Please people, just stop.
Before I go any further, I’d like to point out that this “controversy” over the “mosque at Ground Zero” has garnered more attention and more print than the fact that our U.S. Congress rejected the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act last month, which would have granted relief to the actual emergency responders who responded on 9/11. But that’s not important, right?
Instead, lets create this HUGE political issue out of something that the average New Yorker is not all that concerned about. A friend of mine in Montana asked me the other day if the “mosque at Ground Zero” issue was at the forefront of my mind as a New Yorker?
First off, it’s not at Ground Zero. Ground Zero right now is a huge mess of cranes, construction, and loud noises. There’s nothing at Ground Zero except construction. I never go down to Ground Zero unless I’m showing someone from out of town the construction site. The so-called mosque is actually several blocks away, which in this city, can be the difference between one neighborhood and the next. Second, no, it’s not at the forefront of my mind and I’ve largely ignored the issue. Only after being beaten over the head with it over and over again via my morning news, my Google News feed, texts from out of town friends, etc etc, did I realize that this has turned into an “issue” that I find to be a ridiculous waste of time.
Opponents of this project argue that they have the best interests of New Yorkers and their day-to-day lives in mind. You do? Well let me tell you what my interests are in regards to my day-to-day activities, okay?
- I would not like to have to endure another round of severe service cuts by the MTA coupled with another fare increase and the elimination of the 30-day unlimited ride Metro card. If I had to identify one issue that concerns me most about my daily life here in New York, that’d be it.
- New Yorkers are facing a growing epidemic of bed bugs in our city, and it seems like every day I’m reading about more outbreaks at public locations like the library, movie theaters, and even the Brooklyn DA’s office. I want this issue addressed. Now.
- Rent and living costs continue to increase. This is an expensive city to live in. Finding affordable housing and keeping costs down are always on the mind of the average New Yorker.
And then, of course, other things like my partner moving out and heading up to Boston for law school; getting ready to move out myself next month and the cleaning spree that will take place in order to get the security deposit back; maintaining my physical fitness level as it is now both up to and past the test that I will be expected to take on more than one occasion; possibly studying for the LSAT again; etc etc.
As you can see, the mudslinging and squawking over something like this project is not at the forefront of my mind right now. Unless you live in New York, you have no idea how life actually works here. I probably come in contact with no fewer than 50 different cultures each day as I ride the subway to and from work, at work, at the gym, in the supermarket, etc etc. The opposition to the idea of a cultural center in the city of New York (again, several blocks away from the actual Ground Zero construction site) is not only a gigantic waste of time, it ignores what it means to live in a city like New York City. You who say you have my best interests (and the interests of all other New Yorkers) in mind? Please, kindly go away.