When Irony Only Makes Me Sad: A Pro-Obama Post at Corrente
I just got off the phone with an Israeli friend, and we had some fun joking with each other about the timing of the call. I was reading this post from a very strong Obama supporter, and I complimented the author on his honesty and willingness to say what needs to be said. Short version: it's not "anti-semitic" to point out that in critical, large, expensive media states like NY and FL, the people raising a lot of money for Dem candidates in those states, as well as pulling state-level political strings (think backroom superdelagate type games) are also "Jewish," whatever that is supposed to mean*. Nor it is anything less than fact to say many of these fundraising powerhouses really think Israel can do no wrong, and that because of their great influence on the political process here at critical moments, overall American ME and I/P policies are warped. I'm very proud of Boo for reminding us that it's virtually no different with Cubans in FL; I'd add other single/special interests like the so-called 'farm lobby' in the plains states, or even the so-called gay lobby in small Eastern states in which some gays have both money and overrepresentation/overempowerment in local political circles. That's just how politics works right now here. If you've got money/friends with money, and you play your cards right in your state, when the Presidential candidates come to your 'hood, you make them say what you want to hear: in Spanish, Yiddish, or flatland drawl.
But then I thought more and more about Boo's confidence that Obama wants to do more, and better things for the Palestinians even as he takes the standard, ironclad, pro-Likudnik hardline. (Way not to impress your own people, Obama. Tone deaf much? Or do you just think they don't matter?) Still, I think Boo could be right.
Now, don't hear me wrong: I'm annoyed and not at all impressed by yet another American politician supporting a policy perspective, publically, that has produced exactly no good result for Jews, Israel, or anyone else in that region for decades now. Dood, it's not working, PITME via the hardliners hasn't come, and never will. Nor is Hope and Belief in Obama's essential "difference" going to cloud my thinking about him on other issues and policies of his. Still, this is where my mind does open a bit to the argument, "no, he's really different than the rest of them." OK, let's see if I can imagine that.
I have a lot of "international" friends, and I'm pretty familiar with how schools work around the world, both at the "upper" or high school level, as well as colleges/universities. If one travels, and is educated abroad (which sort of includes "exotic" states like HI, with all the unique diversity there), it's really hard to retain some of the silly and ignorant but common American beliefs about this or that ethnic, religious or racial group. Basically I think this is true for most people who travel a lot, or meet/work with people from around the world on a regular basis. Also, Haavaad is a pretty 'diverse' place in this respect as well; I'd be very surprised if Obama hadn't at the very least occasionally hung out with some "international muslim" type or student peer. Anyway, I'm just going to assume that Obama is like most well-educated, well-traveled people with an "international" family like his.
Now, let's set aside Obama, the American politician for a moment and just think about him as a guy with a chance to affect I/P policy in this country. Let's imagine that the Likud lobby here suddenly disappeared, and the power/money they exercise in American politics went away. Be honest with yourself, and I know this may be hard for some of you, but of all the policy-shapers we've had in this country on the I/P issues, has there ever been anyone like him? I'm having a hard time thinking of one, that's for sure. And even if I'm wrong, it's still the case that very, very few people with Muslims in their family, or regular exposure to Muslim culture in a positive way, have *ever* shaped American I/P policy. So right there, it's a whole new world of possibility.
Until you factor the money and the need to win states like FL and NY, and the role of the aforementioned special interest groups he was talking to the other day. And what he said to them.
But my point is that I'm sooooo unimpressed, by almost every American politician, of any party, race or religion (heh, what am I saying? It's always the same one) when it comes to banging the wardrum for Our Only Friend in the Middle East. Without getting into the whole argument about how that "friendship" actually costs and hurts us, it's pretty clear to me that the vast majority of American politicians are more than willing to deal with the hardliner's lobby and give them anything they want. That Republicans have done so a great deal lately, to please their fundies, is some kind of Irony that always makes me laugh long and hard. I grew up in Fundieland, and as I told my Israeli friend today, sure, they called me "nigger" to my face and asked me if I had a tail when I was a little girl, but their true, lasting, utterly scary hatred was always reserved for The Joos Who Killed Krist. Nutbags, every last one. It's a marriage that will end in tears, that's all I'm saying, o Republican fundies of both kinds.
I think if the Palestinian people are your most important priority, and I'm not saying they are for me, you probably should have a little Faith and Hope in Obama. He's far from perfect, and even sucks on a whole host of other issues and that's why I'm not supporting him. But to those with this concern, I can totally understand why Boo and others are daring to believe it's all a show, as Obama tells the hardliners how much he loves the Likud Party. Perhaps in this, his 'savvy' ability to 'say what he must' is part of his path to doing what no other American politician ever has had the guts or desire to do: truly and finally begin to help the Palestinians, and end the reign of terror of the Likudniks/extremists in Israeli politics. Or not. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
...the 'sad irony' part of the title of this post is that Boo never speaks to me anymore, and I'm sure he'll ignore this. But who'd've thunk: Corrente defending, and BooTrib bitching about, on the same day, Mr. Hope. I'm always sad when I lose friends or colleagues over stupid and meaningless to us personally, political crap.
*I really detest the construction that "Jew" is some kind of category that is a useful one, or rather the way it's used by most Americans isn't one I can get down with. I work very hard to correctly use the terms "Jew" "Israeli" "Likudnik" and "crazy orthodox American Old Testament-only type fundie with too many fantasies about a life in Israel they've never led." And frankly, looking at how much harm they've done, to Israel, its reputation, its people and its future, sometimes it's hard for me to call the AIPAC lobby et al "Jews" even in the purely religious sense, despite the fact that many of them are practicing orthodox or fundies. Seriously, if I were the Devil and I wanted to hurt God's Chosen People, I'd empower and elevate some of these American extremists and "Zion" lovers to just where they are today.