There are plans in New York City to build an Islamic center/skyscraper/mosque only a few blocks from Ground Zero. The people behind the project are reported to be a moderate Islamic group hoping to help everyone heal from 9/11 and make a positive Islamic presence. The mosque has sparked a lot of controversy in NYC. Recently, former AK governor Sarah Palin stated her opposition to this mosque on twitter, saying the mosque would be a “provocation” and that the “pain” of 9/11 is “too raw, too real”. This caused a lot of media reactions and coverage. You can read here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
I could say so much. I am sure everyone could. But, I’ll pose a couple questions I have:
1) This is a complicated, thorny and divisive issue. Sarah Palin’s connection to 9/11 and NYC isn’t clear to me. I would love to know the real reason Palin wrote this. I think the answer would say a lot about her.
2) Furthermore, I would like to know why Palin made a short twitter post as opposed to an Op/Ed article. She could have put a link to the article on Facebook or Twitter. That answer would say a lot about her too.
3) I don’t find it totally clear who Palin intended to speak for in those comments. Her comment may mean “I feel this is provocative, and I personally don’t feel a mosque is appropriate at Ground Zero,” or it may mean “Right or wrong, I believe a majority of New Yorkers or Americans would be unnecessarily provoked by this mosque.” Maybe her intended message was more empirical or positivist than purely normative.
4) Do her comments suggest a decision not to run for president? I don’t know why a presidential aspirant would walk into that. It doesn’t position her on issues, help her brand (does anybody think she’s insufficiently feisty or sensitive to 9/11?) or hurt an opponent. The comments seem designed to keep her in the news, which mainly helps her media career, probably at the expense of electability. At the very least, her comments were not calculated with my political courtship in mind.