Posted by | August 26, 2010 21:33 | Filed under: Top Stories

By Yashwanth Manjunath

During this current Ground Zero “Mosque” controversy, the general paradigm of the Republican Party has been one of intolerance and opportunistic race-baiting, while the Democratic Party has practiced cowardice and capitulation. The issue has dominated the Washington media dialogue and been polarized and politicized to no end. Americans have witnessed the very worst elements of our political process. Perhaps the greatest disappointment for liberals came when our supposedly progressive president was in favor of the project before he was against it (or would no longer comment on it).  However, through all the disappointing demagoguery, one man has been the most outspoken and principled voice for what is right and that’s New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

In a speech at a Ramadan dinner at Gracie Mansion on Tuesday, Bloomberg reaffirmed his unconditional support for the Park 51 Islamic community center. While stating that there are indeed people of good will on both sides of the debate, Bloomberg forcefully doubled-down on his earlier defense of the Islamic center by arguing that

if we say that a mosque and community center should not be built near the perimeter of the World Trade Center site, we would compromise our commitment to fighting terror with freedom. We would undercut the values and principles that so many heroes died protecting. We would feed the false impressions that some Americans have about Muslims. We would send a signal around the world that Muslim Americans may be equal in the eyes of the law, but separate in the eyes of their countrymen. And we would hand a valuable propaganda tool to terrorist recruiters, who spread the fallacy that America is at war with Islam.

I am sure Bloomberg is a savvy enough politician to be aware of the fact that 70% of the American people are still against the Park 51 community center being built. Despite the fact that his stance is unpopular and he may be risking future political capital, Bloomberg is standing on principle and standing for what is right rather than what is easy because he is a leader, not a politician. For all the liberals out there, don’t you wish President Obama and the rest of the Democrats in Congress were this strong and principled? For all the conservatives out there, even if you disagree with Bloomberg do you at least respect him for his political courage? In these difficult times this country is littered with “politicians” we do not want, with too few “leaders” that we need. So here’s to Mike Bloomberg for having the strength to be a leader.

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