Given recent local beefs over locations of mosques and Islamic centers, and coverage of said beefs from the national press, an observer from afar might reasonably wonder if Middle Tennessee has anything more to offer than nativism and xenophobia.
So it's with an exquisite sense of timing that one Maura Satchell of Smyrna, a mother of two Iraq war veterans, gets her pithy letter on the Ground Zero brouhaha published in today's New York Times:
The uproar over the proposed Islamic center is at odds with what the United States military is trying to do in Iraq and Afghanistan right now and actually puts our troops in danger. Our troops swallow any prejudices they might have had and find common ground with their Iraqi and Afghan interpreters to win the hearts and minds of the civilians, or perhaps only to survive. Their lives rely on a bond forged with their Muslim brethren. The xenophobic actions back home counter that effort, reinforce resentments some Muslims harbor against us and make our troops less safe. This nonsense must stop, if only for our troops’ sake.
Yes, this nonsense must stop, and yes, there are voices of sanity and reason in the provinces.