Save the Left! (Idealism alert.)
I spotted a girl in the front row with a hand-made sign that read: "Lebanon: say something". She held up the sign for the entire several hours of the concert. The band never really said anything on the topic, though it did a quick shout-out to Palestinians.
This column from an Australian paper crystallizes the thoughts that went through my head last night – and that resurface whenever I find myself among this particular group with whom I agree on so many political issues. There's this sense that if you don't agree with the party line on everything, than you can't be part of the club – and you're the enemy. But isn't this the same sort of blind adherence to ideology that we on the left deride in our right-wing counterparts? And isn't such adherence dangerous and irresponsible? So when I hear people shout "No more war!" and "Fuera, fuera, Israel!" (Out, out, Israel!) but never condemn Hizbullah for admittedly starting the violent outbreak and for continuing to send missiles into civilian areas, indiscriminately killing people, I have to question the shouters' dedication to "No more war!" – and the justice of their movement as a whole.
Despite what one might believe about the extent of Israel's military retaliation -- or the Israeli government's general modus operandi -- why does the left often insist that Israeli civilian lives value less than those of various Arabs (while many others do the opposite)? How can one scream for peace and a cessation in the killing of civilians but on one side only? Why are Israeli citizens responsible for what the Israeli military does, when Lebanese citizens are faultless in their government's harboring of Hizbullah and doing little to stop the military aggression exploding from its neighborhoods and endangering its own citizens? If we are to condemn violence and demand justice, we must do so from everyone.
The "left" needs to remind itself that it can fall into the exact same pitfalls of hatred, hypocrisy, and irrationality as its opponents on the right. That's why this article in the Wall Street Journal not only frightens me as a Jew and someone who's not so into bigotry but insults and disappoints me as someone who generally would be considered way towards the left side of the political spectrum in this country, which forces me to align myself with the Democratic Party. In this piece, Lanny J. Davis, friend of and campaigner for Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), expresses his dismay with the hate he never expected to find on the left side of the aisle. Here are some of the examples Davis cites of internet statements about Lieberman:
"• On "Lieberman vs. Murtha": "as everybody knows, jews ONLY care about the welfare of other jews; thanks ever so much for reminding everyone of this most salient fact, so that we might better ignore all that jewish propaganda [by Lieberman] about participating in the civil rights movement of the 60s and so on" (by "tomjones," posted on Daily Kos, Dec. 7, 2005).
"• "Good men, Daniel Webster and Faust would attest, sell their souls to the Devil. Is selling your soul to a god any worse? Lieberman cannot escape the religious bond he represents. Hell, his wife's name is Haggadah or Muffeletta or Diaspora or something you eat at Passover" (by "gerrylong," posted on the Huffington Post, July 8, 2006)."
I'm no fan of most of Mr. Lieberman's politics. His obsequious imitations of Pres. Bush in matters of "faith-based" governance and his hawkishness have soured me on him as a leader. But the responses above are as sick as those of the anti-immigrant folks on the message boards of The Arizona Daily Star, whose enlightened declarations below came in response to this article about the crash of an SUV, carrying more than 20 people as it fled Border Patrol in Yuma, AZ. Nine people died and twelve were injured, including a pregnant woman. Read on:
"10. Comment by Rich O. (darkhorse) — August 8,2006 @ 7:17AM
Rating: 5 Thumbs Up
Boo Hoo! I never cry when criminals die. Just think how many more thousands of dollars would have been spent on these 9 people plus all of their families.
22. Comment by Steve S. (#6590) — August 8,2006 @ 9:53AM
Rating: 2 Thumbs Up
Freakin ****s! If they would just stay in Mexico, this would not happen. I knew right away they were ****s when I heard 22 people in a Suburban.
Do you know why they only used 10000 Mexicans at the Alamo??
They only had 1 truck!
26. Comment by Clifford P. (Patriot) — August 8,2006 @ 10:16AM
Rating: 0 Thumbs Up
NINE DOWN, MILLIONS TO GO. If the ILLEGAL ALIENS in this country want SYMPATHY they can find it in the dictionary, it's somewhere between
SH_T AND SYPHILIS."
Would these folks still feel the same knowing how much money they would save in cases like this by loosening immigration laws, therefore not having the BP out chasing undocumented immigrants (at a cost of $1,700 per arrest), and therefore not having folks end up in the hospital? (See my last posting.)
Judging from their statements, I fear that they would. So, it's not an issue of politics, or even one of money. Deep-seated bigotry runs beneath the facades of political arguments, along the opposing banks of blind ideologies, before crashing into a sea of discord -- and more violence. At the font of the river then, Manu, lay down your education. And how does one combat the missiles, literal and figurative, flying many ways across the sky before we can shut off the font? That, I don't know. But that doesn't mean we stop pushing on any front. Como dice Manu, "Próxima estación -- esperanza. Hope -- always."
Technorati tags: Immigration, Politics, Lebanon, Israel, Lieberman, Manu Chao.