Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why I do not believe a mosque should be built at ground zero

That's right, she's gettin' political.

Let me start by saying there is nothing more hurtful to me than narrow-minded offensiveness. So if anything I say offends someone, please, please let me know so that I can step back and re-analyze what I have written. Also, I do not claim to have an opinion of any great importance, so don't think I'm trying to assert myself into the world, more just offering my take.

As you probably have heard, it has been proposed that a mosque be built near ground zero in the bustling concrete jungle where dreams are made of. There is a TON of debate over this issue and I've heard many arguments on either side, many of which are unfoundedly offensive.

I most certainly recognize the burden 9/11 has placed on every Muslim living in this country. I've seen some overwhelmingly sad documentaries and even listened to close friends describe their life after this tragic event. And not only Muslim Americans, but any American of Arab, Indian, Pakistani or middle eastern decent has almost certainly faced an increase in outright racism in the last ten years.

I think ground zero is too sensitive an area to construct anything that carries as much political weight as a religious symbol. I think many Americans are far too narrow-minded to be able to look past a gesture like this and it could easily cause even more tension between Muslims and non-Muslims living in New York.

I very loosely use the example of building a meeting hall for the NRA at Columbine. The columbine shooters were not members of the NRA, but this would be highly controversial and far too sensitive an area to build anything at. I would like to make it clear I do not equate members of the NRA to Muslims and I don't think the situation is the same at all, but it does highlight my main point, the sensitivity of an area where a tragedy occurs. The same way I don't believe it would be right to build a "Focus on the Family" center in Laramie. These people believe something different than I, and that is perfectly acceptable, but Laramie is too sensitive a place to construct such a center.

(That paragraph seems offensive, will someone who understands what I am getting at please help me rephrase it?)

I understand that this opinion may be labelled as racism or hampering civil rights. I do not believe it should be DISallowed to build a mosque at ground zero, but I do believe it is a bad idea. Not in poor taste, for those responsible for the attacks are, after all, extremists and not a thing like 99.999% of people who practice Islam. Many white supremacist groups are considered "fundamental Christians" and I know that none of my Christian friends of family members would in any way like to be equated with these people.

In summary, I think the RIGHT to build a mosque at ground zero is always there. I do not think, however, it should be done. I do not think a church or a synagogue or a presidential mansion should be build there either. I do believe we must take a step back and truly analyze why we feel one way or the other about this issue because the struggle faced by Muslim Americans everyday due to our prejudice IS something we can change.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Why I am not a journalism major

More times than I appreciate, I have been asked, "Lyndsay, why are you not a journalism major?"

See from the outside, that really is where I should've gone. I was the Editor of my high school newspaper for two years and I love writing. Not to sound self important, but I'm actually alright at it also. English was always my best subject, best score on the ACT, and I write in my free time very often. So why then, did I not choose to make a career out of it?

I have this weird trait about me where I have to take the hard way for everything. I have this fierce independence that I've had forever but only recently come to recognize. I can remember when I was little playing scrabble with my dad and I'd play a word and he'd say "No, move it over here, you'll get more points." Then I'd get furious and move my tiles back to the original crap position because I COULD NOT STAND SOMEONE ELSE PLAYING FOR ME. Are all kids like this?

Also, I have always felt a strong calling to help people. Post graduation, the plan is to join the peace corps and after my first 26 month stint, I'm actually hoping to do another somewhere else. With a degree like engineering, especially mine which will be geared toward improving underdeveloped and heavily agriculturally-related areas, I feel I will actually be able to put in the physical effort to help.

I really do not want to undermine this humanitarian idea in journalists. Journalism serves a HUGE role in humanitarian efforts. It isn't that I feel I'd be doing nothing as a journalist, I would just rather actually be designing the programs or methods that improve underdeveloped areas.

I wish I had time to live about six different lives. I'd totally be Peter Travers and write for Rolling Stone if I knew that's where I'd end up as a journalist. That would be boss.