Call it the “Battle of Gettysburg, Part II”
I’ll give you the quick and dirty version of what’s going on here; if you want more details, I’ve provided a link to the full report by the Associated Press at the bottom of this article.
A large casino is being proposed to be built about a mile away from the historic site of the Battle of Gettysburg, in which over 160,000 Union and Confederate soldiers fought a bloody, 3-day battle (July 1-3, 1863) which turned the tide of the so-called “Civil War”, but also resulted in the deaths of approximately 3,000 soldiers from both sides of the conflict, with an additional 51,000 casualties.
Supporters of the casino, many of which include preservationists, claim that the casino will bring much needed jobs and money to stimulate the economy. They also claim that the casino will be nowhere near the 6,000 acre park, so it should not affect the park’s resources.
“You’ve got to really keep it in its proper context,” casino spokesman David La Torre said. “You’ve got to realize how big this place is. It’s humongous (the park), and people are fighting us and we’re not even located on it.”
Opponents argue that building the casino, which will include 600 slot machines and 50 table games, will “sully the character” of the battlefield, and disrespects the memories of the soldiers who fought and died on the battlefield, as well as the ancestors of those soldiers.
Does this scenario sound familiar? It should… it almost mirrors the controversy going on right now in New York City regarding the mega-mosque being built on the site of the former Burlington Coat Factory, a mere 2 blocks from the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
The biggest gripes from the mosque supporters is that their opponents are “infringing on the Muslims’ religious freedoms”, as well as showing “bigotry against Muslims” by opposing the mosque. They also love to point out that it’s “not even near ground zero”.
OK, let’s use that same logic in this scenario.
Since the casino opponents are against it being built near the site of a historic battle where thousands died, than it must automatically mean that they are infringing on gambler’s rights to gamble. It also must mean that the opponents hate all gamblers. And the fact that it’s only a mile from the battlefield? Nah, that doesn’t matter at all… they just hate them because they’re gamblers!
Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?
Of course it doesn’t, but this is the very logic that the supporters of the ground zero mosque like to use against us.
It’s very easy to convince otherwise well-meaning, kind-hearted people to rally to your cause by claiming that a certain demographic “hates” you and wishes you ill, even if those claims are not necessarily true. For that matter, it is much easier to make accusations than it is for the accused to prove those accusations false, especially when the well-meaning folks that you convert to your cause think more with their hearts and emotions than with their heads.
Oh, and by the way… don’t think that I don’t know that one of you wise guys out there will try to use the above statement against me. You’re not as clever as you think you are, so don’t even try it. You know full well the context in which it was written.
Anyway, the Muslims in this case have proven to be absolute masters of it. They have several factors going for them; they’re minorities, they practice a minority religion in the U.S. that is more or less mysterious to most of us, and they love to dredge up past offenses against them dating back hundreds of years ago, all tactics for gaining sympathy for their cause. Top it off with stirring, emotional speeches against an “evil” majority power (in this case, white Christians) that’s “out to get them”, and you’ll have a following of mindless drones on your side in no time.
Hell, the NAACP does this all the time, so this shouldn’t sound too strange to you.
So, boys and girls, learn from what’s going on in Gettysburg right now. This is a good “teaching moment” for what the opposition to the mega-mosque is really about.
Casino proposed near battlefield splits Gettysburg: Marc Levy, Associated Press, 08/30/2010
The Battle of Gettysburg: Friends of the National Parks.org