America used to be called “the land of opportunity” in better times before our economy tanked. Today cries ring out at Tea Party rallies about “taking the country” back, or to be more accurate, taking the country backward. The fact is the ‘good old days’ weren’t equally good for everyone and the policies of the recent past benefited a favored few and increased the disparity between the rich and average Americans. Angry voices rise in a chorus of generalities about fiscal rectitude, smaller government, patriotism and religion. Without the vaguest idea of how to actually govern or where they see the country’s fortunes emerging, dissenters wave flags, hoist posters and protest against imaginary threats raised by media radicals and self-interested politicians.

Newt Gingrich says legislation should be passed forbidding the use of Sharia Law here, a risk that doesn’t exist in most rational people’s minds. And much time has been spent by him and others railing against the Islamic cultural center slated to be built at a site two blocks from “Ground Zero” in New York. Forgotten, or largely unknown, Muslims who worked in the Twin Towers were, without objection, provided with a “prayer room” for their religious observances. They perished along with workers of all faiths on 9/11.

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