Opinion polls have been elevated by the media and political operatives to an almost Godlike status. All the pieces is couched by way of how the polling information looks.
Case in point is the proposal to construct a mosque or Muslim community center some two blocks from Ground Zero in Manhattan. The issue has stirred the passions of the American people and led to irrational thinking. Polls present that between 65 to 70 percent of the American individuals oppose the constructing of the mosque and cultural center.
In presenting these numbers, the media continuously implies that if two-thirds of the American individuals believe something then it have to be correct. Proper-wing Republicans have seized upon this as another convenient wedge situation wherein to divide the American people. And upon seeing the poll numbers, Democratic leaders have rushed to the nearest nook and assumed the fetal place in order to avoid taking an unpopular stand on the issue.
One of many few exceptions to those extremes of blatantly exploiting the problem for political acquire and cowering in the nook to avoid accountability, is New York Metropolis Mayor Michael Bloomberg. As essentially the most public face in help of the mosque and community center, Bloomberg said, "I occur to believe that that is crucial proper that we now have – the fitting to say what we wish to say, which incorporates pray to whomever we would like, in anyplace we wish, in any method we would like and I think that another mosque in New York City would add to its variety and be good for the city, however if you'd like the terrorists to win with out firing a shot, then you definitely take away the very freedoms that our young men and women are around the world preventing for. You are taking away the very freedoms that those that tried to save lots of others on the World Commerce Center site and in Pennsylvania and in Washington. Our firefighters and cops ran into two twin towers. They did not ask what you believe."
He identified that "there's a mosque that close already, and it's been there for an extended time."
The fact is that the World Commerce Middle twin towers were knocked down by al-Qaeda and the evil, terrorist forces of Osama bin Laden. Respectable American Muslims had nothing to do with it. If the American individuals can not make that straightforward distinction and as an alternative want to condemn an entire religion primarily based on the actions of a few fanatics, then that represents a shortcoming in the American character. Some would argue that that is such an emotionally charged problem that we can't expect the American folks to be cheap or rational about it. If so, then that is all of the extra reason why the bulk opinion just isn't all the time proper, and why leaders should not all the time embrace the popular will or pay deference to the mob mentality.
This finest illustration of why the desire of the bulk typically must be resisted is what happened within the aftermath of the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Imperial Japanese army on December 7, 1941. Hysteria followed and that led the United States authorities, in 1942, to relocate and intern roughly one hundred ten,000 Japanese-Americans and Japanese who resided alongside the West Coast of the United States. The American individuals didn't make the excellence between our citizens of Japanese ancestry (similar to future Senator Daniel Inouye and the forebears of determine skater Kristi Yamaguchi), and the Japanese attackers led by Hideki Tojo.
Going along with the heated passions of the bulk, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt authorized the internment of Japanese Americans with Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, which allowed local army commanders to arrange the relocation camps. Earl Warren, then the Attorney General of California and later a Supreme Court Chief Justice who was instrumental within the landmark 9-0 Brown vs. Board of Education decision, helped convince the federal government to take away all individuals of Japanese heritage from the West Coast. The United States Supreme Courtroom, lots of whom were nominated by FDR, upheld the constitutionality of the chief order.
Roosevelt was a liberal Democratic president and Warren turned out to be a liberal California governor and Supreme Court docket Chief Justice, but they allowed themselves to observe widespread opinion and the mass hysteria of the occasions moderately than follow the U.S. Constitution which would never have allowed the hording on U.S. citizens into camps without due process of law.
In 1988, the United States government formally apologized for the internment of Japanese-Americans and paid reparations to those that had suffered the indignity of the internment or were the descendants of those that have been put by way of that injustice. The legislation handed by Congress stated the federal government actions had been based mostly on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership." That leadership failed as a result of it acquiesced to standard sentiment even when that majority opinion was wrong.
The framers of the United States Constitution had been very much opposed to direct democracy. James Madison, in particular, wrote and spoke in opposition to the "tyranny of the majority" over the individual or the minority. The Founders have been in favor of consultant government, or republican authorities with a small r. Madison wrote, "A pure democracy can admit no treatment for the mischiefs of faction. A typical ardour or curiosity will be felt by a majority, and there may be nothing to test the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party."
Governing by opinion polls is caving in to in style rage. It isn't in the interest of the United States to offend over a billion individuals who apply the Muslim faith by linking all members of an incredible religion to a small group of terrorists who attacked the U.S. on 9/11. If the supposed leaders of the nation continue to attain low-cost political points this way, they will be irreparably harming the nation's capability to domesticate the reasonable voices in Islam to join us in combating the extremist elements. We elect representatives because we'd like for them to rise above the noise and the whims of the majority. Rushing to see what the most recent opinion polls say is courting disaster and can trigger a precipitous decline in the stature of the nation.
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