Newt Gingrich's Warped Vision for America

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Newt Gingrich is at it again

Newt Gingrich's latest publicity stunt is his very public opposition to the proposed Cordoba House; a mosque planned to be built at Ground Zero - the site of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks.

Mr. Gingrich says the mosque's benefactors from the Cordoba Initiative are deceiving the American public and that the building's stated purpose as a tribute to tolerance and interfaith understanding is not their real intention - despite all public statements from the organization to the contrary.

According to the former House Speaker, the Cordoba House is a Trojan Horse whose real purpose is to symbolize Islam's conquest of the West by paying homage to the original Cordoba Mosque in Andalucia, Spain - the capital of the Moorish empire during the Crusades.

Mr. Gingrich goes further by claiming that the Cordoba House is part of a broader plot by Muslims to destroy American civilization and suggests that we should not allow a mosque to be built by Ground Zero until Saudi Arabia allows churches to be built in its country.

Apparently, Mr. Gingrich's grand vision for America is to emulate the intolerance of Saudi Arabia - a second-rate, petro-dictatorship.

I cannot imagine a better way to demonstrate our country's strength, resilience and commitment to freedom than by allowing the Cordoba House to be built at Ground Zero. This demonstration of tolerance is what separates America from countries like Saudi Arabia. It is what has made us a model of hope for the rest of the world - an image we risk losing by listening to nativist extremists like Mr. Gingrich.

For a self-described conservative, Gingrich has a surprising lack of regard for the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of religion. Apparently, the constitution is only important when it supports his opinions. It's the same double-standard that allows him to rail against American elites without recognizing that he is as privileged as anyone in this country. Mr. Gingrich is a millionaire who has spent his entire life in the upper echelons of academia and American politics. Read his biography - the man has never worked a private-sector job in his life.

I'd like to believe Mr. Gingrich is merely unintelligent; blissfully unaware that his public displays of xenophobia play directly into the hands of Osama Bin Laden and company by driving a wedge between America and the rest of the world. Unfortunately, Mr. Gingrich is not stupid. He is a cynical politician trying to score cheap political points through demagoguery and Muslim-bashing.

After all, this is the same Newt Gingrich who led the impeachment charge against Bill Clinton for Monica-gate while simultaneously having an affair with his congressional aide. The man has always been big on slogans and short on scruples.

Ultimately, Mr. Gingrich's greatest mistake is underestimating the American people. He fails to grasp that most of us do not want to live in a backward, racist and intolerant country like Saudi Arabia. Every American may not be happy about the Cordoba House, but very few of us are willing to abandon our national ideals to oppose its existence. We value our principles of religious freedom, diversity and tolerance even if he does not.

The truth is that Newt Gingrich is a bigger threat to American civilization than any architectural structure ever could be.

Contact Jeremy Berrington at realpolitikchicago@gmail.com

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