Letter from the Editor 

I don't understand why so many people are objecting to building a mosque a few blocks from ground zero. I actually think it would be nice for President Obama to have a place to worship when he's in New York City.

That's a joke, folks.

The past week's news cycle has been dominated by the proposed mosque in lower Manhattan and with a Pew survey showing that one in five Americans thinks the president is Muslim. GOP leaders have been relentlessly feeding this nonsense. Newt Gingrinch said that since Saudi Arabia doesn't allow Christian churches, we shouldn't allow the mosque to be built. Presumably, Newtie therefore thinks we should abandon the Constitution and institute a religious state. Yes, let's model ourselves after the Saudi government.

Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch put his money where his mouthpieces are, donating $1 million to the GOP governors' association headed by Mississippi's Haley Barbour. Fox News barely acknowledged the departure of combat troops from Iraq last week but has spent hours on the mosque issue and the Pew survey.

It's a classic disinformation campaign designed to distract Americans from real problems and denigrate the president at every turn. It is a given in American politics that a president's popularity will take a downturn the longer he stays in office. But this has gone beyond the pale.

I watched Spike Lee's latest Katrina documentary this week. In one scene, Barbour was thanking President Bush for channeling relief funds to Mississippi. The former president stood to the side, smirking and grinning like a frat boy at homecoming, impervious to the seriousness of the situation.

Obama disappoints some with his lack of visible fervor, but at least he has dignity worthy of the office. He's gotten combat troops out of Iraq, put GM back on track, and managed the BP spill with relative efficiency. And he made the correct judgment on the mosque issue. The economy is still in flux, but here at the Flyer, we can attest that local advertising is rebounding nicely.

The president is not a Muslim or a socialist. He's trying to fix an economy that was broken by the reckless, short-sighted decisions of the prior administration. Object to his policies if you want, but let's not lose our core values of decency and honor in the process.

Bruce VanWyngarden

brucev@memphisflyer.com

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