Saturday, August 28, 2010

Has New York Mayor Bloomberg shown integrity over the Ground Zero Mosque?

Has New York Mayor Bloomberg shown integrity over how he has handled the alleged Ground Zero Mosque? I watched the video for his speech, made on Governor's Island with the Statue of Liberty in the background. It was a great speech, from my point of view, but you can never tell a politician's true beliefs or true intentions from their words. I think he is sincere, but who can ever be sure. He has so far been consistent in his words since then. Personally, I would definitely say that Bloomberg "has integrity." What does that mean? In this case, in this situation, it means standing up for principle (freedom of religion, et al) and being consistent about it with words and deeds. Bloomberg is very concerned about "community", but with an emphasis on encouraging the "good" forces in the community rather than trying to appease and bow to the ugly voices of mob behavior, cynicism, and ignorance. The fact that some people may be displeased or even angry with his "position" is not an indicator of lack of integrity. The fact that Sarah Palin and Glen Beck are unhappy about his position is not an indicator of a lack of integrity. So called "sensitivity" is not an indicator of lack of integrity. In fact, I would say that the willingness of a politician to take an unpopular position (judging from the polls, both locally and nationally) is a really good indicator that he has a strong sense of integrity, a will to "do what's right" even if it is unpopular.

All of that said, Bloomberg is being very pragmatic, or "merely" pragmatic if your wish. New York is suffering greatly in this weak economy, especially downtown. Despite the "health" of "Wall Street", much of downtown is not doing so well, including areas not so far from the World Trade Center site. If you were to walk by the proposed site of the Islamic community center, you would see how run-down the building is and ask yourself why it isn't being condemned and torn down. ANYBODY who intends to replace that dilapidated building with ANYTHING new should be applauded. ANY new building there would be a benefit to the economic future of downtown. As it has turned out, NOBODY else wanted the building, NOBODY else has wanted to build there, and NOBODY else has stepped up and proposed an alternative project for spending a big pile of money on that location which would benefit the downtown economy. From a practical economic perspective the mayor would be an IDIOT for turning down or in any way discouraging ANY economic development of that location, regardless of the purpose. My point is simply that Mayor Bloomberg does have "practical" reasons for support the project, even if he is also taking a principled stand. But... either way, he is exhibiting integrity. Helping to rebuild the economy of New York is a difficult effort and dedication to that effort is also something that requires... integrity.

In short, Mayor Bloomberg has shown significant integrity over the Grand Zero Mosque issue. In fact, I can't think of a single politician who has shown more integrity over this issue. He was right there, front and center, from the get-go, and his position was as solid as a rock.

-- Jack Krupansky


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