Roger Cohen has a well-thought out, balanced Op-Ed in the NYT today.  He discusses the context of  the “Harvest of Anger” being reaped right now: the discontent that rises out of deepening economic inequality, the souring of the American Promise, the easy pickin’s for anyone with an agenda to sell (Here’s looking at you, Rev. Jones). It’s the sanest response to the misdirected rhetoric today, published in a major newspaper.

But this is not about Roger Cohen or his Op-Ed. This is about Dr. Bob in the Bronx, the guy who wrote the third comment from the top. Quoted in full below:

I really don’t want to read another comparison between Christian nuns building a convent near Auschwitz. There is no parallel here whatsoever. The collapse of the WTC towers was horrible but not on the scale of the extermination of a people. Auschwitz truly is hallowed ground. Two blocks from the WTC is not hallowed ground. With bars and Burger Kings and seedy buildings like the Burlington Coat Building it is part of the neighborhood that abuts hallowed group. It was disappointing to read that the ADL would not support the mosque and cultural center and equally disappointing to read that Mr. Cohen has to resort to such tired arguments. Would a church or synagogue in that location even raise an eyebrow? I think not. Let’s move on to more important things and revel in the typical, wonderful diversity that a proper mosque in that neighborhood would signify. This is New York. The greatest city in the world. Let’s prove that we deserve that accolade.

The American Promise might be soured, but it is still potent. Personally, the United States holds a certain hope for me. Not because of the realities it delivers– which are lacking for those born here as well as those who arrive from elsewhere and make this land their own– but because of the independent, individual voices here that still speak out against bigotry and manipulation of their own volition. The people and groups who do not buy into every story they are fed. The people who do not judge any one religion, appearance, race or color by the crimes of a few.

Where I come from, communal/religious riots and anger happen often enough. To the point where Bollywood makes movies about them, which you have to admit is pretty mainstream. I’m used to seeing that harvest of anger being sown, reaped and threshed because in India, like so many countries around the world, political rhetoric instead of informed voter choice decides who gets the power.

It is my one hope that people here in the United States do not go down that road.

If you’d like to discuss/hear more about this and other related peace & security issues, check out this great event happening at the Jewish Community Center in Washington D.C. tomorrow and show up with a friend.

PS: Dr. Bob in the Bronx, if you read this please do get in touch. We want to give you a hug.

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