Saturday, August 21, 2010

May cooler heads prevail

To The Editor:
Re “C.B. 3 backs fellow board after threats over mosque” (news article, Aug. 5):

My gratitude to Community Board 1, the Landmarks Preservation Commission and Mayor Bloomberg for holding firm regarding the Islamic center in Lower Manhattan — in my opinion, the mayor’s finest hour. And thank you, Community Board 3 and particularly Susan Stetzer for backing C.B. 1’s right to make decisions about their community without threat of violence.

All of us have the feelings we have about 9/11, and all of us are entitled to them. They are what they are and can’t be adjusted to suit, if inconvenient. But none of our feelings are a sound basis for action or for policy. We are in deep trouble when we allow feelings to determine how we decide to conduct ourselves. Historically, it has gotten us in trouble — the internment camps for U.S. citizens of Japanese heritage, McCarthyism, Sacco and Vanzetti, anti-Semitism, almost every war, etc.

The 9/11 hijackers were guided by feelings of revenge for wrongs inflicted. They felt entitled to take that action based on those feelings, and added to a world of pain here and abroad. All of us need to aim for something better.

It’s not wimpy or naive to want a society that holds out for the most inclusive tent. Rather, it’s hardheaded realism to find a way other than endless attack, blame, revenge and retaliation.

We grieve our losses, we live our gratitude for the gift of life, and we thank those leaders and organizations that would point us in a more rational direction — toward hope and the future.
K Webster