I watched on the television news yesterday as the issue of the "Ground Zero mosque" (complicated by the Preacher from Hell who up until the last minute had appeared hell-bent on burning multiple copies of the Koran) spilled over into protests on the streets in New York on the anniversary of 9/11.
And it got me thinking. In particular, it made me wonder, for those that hold the anniversary of 9/11 as something precious (or, for some, even sacred), how well do those sentiments mix with the political theatre we witnessed yesterday?
It seems to me that the anniversary of 9/11 should be a time of remembrance, a time of reflection. Whatever your feelings on the Ground Zero mosque or Pastor Jones, I just can't see the justification for those issues spilling over into what occurred yesterday.
I'm not suggesting that either one of the above aren't relevant, important issues - things that need to be discussed, debated and, yes, perhaps even protested. But I just don't think those issues belonged on New York streets. Not yesterday.
There were two different "camps" out there protesting so I am not condemning one side over the other. I think that, in a sense, they both should be ashamed of themselves. Or, at the very least, they should be seriously reconsidering the appropriateness of the choices they made yesterday.
Because it was all about "choice' - nobody forced either side out on to the streets. If you really believe these issues require public protest, then by all means protest - do so on September 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. Do so on September 12, 13, 14 and 15 and onward, if you must. But please have the respect to leave one day out of 365 clear of these type of activities.
Yes, I realize that both issues are all directly linked to 9/11 - some might go so far as to say that are a part of 9/11 or symbolize what 9/11 is all about. I won't argue that point.
But can we not, for just one day, move the political theatre off of centre stage? Can we not, just for one day, show the victims of 9/11 and their families the respect and dignity they deserve? Is that really too much to ask?
The group that plans to build the Grand Zero mosque profess to be about "a platform for multi-faith dialogue", something that will strive to promote "inter-community peace, tolerance and understanding locally in New York City, nationally in America, and globally". Both they and their supporters might want to consider that loud noisy protests on the very day dedicated to the memory of those who lost their lives on 9/11 might not only be the antithesis of promitng "peace, tolerance and understanding" but could well be seen as very disrespectul of those victimes.
And those on the other side of the issue, who argue so strongly that allowing a mosque to be built so close to Ground Zero is a slap in the face to those victims and their families might want to consier affording those same victims and their families one day of dignity, quiet and remembrance.
To do otherwise is, in my opinion, pretty hypocrical of those on both sides of the issue.
I'm just saying.