Thursday, November 11, 2004
The passing of a terrorist, I mean, a leader
Yassar Arafat is dead. Finally.
I can't say that I have strong feelings about this event aside from the fact that it sounds like he was in a gradually deepening coma for a few days, which sounds much like the way my Granny died. In that sense I feel for his wife and family.
But I am struck by the way that the media keeps refering to him as "a terrorist that has died". They keep stating things like "aside from the Palestinians, few will mourn his passing." One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Calling Arafat a terrorist strikes me ass fundamentally different than calling the people who crashed into the trade centers terrorists or calling the gunmen in Beslan terrorists or the Oklahoma city bombers for that matter. The differences seem to me to be in:
1)the magnitude of the attacks (single and double digits, not hundreds and thousands)
2)the types of targets chosen (not a school; not thousands of civilians; limited and targeted)
3)the attempts to build a peace (real participation in negotiations, a clear declaration of desires)
Yes the attacks were unconventional and did not strictly target military targets. But when the little guy goes up against the big guy, it's hard to adhere to commonly accepted rules of war.
I wonder if King George thought of George Washington or Paul Revere as terrorists?
Thursday, November 04, 2004
A Christian Democrat
I've been trying to articulate my response to the election results. In one sense I am gratified. The results are clear. The turn out was high. The Republicans have won not just the White House, but also the Senate and House and Gubanatorial races across the nation. Clearly, there was a sentiment for the issues and values and ideals that the Republicans claim to stand for.
At the same time I am deeply disappointed and troubled by the results. Obviously I am not anywhere near what the majority of the people believe (even if I am a part of a substantial minority). The Religious Right apparently carried the election for the Republicans. Christian Conservatives have spoken.
The thing is, I am a pretty strong Christian myself. I go to church every Sunday. I pray. I believe in a fair number of the "values" that Bush stands for, at least as they apply to myself (personally Pro-Life, personally not sure about gay marriage in the Church, etc). BUT I am capable of making the distinction between Church and State. And I think that what the state does is different from what I as an individual do and what my church does. Politically I'm very socially liberal.
But even beyond that I put a higher priority on social justice issues than I do on social life issues (I'm not sure how to distinguish things like 'religious values' from things like raising the minimum wage, adequate child care, universal health coverage, improved educational system, equal rights for all people, etc - Maybe they aren't different). I also put a higher priority on the value of tolerance than I do on a strict social structure.
I want the Democrats to reach out to Christians in a way that they aren't currently doing. But I don't think I want to give up the things that I value in order to do that. How do we grow as a group without sacrificing the values that are the reason why I am a part of the Deomcratic Party?
Am I so different from other Christians? Why do I have such a distinct view of what I am called to do? I don't understand how people read the Bible and believe that intolerance and hatred and anger and enforced morality trump love, mercy, peace, forgiveness.... I can't get there from here.