Or triple or more—
—in the debate last night between Hilary and Barak, a debate which proved them both smart and not that far apart on the major issues, but for my taste proved him the more capable of actually achieving their shared goals, as well as the ones he disagrees with her on.
He’s already proven with his organizational efforts on the ground that he’s a capable and experienced leader, since his campaign should have been knocked out of the box right from the start by the supposedly far superior and obviously more experienced campaign organization of the Clintons.
But he’s also gotten better at articulating what makes him more capable of fulfilling his goals than she is of fulfilling hers, his capacity for unifying disparate factions and his ability to transcend the usual political partisan pettiness in order to create a more inspiring vision for getting things done.
As the beneficiary of the research of others, it has also become clear to me that the Senate records of Clinton and Obama clearly display their different approaches and which one is more effective.
Obama has co-sponsored many bills, some even with Clinton, in many areas of concern to me and I assume a lot of you—from keeping the administration from using the authorization to fight Iraq as an umbrella to attack Iran, to requirements for better fuel efficiency and other energy concerns, to addressing the mortgage crisis.
As one researcher pointed out in an article reprinted on E. Ethelbert Miller’s blog recently, for whatever reason, several of Hilary’s major proposed bills are sponsored only by her, whereas all of Obama’s are co-sponsored by a wide range of other Senators, including sometimes Hilary, and he has been more successful getting some of them passed than she has.
So I am convinced he will make the better president, accomplish more and do it more graciously, and truly be the unifier Bush Junior said he’d be and then turned out the opposite, and Hilary and McCain are obviously having a difficult time being.
But what my title for this post is about is something else that came up in the debate, the idea that Barak gets some kind of free ride in the media (if so, where are the articles touting his many accomplishments and his more than twenty years of public service and sacrifice to help others, etc.) and then he’s the one who gets confronted with the support of Louis Farrakhan, the head of the Black Muslims and a man who has in the past made a handful of comments that are anti-Jewish.
After the horrors of WWII, when it is estimated over six million European Jews were deliberately murdered, any form of anti-Jewish sentiment should be condemned and guarded against, lest it lead to anything remotely resembling that monstrous injustice.
But—so should other kinds of commentary and actions that support and/or encourage hatred and even violence against any group.
Because, as us history buffs know, there were six million other kinds of people who were also killed by the Nazis, one group of which—“Gypsies” or Romany people—were almost entirely eliminated throughout a huge swath of Europe, but have had no memorials built to their memory, or movies made about their plight, etc. etc. (nor much done about their continued oppression in some Eastern European countries where they remain second-class citizens etc.)
I am not denigrating nor minimizing the damage and destruction done to Jews by the Nazis, and by other anti-Jewish progroms, such as were carried out in Russia and other places.
But if Obama has to “reject” the endorsement of Louis Farrakhan because he has made anti-Jewish statements, actually anti-the-Jewish-religion statements, what of the basic tenets of the Black Muslim faith as it was preached when I was a young man, in which all “whites” were seen as less than human “devils” and the descendants of dogs, etc.
And what about the support of Mitt Romney from his fellow Mormons who up until 1978 believed that “blacks” were less than human and not able to ascend to their version of heaven, and who even now gather birth and death data on all of our ancestors in order to re-baptize (actually their ritual isn’t exactly “baptism”) their departed souls into the Mormon faith. I find that particularly offensive, the arrogance of it and the sneakiness of it. But I didn’t hear any questions to Romney about that, let alone other tenets of his faith that I find offensive.
And what about Bush Junior’s and other Republicans endorsements by religious fundamentalists who have said much harsher things about “gays and lesbians” or about Catholics (remember when Junior spoke at Bob Jones University while the school’s website and founder still referred to the Pope as “the anti-Christ” and “Satan”?).
Bill Clinton was the first president to not side with the Brits against the Irish Catholics of Northern Ireland in their struggle for equal rights, so why wasn’t every other presidential candidate before and since Bill Clinton questioned about their support of policies that oppressed and even murdered “my people?”
And what about all the anti-male remarks from many prominent women who support Hilary? She should have to reject them. Etc. etc.
Okay, okay, you say, that’s still not as bad as what happened to the Jewish Europeans in WWII. True. Little besides the way the Nazis also went after Gypsies and “gays” and “Communists” can compare with what happened to European Jews then.
But that doesn’t excuse what happened to Palestinians who weren’t Jewish, after the creation of Israel, and during it, and since. Yes, I condemn Hamas and their supporters lobbing bombs into Israel, and suicide bombers that blow up innocent civilians in Israel, children and old folks and anyone for that matter. I condemn any violence, other than in self-defense, but even that becomes questionable as an excuse for it.
Obviously Hamas and its supporters claim self-defense, because Israel, on our dime, is able to overwhelm the Palestinians with military might, which has meant keeping Palestinians from returning to or reclaiming land taken from them by Israel, being subjected to the time consuming humiliation of passing through checkpoints to get from their homes to their fields or to their relatives or to the doctor or wherever, while Israeli settlers are escorted and protected as they drive down newly built roads with no hindrances to and from settlements on land taken from Palestinians, etc.
And it’s true the Israeli military often targets (also in what it considers “self-defense”) precisely just those militants who take part in attacks on Israel, but they sometimes miss and kill scores of innocent civilians, children and babies and pregnant young mothers and old ladies and men, etc. So why shouldn’t the support of those in the American Jewish community that support Israel’s actions against the Palestinians and others, also be questioned in these debates?
We all know the answer to that. There are not a lot of Palestinian-American organizations making major contributions to political parties and campaigns, or coordinating policy agreements and military and monetary support etc. for their cause.
I don’t begrudge the so-called “Israel lobby” in this country, or its success. We Irish-Americans mostly ignored the troubles in Northern Ireland or if we followed them and were concerned, either didn’t know what to do about it or contributed to organizations that often ended up financing IRA violence (claimed to be “self-defense” as well).
But I do begrudge the double and multiple standards shown by the media, in the debates and out of them, that decries the support of anyone who has badmouthed the Jewish faith or community but ignores the support of those who have badmouthed other communities just as sensitive if not as well organized.
And by the way, the big fear in Israel is that Arabs will at some point outnumber Jews even there (as they are a much faster growing population, which is true everywhere, not just in Israel). But because of the Nazi atrocities, Israel has many defenders around the world, and particularly among U. S. politicians, who support a government that does all it can to preserve the dominance of the Jewish faith and of those who identify as Jews in a part of the world where that becomes more and more problematic.
But this is true around the world. Ireland, because of the economic boom that’s been going on there since the 1980s, is having its own debate about the nature of Irish citizenship, since the country has been overwhelmed with immigrants from Eastern Europe (from what I hear most churches in Ireland now have Masses in Polish and all church literature printed in Ireland now is published in both English and Polish) and from elsewhere (as Irish friends and relatives point out, there are many “people of color” in the small towns of the West of Ireland where before there were none, a development I find positive, but not everyone there does, not because of “racism,” which may be some people’s motivation, but mostly because of the fear that Ireland is losing it’s particular character and unique culture to some globalized hybrid, etc.).
And similar situations, as we know, are occurring and increasing in England, Italy, Japan, and many other countries whose “native” populations are diminishing while that of immigrants is growing. It’s what the Serbs are raging about in our recognition of Kosovo, an area that the Serbs once thought of as their ancestral homeland but are now a minority in, as the mostly Islamic Albanian population has outgrown them, etc.
There are well-intentioned people on all sides of these issues, as there are ill-intentioned ones. We need someone with the calm assurance Obama has developed to take the lead in addressing these and other 21st century issues, and with his experience as someone who is a product of these developments. I must admit, I have some hope it can be done, or at least begun, with him in the oval office.