As a means of registering my discontent with conservative claims that the fact that 70 percent of Americans abhor the idea of the “Ground Zero Mosque” means it should be abandoned, I hereby present other things that 70 percent of “certain” Americans once hated. For example, consider the responses to this question from a Gallup Poll reported in the Los Angeles Times on 14 July 1963.*
I snipped the June numbers because at that point only 62 percent of respondents had decided that the Civil Rights Movement was moving “Too fast.” I also have other, less inflammatory, examples. To wit:
That would be from the Los Angeles Times four days earlier.** I did say I was only referencing “certain” Americans, however, and because I’m an honest chap, I’ll tell you that Gallup calls them “Southern Whites.” You heard that correctly: the same conservatives who illegitimately claim the moral high ground Martin Luther King, Jr. struggled to capture have the same high regard for Muslims as Southern segregationists once did for blacks. To put it finely:
Those who oppose the building of Park51 are justifying their opposition on the fact that the same percentage of Americans are currently as bigoted as Southern whites demonstrated themselves to be when asked how they would “feel about a law which would give all persons—Negro as well as white—the right to be served in public places such as hotels, restaurants, theaters and similar establishments.” All of which is only to say that insisting that this “is” should be enshrined in history as an “ought” makes a person as big of a bastard as a Southern white who couldn’t brook the thought of sharing his or her establishments with an African-American.
It’s a rebellious stance to be sure, but in the end they’ll be standing in a field screaming “Wolverines!” while the world passes them by.
*Gallup, George. “Views Revised on Rights Push.” Los Angeles Times (14 June 1963): M2.
**Gallup, George. “Slim Majority Backs Accommodations Bill.” Los Angeles Times (10 July 1963): C18.