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Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

It’s a political season, and the issues that drive us at Pitaron Park are part of the discussion. During his speech at the Republican National Convention last night, Rudy Giuliani praised VP hopeful Sarah Palin’s plans regarding off-shore drilling, and then led the convention floor in a chant of “Drill, baby, drill.” Thousands of people were chanting in support of an environmentally risky, quick fix solution to oil shortages that might not even decrease domestic gas prices.

A few minutes later, Giuliani went after Barack Obama for flip-flopping on the issue of Jerusalem; while speaking at an AIPAC conference in June, Obama called for Jerusalem to remain Israel’s “undivided capital,” but then shifted his opinion shortly after to reflect a more moderate position. Even as an Obama man, I can see how this move could register as nakedly political to those who don’t want to Barack the vote. However, I consider the continual efforts of the right to paint any shift in opinion or understanding of an issue over the course of time to be “flip-flopping” as childish and ignorant. I do not remember when learning became un-American; perhaps that’s what happens when you don’t believe in evolution.

There is a basic lack of complexity inherent in both of Giuliani’s positions. Finding solutions for sustainable energy is a key challenge today, and it is true that weaning ourselves off foreign oil is a critical piece of that puzzle. But, given concerns over peak oil and pollution, the answer is not to tear up our own country in search of another hit of that delicious black stuff, but wide-ranging, revolutionary re-imaginings of how we can reduce energy usage in our lives as well as how we can provide ourselves with the energy we need (bonus: wind and solar power programs could create many more jobs for Americans, in addition to providing more sustainable energy solutions).

Similarly, with regard to Jerusalem, the easy, quick fix answer for a politician in the US may be to keep AIPAC, the OU and the other “voices” of the American Jewish community happy by praising an undivided Jerusalem without question, but any realistic look at the situation recognizes the growing Palestinian population of Jerusalem (which creates serious demographic issues), the insistence of Palestinian groups on the importance of the city, and the fact that more and more Israelis are becoming ambivalent about living there. I am not saying Jerusalem should be broken up no matter what, but making promises without accounting for the possibilities that could occur is short-sighted at best.

True sustainibility and true Judaism, especially with regard to Israel, involve deep complexity of thought and careful examination of how we live our lives. This may involve occasionally rethinking our previously held opinions or taking risks with new ideas, but we must move forward and keep our minds open, otherwise we will never grow and develop. Think about it.

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