Centuries ago, my professors drummed into my head that the First Amendment isn’t there to protect popular speech; it’s there to protect UNpopular speech. I’ve pointed this out on the air, to news people I’ve trained, and to acquaintances, for decades. Do the Muslims have a right to build a mosque two blocks from the big hole where the World Trade Center towers once rose?
What possessed our young president to step so deeply into the quicksand surrounding the mosque controversy still confounds me, and then his “what I meant was” comments a day later were exactly the sort of thing that makes us so annoyed with politicians. Say something ill-advised, get huge pushback, and then back off what you said. At least he didn’t use the old saw “my remarks were taken out of context.”
The whole mosque thing should never have gotten this far. Seems to me somebody in the huge bureaucracy of the Big Apple could have deep-sixed this thing in about fifteen minutes and “permitted it to death”.
Maybe Mayor Mike should send his minions to our fair city for a lesson in how to quickly get rid of projects the ruling political class doesn’t like. As a sidebar seminar, they could also learn how to get stuff that violates building ordinances approved – our guys could show the New Yorkers how the Edgewater project got “approved.”
Imagine that some wacko group wants to build a memorial to the Sterling Hall bombers on private property two blocks away. How long do you think it would take our city plan commission (or the state building commission) to bury that idea in a blizzard of paperwork that would daunt even the most dogged supporter? The idea would be dead and buried long before any of the newshounds got wind of it.
And even if some reporter were tipped, all Mayor Dave would have to say is “this project is going through the same approval process as any other building project in this city”, and the story would advance slowly with items like “too tall/small/wide/narrow/out of proportion/ugly for local ordinance” or “city arts committee nixes plan for bomber memorial” or “campus neighborhood preservation committee craps all over bomber memorial plan” culminated with “bomber memorial group gives up.”
To think that the big boys in New York City could take a lesson in city planning from little ol’ Madison.