Are we going to the dogs?
“We will fight the White Paper as if there is no war, and fight the war as if there is no White Paper.”
David Ben-Gurion, head of the Jewish Agency in Palestine (1939)
Hold onto this, I’ll come back to it later.
Two sobering outcomes were evident from the recent US election:
- half the country was elated while half was and remains distraught
- half live within zip codes, actual or virtual, to which the other half cannot relate.
We are a house divided and a divided house cannot stand. Is there a way out?
If this zip code concept was applied in the mid-nineteenth century, half the US populous (the North) would live in zones determined to end the practice of slavery. Across the divide, ’others’ (the South) lived with equal resolve to preserve their tradition. Battle lines were drawn. The ensuing bloodshed consumed greater than half a million Americans, more than would die in almost all subsequent US wars! Our ‘house’ was not simply divided, it was ripped apart. In the aftermath, re-forming a union, perfect or otherwise, appeared to be beyond the pale. Yet, a union was formed.
Now in the adolescence of the twenty-first century, once again our house is divided, and once again it’s an imperative to make it whole. A first step is acknowledging that half our nation felt so deeply disaffected and desperate for change, it was prepared to roll the dice and vote for an unconventional candidate with no government experience. We must feel that half’s pain then hold the incoming administration accountable to address legitimate needs as it travels forward in the landscape of this new century.
But, if the new administration signals a vision of America as one embracing or condoning venom directed at any segment of our society, we need to loudly vocalize disdain and protest, then use the power of the ballot box to quickly end its tenure. This citizen response is open to Americans in all zip codes.
Now back to Ben-Gurion’s call to action. His words were delivered as the fires of WWII were being stoked. Across the Channel, Great Britain had just issued The White Paper. The document outlined governing principles for its Mandate of Palestine including a policy of severe immigration restrictions for Jews desperate to escape Europe’s emerging inferno. In the spirit of how Ben-Gurion threw down the gauntlet, I offer the following:
We in the US should start working for the goal of re-forming our union as if signals condoning bigotry, racism, and exclusion emerging from the new administration don’t exist, and we should fight any odious signal as if re-forming a perfect union was a goal that doesn’t exist.
May the Force be with us.
Massachusetts Sate House Rally - November 21, 2016
images © David Greenfield 2016
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