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Is Fox News at the center of global terrorism?

Probably not.  But, last night Jon Stewart presented a compelling case:

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Despite the politicization that has happened with the Ground Zero Mosque issue (it was covered by Fox News without much hubub until the issue was brought up by some conservative bloggers, and it became a rallying cry), I think that the underlying problem is our diminishing freedom and tolerance in America.

Freedom and tolerance go hand and hand.   If I am going to be truly free, you have to be tolerant of me.  And, vice versa.  We all want our freedoms.  But, are all the people who cry for freedom also willing to be tolerant?  Interestingly, many people who hang their hat on freedom and liberty are also the ones who are the least tolerant of those who are different than themselves.

On the Ground Zero Mosque issue, critics are making a big leap from Muslim religious center to terrorist HQ.  Hey, if you really think that those Muslims are terrorists, why not have a nice centralized location where we can keep our eyes on them?  More seriously, if any Christian or Jewish religious location was being similarly characterized, there would be a lot of backlash.  Timothy McVeigh was both a terrorist and a Christian, so maybe we should be kicking all the churches out of Oklahoma City.

I've been lucky enough to have some international visitors stay with our family recently.  Their own country, Kyrgyzstan, is facing a lot of internal strife.  One of the benefits that our family has received from this visit is a new appreciation of what is greatest about America, or at least the concept of America.

Our strength comes from our diversity, and our tolerance of diversity.  The influx and acceptance of new people keeps us vibrant and entrepreneurial.  Our meritocracy and the rewards of hard work and ingenuity continue to provide incentive and opportunity for us all.  Our multicultural background keeps us creative, relevant, and culturally leading edge.  That freedom and tolerance provide the bedrock of what is special about America.

I've had it with the divisive politics of America.  Both parties succumb to it, regardless of who starts it.  The overall divisive atmosphere creates actions and reactions that are more aimed at trying to appear on the right side of the politics than on the side of freedom and tolerance.

Frankly, this is the area where I am most disappointed in President Obama.  There is no doubt that he's had to face a lot of tough situations, and that he was willing to take on big issues.  But, he was best positioned to take the high road on freedom and tolerance.  Those don't have budget impacts and can appeal to people from libertarians to the far left.

Yet, he hasn't followed through on closing Guantanamo and putting those captive there through some sort of legal process.  This should showcase our legal system and our belief in it.

He was wishy-washy on the Ground Zero Mosque issue rather than strongly defend a group's right to put a house of worship on their own property.  Kudos to Mayor Bloomberg for having the courage to take the right position here.

He hasn't closed the freedom loopholes in the Patriot Act, leaving us all susceptible to having our privacy violated without due cause.

He hasn't take a strong stand in favor of gay rights, including gay marriage.  Someone's love of the Red Sox doesn't threaten my love of the Yankees.  Why should someone's love of another of the same sex threaten my love for my wife?  Overall, we should be lauding people loving each other in committed relationships.  That provides the foundation for our communities and our families.  If you are truly pro-family, as many who are against gay rights claim to be, you should scorn those who get divorced.

Despite my dislike of the views of those of you who may disagree with me on the issues above, I'm very tolerant of your right to hold those views.  If we all practice more freedom and tolerance, it will be easier for us to solve more of the issues we face.

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