The uproar over a proposal to build an Islamic center (including a mosque) near the site of ground zero in New York City has to be one of the most infuriating political controversies in recent memory. As Republicans have fought to keep the facility from being built -- and as President Obama has stuck his neck out in favor of the plan -- many Democrats have remained silent. Thankfully, Illinois' own Alexi Giannoulias isn't one of them. "Are we going to talk about tolerance, talk about freedom of religion or
are we actually going to practice it?" he said yesterday at the state fair. (By contrast, his GOP U.S. Senate opponent, Mark Kirk, predictably opposed the site.)
Meanwhile, downstate Democratic Congressman Jerry Costello also joined the opposition. "The proponents of this project need to listen to the concerns
of the families of those who died on that spot almost nine years
ago," he said in a statement yesterday. Costello -- and others Dems taking this stance -- would do well to read Glenn Greenwald's new piece on the New York Times website: "It's true that polls reflect majority opposition to the project, but
what Democrats fail to understand, as usual, is that courageously
defending an unpopular view is far superior to stand for nothing, to be
afraid of one's own beliefs."