’s method of prayer, change the law, make it illegal to be different, that guy got a free tuna sandwich, take to the streets for God, country and the American way. Lock them up, throw away the key… cue Superman theme.
In my primitive studies of history and in my time on this tortured and often ridiculous planet I’ve encountered no force more destructive to human life, to peace and harmony between peoples than religion and its various true believers.
For more than six decades, from the Suez Crisis and the eternal struggle in the Middle East in my childhood, through the burning Buddhists in Saigon as a young man, down to the present, where the fire of sectarian zeal burns as brightly as ever, I have found little to admire in any of the world’s religions.
I quit looking a long time ago.
You might be wondering about the apparent incongruity of the photographs to the right of this piece but there is method afoot.
In the middle of this mosque deal, Obama spent a few days in the Gulf with his family in a combination mini vacation and Gulf coast cheer leading photo-op. While there he took his youngest daughter Sasha for a swim in the Gulf, off Alligator Point in St Andrews Bay just southeast of Panama City, Florida.
I’ve read a dozen mentions in the press of the fact that this is not in the “actual” Gulf of Mexico but an arm of it. The “event” for those who would make an “event” out of a dip in the bay with one’s child was photographed only by the White House photographer. (Top photo)
The middle shot is of a private beach at the Marriot near Alligator Point and only appears here because I am pining for palm trees.

The president’s swim happened out of sight of the news media. The White House released an official photo, but The Associated Press does not publish such handout images. According to the White House, the Obamas swam off Alligator Point, which is in Saint Andrews Bay, not the Gulf. From: Julie Pace, Associated Press – Obamas take boat ride during Gulf vacation

The photograph at the bottom is a screen capture from Google Earth and shows the proximity of Alligator Point and the “Actual Gulf of Mexico,” and the quarter mile wide inlet which connects the “two.” Click on the picture for a larger version and you will see that they share the same water, the same tides, the same fish and boats, and, now, the same oil and toxic Corexit. It looks to be about a half mile boat ride from Alligator Point to the “actual” Gulf.
Other reports from more rational sources are that rip tides kept the Obamas from the “actual” Gulf, exposing them to further pettiness and more steely knives.
Bob Higgins 
Related stories:
The Constitution and the Mosque
President Obama and Sasha Swim in the Gulf
With mosque remarks, Obama purposefully walks against the traffic

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