Monday, September 13, 2010

In the mailbox...

I live in a household in which one person is a registered Republican, and one person is a registered Democrat. This means that we get twice the mail when it comes to primary season.

This is not good news, especially for the mailman. We have been overrun with direct mail in the past couple of weeks. Most of it is predictable, especially the color photos of the sponsoring candidate and the grainy black-and-white shots of "the other candidate." At this point, after getting stuff on a daily basis for days, it tends to go directly to the recycle bin.

One piece of mail did get through my filter the other day, though. It was from Carl Paladino, a Republican candidate for Governor. On the envelope, something along the lines of "Stop the mosque on Ground Zero" were printed.

Yes, I know. It's a sensitive issue, especially to those who lost loved ones there. But there are plenty of facts worth noting.

The building that currently occupies that space is two blocks away from the World Trade Center site. It has hosted a Muslim prayer group for years. People go in there all the time to pray.

We do have freedom of religion in this country. The Constitution guarantees it. So where, Mr. Paladino, would you put the line for where religious freedom starts? It's obviously more than two blocks, since you want to stop the mosque there. But since there are mosques all over Manhattan, it must be less than a few miles.

I tend to be rather absolute on such Constitutional matters. You walk off Ground Zero, you can do what you want. I would bet that if someone put a church or chapel on the grounds where the Oklahoma City explosion took place, no one would blame Christianity because Timothy McVeigh was raised in a certain religion.

Paladino has all sorts of "issues" that probably would prevent him from being an effective Governor. He's obviously used to doing whatever he wants without fear of payback, because bosses often do that. (I used to work for one; it wasn't fun.) You've heard of Paladino's problems with racist and sexist e-mails; there's also an allegation of improper behavior at a variety show a few years ago. That's all probably disqualifying behavior, but only believing in the Constitution is a bigger problem. Much bigger.

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