The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Crumbling and Decay

Driving from Florida to Massachusetts has become almost routine for us. I've lost count of the number of round trips we've made since retiring in 2003, but this is our second trip this year. The first night we stopped in Roanoke Rapids, NC, just a few miles south of the Virginia border, and stayed at a slightly seedy Best Western motel. The next night, after a day of horrible traffic jams and absolutely insane drivers, I finally could take no more and, as we neared New Haven, Connecticut, decided to stop at the first place we found. It turned out to  be an Econolodge in West Haven and it, too, will never be confused with a real hotel. It was probably the least expensive hotel in town, but still cost us $100. My doubts about the place began when we discovered our room was already occupied -- always an embarrassing situation. It was almost a joy to rejoin the I-95 craziness the next morning. The rest of the trip was uneventful and ended with a wonderful reunion with children and grandchildren.

For now there's nothing to do but enjoy their company as we wait for our elder daughter to let us know that grandchild #8 is ready to make his debut. At the moment I'm babysitting while wife and daughter are out somewhere spending money. So far it's been pretty relaxing, just sitting on the couch with four little ones as we watch old reruns of "I Love Lucy." The kids, especially nine-year-old Pedro, love this show. There's a certain innocence about "Lucy" and its unlikely plots, but it's still a very funny show and the kids and I laughed aloud through three episodes.

Watching "Lucy", one is compelled to compare it to the televised trash that passes for entertainment these days. We've come a long way since the 1950s. And such comparisons inevitably conjure up thoughts of societal decay. This, in turn, reminded me of a recent Spengler post on this First Things blog that places the proposed "ground-zero mosque" in an interesting historical context. It's well worth a read: Why Did Rome Fall?

But of all the things I've read about the controversy in lower Manhattan, the best by far is that written today by Joseph Bottom, the Editor of First Things: Holy War Over Ground Zero.

One final comment about this controversy. Most of the "Muslim on the street" interviews I've seen seem to indicate that many American Muslims are against the construction of the mosque. Like most Americans they, too, consider the plan insensitive. Perhaps more telling is the fact that Hamas, Hezbollah, and Al-queda have all indicated support for the project.

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