Wednesday, February 27, 2008

THE OLD DOUBLE STANDARD

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.

9 comments:

JIm said...

-If I were a supporter of Israel and I am and if I were Jewish and I am not, I would work for the defeat of Barak. I would distrust his anti Israel comments in the 90’s and I would not trust him to maintain an active diplomatic and military offensive against Islamofascism. His support from a low life like Farakahn and Arab and Palestinian organizations would be troubling.
-Barak has certainly proved his organizational skills in running an excellent campaign against the supposed smartest political team in politics.
-The idea that the most liberal senator in the senate is going to be a uniter not a divider is ridiculous. Do we now think that he will appeal to the center right with strict constructionist judges, become pro strong military, pro life, renounce redistribution of wealth and high taxes, and hold up Canadian and European and Cuban socialized medicine for the failure it is. Etc.,etc,
-The horrors or German National Socialism were visted on Jews and Gentiles of the world because weak leaders like Chamberlain refused to confront and stop Hitler. Chamberlain was aided and abetted, in America, by socialist and progressives, in the 20's and 30's, who thought that socialism was far superior to capitalism. Barak looks like another Chamberlain to many.
-McCain was my last choice for the Republicans, but it looks like he may actually be the best choice to win. It is early, but it is encouraging to see his poll numbers against Barak. Maybe American is not ready to go over the cliff following a charismatic socialist who will weaken our war effort and who is liable to get us killed. By the way it has been almost seven years since 9/11. Many attacks have been attempted but none have been carried out. How about three cheers for President Bush.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit that I always enjoy your rantings.

Were you watching the same debate that I was?

I got many chuckles from the two candidates decrying NAFTA while using as examples the problems of trade with China. Not very inteligent or informed or were they taking advantage of the lack of knowledge of their audience?

In my view, all religions are regional methods of controlling the masses through superstition. I have no use for it. All say that their god is better than any other god. Their tenets are more enlightened than the next.

You touched on the real immigration and illegal immigration issue. Kosovo is not only a wonderful example of indigenous people being displaced, but also of the first truly Islamic separatist state. Will Mexico reclaim their lost territory by the same methods?

Palestine and Israel is a dispute amongst Jews. In the eyes of the Arab World, Palestinians are Jews. Have you noticed that no Arab nation has been willing to offer Palis citizenship in their nations? The conflict has now become Israeli Jews, Hamas Jews and West Bank Jews fighting with each other. There seems to be a poorly kept secret that peace will come to the region when Gaza is eliminated and joined into the state of Israel.

Obama is the better candidate indeed. Though uninformed on many issues he shines every time he makes issue of Clinton's heavy handed politics. Clinton's health care efforts as First Lady has been her downfall. She does not care to bring about change through legislation through the process. Instead she wants to dictate policy, which in and of itself is confrontational. Not good practice for consensus building.

I particularly enjoyed your rant against Jewish power and control of the media and US politics. When you become more enlightened to the true nature of this natio's founding fathers, you will understand the control is exerted through the fraternity of the widow's son which traces its founding to the temple of Solomon.

By the way, did you see that McCain's birth in Panama is now an issue. Huckabee is now pushing for debate. Strange things are happening. There may be a GOP convention that has to choose a candidate that has never won a primary. Shades of Hubert Humphrey.

Anonymous said...

Current State Department policy reads: "Despite widespread popular belief, U.S. military installations abroad and U.S. diplomatic or consular facilities are not part of the United States within the meaning of the 14th Amendment. A child born on the premises of such a facility is not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and does not acquire U.S. citizenship by reason of birth."

harryn said...

i'm really enjoying the blog essays and comments this campaign is inciting - intelligent, informative, and thoughtful ...
regarding the double [?] standards with press and factions; the words picayune, divergent, and petty come to mind - all blame games for self interest ...
as the 21st century really begins to embrace the globalization we've been warned about for the past 50 years, the control freaks are beginning to rant in a desperate attempt to keep things the same using every available forum at their disposal ...
i feel the same sickening disgust with the right wing conservative or any fundamentalist group advocating devision, debasement, violence, and self interest as i did as a kid hearing the justifications for segregation and racial/social inequality [blacks, japanese, communists, jews, gypsies, bums, alcoholics, hippies, nerds, etc] ...
interesting comments on the bbc news yesterday about sunday's elections in russia; democracy doesn't have to be agreement with u.s. policy and why would they want to support policies that create catastrophe at home and abroad ...

Anonymous said...

National self interest is the role of every government and nation. Globalization is really imperialism in nice dressing. It has as its core the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Can you say New World Order?

Trade is supposed to take place with goods and services that are surplus in a nation's production. Globalization promotes production of goods and services solely for export. This is the role of a colony, not a nation.

We have seen the results of our reliance on sole production based in other nations (outsourcing). The standards that we would like are no longer applicable because our standards are not shared by the producing nation. (Lead paint on toys, substandard medications, antifreeze in food and dental products). Not to mention the living standards in those nations of the workers, or the environmental standards of the producers.

Globalization sounds nice, but it is an unreasonable system that is running amuk. Can you imagine the day when milk and other dairy products are outsourced to another continent. (Prices and quality already suffer as the distance between dairy farms and consumers grows.)

I remember when the GOP was considered the left-wing Liberal party as it concerned civil rights. Calling the GOP conservative for seeking the preservation of the ideals of the Declaration of Independence is not derogatory. Since Reagan, every group seeking power claims to be Conservative while injecting different standards of what Conservativism actually represents in our political atmosphere.

Change for the sake of change is just as insane as maintaining the status quo merely to resist change.

The Declaration of Independence is the standard that this country was dedicated to at its birth. The Constitution was the first assault on the principles of the Declaration. The GOP since its inception has fought to attain the ideals that the Declaration trumpeted.

Conservation of the principles of the Declaration is no vice.

JIm said...

The battle against globalization has already been lost. The horse is out of the barn and will not go back in. We have two choices: Continue to adapt and prosper along with the rest of the world or erect trade barriers and relive the 1930s. One good side to globalization that liberals might like is that when we trade with a country we are less likely to want to go to war. It is Rodney King’s call on an international stage; “Can’t we just get along”.

Lally said...

If you remember when the GOP was considered "leftwing" than you must be living in another country, or GOP stands for something other than the Republicans. The only party that fought racial segregation in the first half of the 20th century was the U. S. Communist Party. I have no sympathy for Stalin and the rest of the mostly brutal leaders of so-called Soviet communism, nor do I have much sympathy for those in the U. S. Communist Party who made excuses for that brutality and betrayal of the ideals of that movement. But to pretend Republicans were fighting the laws upholding racial segregation in the South and de facto segregation elsewhere is preposterous. There may have been members of that Republican party that stood up, but the party didn't. And there certainly were more public proponents of integration in the Democratic Party back then, which eventually led to several splits in the Party with the progressives peeling off in '48 behind Wallace and the Dixiecrats behind Strom Thurmond, the most strident segregationist and racist in public life throughout most of my life, and who, as you know, became a prominent Republican and along with his Republican standard bearer of racism successor Jesse Helms fought every step of the way against any kind of racial eqaulity and justice for African-Americans. Unless, of course, you're talking about Lincoln and the time of the Civil War, then you'd be half right. But if you want to judge your party by the actions of presidents from the distant past, try a more recent one in Teddy Roosevelt and let's see Republicans take on the coporations and be true conservatives in conserving the natural wonders of this country (in case you haven't heard, the air in our national parks in the West, from Washington State to Baja has recently been declared way worse than suspected, full of pollutants drifting in from urban California and points further West. What are Republicans doing about that?).

JIm said...

Nothing to do with the subject but might be of interest-William F. Buckley and Jack Kerouac on Firing line.

Many on this blog think highly of Kerouac and I think highly of Buckley who was a giant thinker, raconteur engaging proponent of conservative philosophy who had the ability to deliver his views with humor, civility and aplomb. The link to the video is below.



http://faculty.uml.edu/sgallagher/Buckley.html

Anonymous said...

Justice Harlan correctly predicted the consequences of this decision: it put an end to the attempts by Radical Republicans to ensure the civil rights of blacks and ushered in the widespread segregation of blacks in housing, employment and public life that confined them to second-class citizenship throughout much of the United States until the passage of civil rights legislation in the 1960s in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement.

The decision that the Reconstruction-era Civil Rights Acts were unconstitutional has not been overturned; on the contrary, the Supreme Court reaffirmed this limited reading of the Fourteenth Amendment in United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598 (2000), in which it held that Congress did not have the authority to enact the Violence Against Women Act. The Court has, however, upheld more recent civil rights laws based on Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce under the Commerce Clause in Article I.