A site of endless curiosity

In search of a Spine; In search of Character; In search of a Point of View

with 3 comments

The really great thing about issues that inspires passion on one side of an issue or the other is that it forces people to reveal their true selves and their character.

Some people will take a stand; others will be will be paralyzed; some will run.

Thank god for such issues.  For otherwise, how would we know who these people really are?

On the issue of building a mosque near the site of the 9/11 tragedy in New York

From President Obama

“I was not commenting
and I will not comment
on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there. …”

Here is what Aristotle knew 2,500 years ago

“Criticism is something we can avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, being nothing.”

Some think that the only way to develop the ability to form character, have a point of view, and take a stand on very difficult issues  is to be placed in these situations over and over again and survive.  Taking a stand is a learned and practiced behavior developed over many events over long periods of time. 

Without character, without a point of view, people say nothing, do nothing, and they are nothing.

Read a related article – What Makes Men


Written by frrl

August 18, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. “Sensitive site” is a key phrase in this situation. It only became a sensitive site because the media portrayed it that way. The initial reports led people to believe it was on the WTC site and strictly a mosque, which wasn’t true. NYC is one of those cities that can have a mosque, strip club, deli, synagogue, day care center, and leather bondage shop all on one block next to each other, and no one thinks anything of it. Obama would be in a better position to respond if the outrage was rational. It quite simply isn’t, though arguably it’s the President’s duty to respond to irrational people and situations.

    I’ve tried to decode Obama’s statement myself to determine just what his opinion beyond the Constitution may be. Despite his shortcomings he is intelligent and logical, and he doesn’t succumb to emotion. Upholding the First Amendment may very well be his opinion in this situation. Though the “wisdom” comment hints at more.

    I don’t think Obama is thinking about reelection in his commenting or lack thereof. If he did he would simply say he supports the mosque because opposing it would garner him support of perhaps 20-40% of voters (the right and right-leaning moderates), in my opinion. But 20% hate him whatever he does and he’s not going to gain any brownie points to make opposing the mosque worthwhile for reelection.

    One thing I do question, though, is if Obama was protecting a Christian church citing the First Amendment, would there still be calls for him to air an opinion? I seriously doubt it.

    The whole situation leaves me confused as to where the right sits in regard to the Constitution. Before this event, quoting it chapter and verse was the thing to do. Now apparently emotion and feelings can override it. But as Bush once said, it’s just a piece of paper….


    August 22, 2010 at 6:00 pm

  2. It is the President’s job to uphold the Constitution, not comment on where religious facilities should or shouldn’t be built. This is separation of church and state and has nothing to do with a lack of character or a spine. It’s what this country is about.

    Your quote about criticism and doing nothing is puzzling. Obama made a statement that it was their right to practice their religion and the criticism from the media and political opposition was quite apparent. The stand was for religious freedom and the First Amendment, a fact that has escaped many people.

    Is it acceptable to place a mosque two blocks away from Ground Zero in a vacant coat store? If our society was rational and given correct and complete information, and they had an understanding of religion outside of Christianity, yes. Unfortunately that’s not the case with our largely ignorant and propagandized population.

    But here’s the real deal: people are quite simply upset that Obama didn’t comment on the wisdom of the mosque because they were denied yet another opportunity to criticize him.


    August 22, 2010 at 3:54 am

    • Thanks for your considered comment

      Here is the conundrum for Obama. Obama and any politician for that matter, to the extent they want to be re/elected, cannot afford to disenfranchise any major voting bloc. If he takes some explicit position then he is going to disenfranchise some group (the 9/11 families; devout Christians; devout Muslims; etc). So what is the best choice? The best outcome is to say nothing

      It’s the same with Obama’s phrase “Hope and Change”. To explicitly say what that is would be a mistake. Rather, it has more political leverage as vague and ambiguous. Ambiguity leaves open the ability for anyone who listens to this to “fill in” their own hopes and desires. If Obama was to say what this “Hope and Change” was as it was actually played out post election then would he have won the election? Ambiguity has its (political) advantages.

      So, how do you “take a stand”, have a “point of view” without losing a voting bloc? Perhaps this is why Obama “will not comment”. Those not facing re/election – the pundits in the media – have no shortage of opinions and comments on the matter of the mosque. But they are not facing an election.

      But you are right. Obama’s non-comment was to defer to the Constitution. But I think a lot of Americans wanted more than that from the President of the United States. Perhaps a comment or opinion over and above what the constitution says. Perhaps a comment about the judgment or motives of those who want to build the mosque on such a sensitive site – other than simply the right to do so provided by the constitution of the United States.


      August 22, 2010 at 5:14 pm

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