Having spent the weekend out of town and away from Mosque Madness(TM), I have a few thoughts after reading the Facebook posts documenting the protest.
Traffic: I live on the corner of 15 Mile Road close to the Ryan intersection, and I have been frequently seen at City Council meetings talking about traffic issues, mostly traffic crashes within view of my house. The site of the proposed mosque does not have the same density problem that areas closer to Ryan or Mound do. Roughly 100 cars a few times a week will not make a noticeable change in the traffic flow on a road that handles thousands of cars daily. I think the added traffic will go almost unnoticed.
Better Sites: people that I ordinarily agree with have started talking about how there might be better sites to build a mosque. The “if we built it there instead of here…” sort of arguments are now making their way to the fore. Why don’t we simply locate the mosque on the moon? Aside from the expense and effort required to get there, wouldn’t that be the perfect place to put it so nobody can object? “But wait, Geoff, you’re being unreasonable! Surely you know the moon has no oxygen!” I don’t think this would be much of a problem for most of the people who are against this mosque. They would be happy to see ALL Muslim folks on the moon. Preferably not breathing.
Immigration: Paul Smith’s group of candidates have lately been talking about immigration policy. It seems they want to make this the larger issue the mosque debate is framed within. I find this extremely revealing. Many of the Chaldean folks in town (most?) are resettled refugees who were persecuted by Saddam Hussein and the people who came after him in Iraq. Do the Chaldeans realize that Mr. Smith and his cronies are also talking about them? Mr. Smith’s group doesn’t like foreigners. Even the foreigner in Mr. Smith’s group doesn’t like foreigners! My message to the Chaldean folks reading this: Paul Smith will turn on you the moment your usefulness in getting him elected has ended. If you want to see yourself relegated to second class status in Sterling Heights, just like you and your family were in Iraq, vote for Paul Smith, Moira Smith, Senna Elias, Jazmine Early, Verna Babula, Joe Judnick and Jackie Ryan. Right now, Smith is using you as leverage against the Muslims. Next he will use his Tea Party friends as leverage against the Chaldeans. Then, he will get his licks in against the labor unions. He’ll probably go after the Democratic Party in general after that. Mr. Smith is against anyone who isn’t just like him.
Challenger Candidates: Having now seen most of the challenger candidates or their signs photographed at the site of the protest, any doubt I had about who the challengers were or what interests they represent has now been removed. Mr. Judnick is Mr. Smith is Ms. Elias is Ms. Ryan is Ms. Early (and I assume Ms. Smith and Ms. Babula.) These folks are all of the same stripe, and they all bring the same thing to the table: an extremist agenda which cares little for democracy or the rule of law. They seek to use mob tactics to achieve their goals. By and large, they are not meeting with success: no report places the size of the demonstration over a couple hundred people. This is what a lunatic fringe element looks like, not what a party sweeping into power looks like.
Remain alert, friends, this election season is just getting underway.