When the president of the United States takes the oath of office, he swears to “…preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” The president does not swear to try to satisfy the constantly changing opinions of the citizens or the needs of special interest groups. The Constitution was forged to provide a framework within which the United States could uphold the standards it was built upon: life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, religious freedom.
We now find ourselves at a crossroads. The country has been at this crossroads many times before and we’ve always managed to do the right thing. Sometimes we’ve taken a little longer to see exactly what was the right thing to do, but with our founding document to guide us, we’ve muddled through.
There are those among us who enjoy muddying the waters. I can’t help but reflect back to the 1930′s in Germany when the citizens, suffering from the economic reparations after World War I combined with the Great Depression, were disgruntled and looking for someone to blame. Along came Adolf Hitler who, taking advantage of the unrest, suspended the constitution and initiated a program of antisemitism, blaming Jews for the problems the Germans were enduring.
Does this sound familiar? We have a group of people who wish to change articles of the US Constitution to suit the current moods and fears of sections of society. There is an effort to ban the construction of a community center in New York City located three blocks from the site of the World Trade Center. The story being disseminated by certain groups in an effort to promote hatred of a specific religious group is that this is a mosque being constructed right next to the World Trade Center and that it’s being built to trivialize the deaths of 3,000 people on 9/11. This falsehood is being told to stir up the emotions of people who don’t suspect they are being manipulated. For what possible reason would anyone want to spread such outright lies?
One reason, hatred for a group of people who are not Christian. There is a great deal of chest thumping done in the name of Christianity in this country with very little Christ-like behavior to show for it. Another reason: distract people. Midterm elections are approaching and what better way to distract the voters from the true issues of joblessness, the economy, and lack of cooperation by our lawmakers in Washington DC, than to dazzle us with a non-issue.
It’s like the carnival game where there are three upsidedown cups and one ball and the ball is under one of the cups. The carney moves the cups around faster and faster until you’re no longer sure which one has the ball underneath, yet you frantically try to keep up. Finally, the cups stop moving and you get to guess which cup hides the ball. The question is, will we guess the right one?