"Barack Obama has abandoned America at the place where America's heart was broken nine years ago, and where her true values were on display for all to see," said Debra Burlingame, a spokeswoman for a group of victims' families, according to The Associated Press. Burlingame's brother was a pilot killed in the 9/11 attacks.
"As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country," Obama said. "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."
These quotes, contained in an article about the proposed building of a mosque and community center in New York City, two blocks from the site of the September 11, 2001 attacks, illustrate the continuum on how civil rights are currently viewed in this country.
Americans have a bad habit of confusing rights with emotion. This confusion is seen in the justice system regularly, where individuals say they want justice, but what they really want is revenge.
Revenge tastes better than justice; like most things that taste good but are bad for you, we Americans consume a lot of it.
President Obama, with his pledge to uphold a constitution that applies to all citizens, made the right call. Sure, putting a mosque near the Ground Zero site raises eyebrows. The easy call would be to prohibit it.
Easy calls in a diverse and multicultural America, however, are usually the wrong calls to make.