On Tuesday, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) sat down with the National Review Online to discuss a number of issues, including the plan to build an Islamic community center two blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks in New York City. During the interview, Cantor echoed the right-wing hysteria over the so-called Ground Zero mosque, calling it "the ultimate insensitivity" and denouncing the society that would allow such an initiative to move forward.
CANTOR: I think that is the ultimate insensitivity. Anyone looking at that with any common sense would say, "what in the world would be doing fostering some type of system that would let this happen." Everybody knows America's built on the rights of free expression, the rights to practice your faith, but come on. The World Trade Centers were brought down by Islamic extremists, uh, radicals who were bent on killing Americans and accomplished that in unimaginable ways. I think it is the height of insensitivity, uh, and unreasonableness to allow for the construction of a mosque on the site of the World Trade Center bombings. I mean, come on.
Despite his professed outrage, Cantor really doesn't have an argument. He asks, incredulously, "what type of system" would allow the construction of an Islamic community center anywhere in the vicinity of Ground Zero, but then answers his own question: a system "built on the rights of free expression" and "the rights to practice your faith." Cantor's rejoinder -- "but come on" -- is just sour grapes that the American system doesn't justify his hatred.
Cantor goes on to note that the Twin Towers were destroyed by Islamic extremists. What he fails to mention is that the individual responsible for the proposed center, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, is far from extreme himself. In fact, he was recruited by the Bush administration to conduct outreach to the Muslim world, and his wife runs an organization that promotes "cultural and religious harmony through interfaith collaboration, youth and women's empowerment, and arts and cultural exchange."
Yet, Cantor somehow expects his answer -- "I mean, come on" -- to be more persuasive than reality.
(Perhaps he's been watching too much South Park; check out the absurd rendition in the clip below.)