When you find yourself caught between a “9/11 Truth” banner and the contemplative face of Mumia Abu-Jamal, you may reasonably question your political judgment. And Chambers Street on this contentious September 11, 2010, was awash in the dregs of lefty activism. And if the fringe organizations filled the streets, they also filled the silence with hysterical invective worthy of our most despised right-wing opponents. They did not appeal to the millions of Americans who surely sympathized with the cause of the community center. Hundreds of participants may have been unaware of the particular organizations present. But you didn’t have to be literate in sectarian acronyms to know that you were not being asked by these speakers to contribute to any serious conversations. The tremendous energy and enthusiasm, unchanneled toward any action, dissipated in all the hot air. And until more densely populated parts of the Left spectrum are willing to condemn Islamophobia unambiguously and to hold up America’s own highest standards to combat it, these will be our bedfellows and the loudest voices on the street.


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pp. 81-82
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