Talk may be cheap, but is it Free?

Posted: August 19, 2010 in Uncategorized

The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Recently, I have been disturbed by the media’s scrutiny and coverage by placing some circus hollering and whooping in carefully planned areas of our newscasts to draw attention to, and intentionally stir up controversy among Americans. I am referring to the Dr. Laura lady using the “n” word all loosey goosey on her radio show to the comments by Americans who are against the building of the Mosque close to Ground Zero in NY. To touch briefly on Dr. Laura’s poor, poor sense of judgment, I feel she’s an arrogant idiot. However, I wholly believe in her right to say what she did. Now that’s not to say I’m happy or pleased by her response to a caller’s question about black and white race relations, but she has as much right to say the “n” word as I do to write it, and write this blog post about her using the word. I may not like what someone says but I will die for their right to say it.

Now onto the next topic that’s been grating my cheese – the headlines I’ve been seeing and hearing, “Mosque to be built at Ground Zero”. Disclaimer: Some of you already know I’m a foreigner and that I don’t believe in organized religion.  Go ahead, gasp or insert any other sarcastic or intentional phrases or sounds of awe here … I’ll wait ☺ until you’ve had your moment and then I’ll tell you how this ties in with my post. Oh, and no we won’t discuss my beliefs in this post – maybe in another one, okay?

K, thanks….now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about why I believe that building a Mosque close to (5 blocks away from) Ground Zero in NY is fine. To tie into the Dr. Laura piece of this post, I will stand by the fact that the people who say (particular a middle aged male in hat on a newscast being interviewed by CNN and a woman in a striped jacket with a bouncy set of black shoulder length hair) that the Mosque shouldn’t be built because “Muslims killed Americans on 9/11” and that “Mosques are funded by terrorists” have the right to voice their opinions.

However, when I hear the same comments from people who should be held to a higher standard such as our elected leaders and those in a position of power who supposedly have years of education on how to be a leader and an esteemed thinker, I am saddened. Not only are they saying that we Americans should follow the U.S. Constitution only when it damn well suits us, they are also saying that they have wasted many years in Colleges that were supposed to train them on how to think logically and analytically.

Finally, I am happy that President Obama said, “Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone 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,” he said. “This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.” However, I was a little disappointed when he tapered that blow with the comment, “…not commenting on the wisdom to put a mosque there…” I understand the POTUS can’t and shouldn’t be tasked with fixing every problem in the country but I certainly appreciate his attempts and comments.

So who should be tasked with this decision? Yes!! You got it – the afore mentioned leaders and wonderfully Ivy league thinkers and decision makers!Since they won’t, I’ll add my thoughts here for you to comment on, or state why you feel differently, about a a mosque being okay …with regard to Ground Zero. How’s that for democracy?  ☺

1.       The structure is not being built at the heart of Ground Zero, nor is it next door or even two doors down.  In fact, it’s 5 blocks away!

2.       I refer to it as a structure because I want to point out that it is not only a Mosque, as the headlines would have you believe. This is also going to be a Community Center. Yes, there will be a library, place to congregate happily with friends and family, a place to go swimming, etc. There will be some restrictions based on the religion as to how these areas are built and organized but it’s not just a Mosque.

3.       Islam is a peaceful religion as is most religions. But let’s touch on some religious teachings for a quick minute. For those who read the Bible – yes, I’ll pick on the Bible for now…how many sections contain violent acts and suggestive language regarding violence is in that book? Also, aren’t there religious nuts who belong to a number of religions?  A religion on its own isn’t bad – the people who choose to murder, cheat, steal, etc. are bad for a society.

4.       Someone I know asked a good question of whether a Christian Church would fare the same in OK. I doubt it but if there are any churches willing to find out, please contact me!

5.       There are strip clubs within walking distance of Ground Zero. Oh, wait, strike this…so what? A business stimulates the economy and well, a strip club where men pay women to be either in a perceived position of power or submission (depending on which type of strip tease you prefer) is a healthier and waaay more wholesome establishment than a place where those dang fangled moslems are, right?Hmmm, Note to self: I should look into how many crimes have been committed within the 5 blocks around Ground Zero.

6.       Muslims as well as Christians, etc. and maybe a few Agnostics, died on September 11th. America is supposed to be a melting pot; a place where all races, religions and cultures are welcome. Remember “give us your tired, your poor…”? But hey, that’s saying a lot for a country who sometimes forgets to treat it’s own minority citizens with respect. 

Overall, I enjoy living here. This is my home. America has flaws but it’s a wonderful place. I believe that under it all, good still exists, people will see that all people of color and religions have the right to free speech and openly observe their religious beliefs, and that common sense and decency will reign. Yes, I sound like I just took a happy pill, but I have to believe that there is still good in humanity…and that this Mosque – that’s so much more than a Mosque will be built 5 blocks away from Ground Zero and even non-Muslims will visit it. Wanna bet on it? 🙂

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Comments
  1. Pam Reaves says:

    Hi Natasha,

    If I may, I would like to comment on the Dr. Laura controversy. While I understand your point on her right to said what she said, I believe that there are some aspects that are not being focused on, and one of them is how she handled the caller overall. First of all, the caller did not use the entire word(n**ger) while explaining her situation, she explicitedly said “the N-word”. As I listened to the tape, I heard one woman (Dr. Laura) attempting to dimiss the seriousness of the caller’s problem with her spouse’s family and friends. I can understand (though I dont like it) Dr. Laura’s use of the word on the first occasion. She was attempting to stress a point. However, in my opinion, when the caller called Dr. Laura to the mat, expressing her surprise that a woman in Dr. Laura’s position, would use the entire word (and I believe it was probably the tone in which she used the word), Dr. Laura felt as if she was being chastised by the caller and the bottom then fell out. At this point, Dr. Laura was angry and her anger manifested itself in using the entire word in a manner that would injure the caller for rebuking her. In my opinion, the ultimate insult was launched when Dr. Laura told the caller that if she did not have a sense of humor, then she should not have entered into an interracial marriage. Are you kidding me? What does a sense of humor have to do accepting racial slurs by your spouse’s family and friends? Unless the caller participated in some of these conversations as if they were humorous and sporadically pulled back and feigned insult on other ocassions, she has the right to be offended, and seek advise. Obviously she wanted advice on how to handle the situation with diplomacy, and probably out of concern for preserving her spouse’s relationships with his family and friends. However, he is not giving her the same considertation. If her mate was any kind of man, he would protect his wife from insult. No one has the right to make light of or dismiss something that insults one individual and counsel them not to be in a marriage if they cannot stomach racial slurs. I believe Dr. Laura is Jewish, and that she would be horrified (and rightfully so)if anyone suggested that she accept anti-sematic remarks as jokes.

    • Hi Pam 🙂

      Thanks for reading and for sharing your thoughts! I agree – there were points I didn’t elaborate on. Thank you for recapping some of them.
      Dr. Laura certainly came across as an angry, bitter person who’s conceited. A person of privilege born with a silver spoon and without a clue.

      Yes, she was harsh and seemed angry(ier?) with the caller after the break. I was surprised by her response as well as her inability or unwillingness maybe, to give helpful advice. I was so irritated that she said all the things she did…and that’s why I am convinced that she’s an arrogant idiot. Good point, I am happy the woman seeking advice called Dr. Laura out on the use of the “n” word. More people need to be called on their BS! Oh, and I believe you’re right – if she is jewish and was asked, no told, in the same manner as told to the caller, to accept an anti sematic joke, she’d have a cow. *sigh* Yes, defending free speech can make you want to slap someone…

      Recently, I listened to a few radio broadcasts where people of color were discussing whether it’s okay for anyone – black or white – to use the “n” word. While no real consensus was reached, I am happy to hear the topic being discussed in the mainstream media.

  2. Newjeru Onetruth says:

    This brings up key points that Dr. Laura herself brought up in a follow up interview about her comments on her station. But in response to your blog Natasha, there isn’t much to say. I whole heartedly agree with you about freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Why should a religion be punished, executed, condemned, or further more judged based on the actions of an organized terrorist group within its confines. For some reason in America we constantly look for reasons to treat others as outcast or to hold our own ideas and beliefs above those of others. If we are to stand by these “laws” and “regulations” that are put into place to uphold the morality of our country then why should individuals be able to pick and choose who can say what and who can build what where based solely on moral and just OPINION? It’s ludicrous to me. And I love your humor about the strip clubs and other miscellaneous activity that takes place around Ground Zero. It’s amazing that we seek to ignore the facts and only listen to what we are told. I guess that’s what they call “Freedom of the Press”. The power and authority to only print what they want you to hear.

  3. Charles says:

    Democracy is messy, but so far it is the best form of government yet devised by humankind.

    The issue of free speech is very difficult and if we truly believe in it then we must let all ideas contend.

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