An Ode to the Ground Zero Mosque Controversy

08/20/2010 09:30 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • MP Nunan Veteran Foreign Correspondent; Creator of TV comedy 'Even Small Wars Look Big From Up Close'

'Twas nine years after the September 11th attack,
But the faultlines revealed by that trauma are back.
Where once, we were a nation that mourned for its heroes -
We're now mired in debate about a mosque at Ground Zero.

The arguments are broken down broadly in three:
The first, Let them build it! It's called "liberty!"
Next, Why put a mosque here? Muslims only want strife!
The past simply proves they hate our way of life!

Third's, We respect Muslims, but in this neighborhood,
(Like the Catholic church at Auschwitz,)
"Can" doesn't mean "should."

The issue was local to New York's downtown.
Now, politicians are batting it here, there and around.
(It's not even a mosque, its supporters have cried -
But a community center, a 92nd Street Y!)
For many, it seems a mere ploy for attention -
A problem to exploit for the November election.

On Bloomberg! On Gingrich! On blogosphere, too!
On Obama, who flip-flopped - so disappointingly new!
On Fox News, on Stewart and the guys who work late!
Sarah Palin on Twitter: You must "refudiate!"

We're still at a loss of what we should do
To distinguish the many from the terrible few.
The question is, Muslims - what role do they play?
A position familiar to Jews, Blacks and gays.

Most gleefully watching it get out of hand
Is Osama Bin Laden, in - my guess - Pakistan.
Nearly a decade has gone and we're still prey to his vices
His hatred - plus fear - shape our identity crisis.
(Life's no better for Muslims - but that was never his plan.
'Twas just megalomania by a very warped man.)

But it's not just Osama - the world's watching us fight.
They have to. We're the superpower(!) - which uses its might
For leadership, that's frankly both brilliant - and dumb.
And they're looking for signs of the US to come,
With our glorious paradox of rule by majority -
Who'd fight to the death for the rights of minorities!

So let's take a moment to consider the cost
Of all this tense vitriol on the Ground Zero mosque.
I'm not casting a verdict on who's right and who's wrong,
But I mean this sincerely: Can't we all just get along?