Divergent Topics, Common Ground

There is an interesting parallel between the debate over plans to build a mosque near the World Trade Center site and the decision by News Corp, which owns Fox News, to contribute $1 million to the Republican Governors Association.

Both are controversial, volatile issues, but I’ll leave the arguments, pro and con, to the many groups and individuals already weighing in. There are no shortages of opinions on either matter.

The similarity I see is that, in each case, the debate is not over a legal or Constitutional right to take an action. Rather it is a matter of appropriateness.

Having the right to do something does not always mean that exercising that right is the best path to take.

As New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said this week, “We cannot paint all of Islam with that brush,” but we also must take into account the sensitivities and concerns of family members who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks.

Although it is not as grave a matter involving life and death issues, News Corp’s contribution to the Republican Governors Association merits similar consideration. Fox News already is a target for those who claim it is biased toward the GOP and a conservative agenda. Why fan that fire?

I am not suggesting that we play it safe all the time. Positive change often happens only when we push the envelope. Let’s hope that at the end of the day, when all of the shouting and political posturing is over, we all emerge with a better understanding of each other, regardless of our politics and ideologies.

Addendum:

Washington Post columnist Howard Kurtz wrote an interesting piece this week about the mosque controversy and how it evolved. Read

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