Cross Posted at The Progressive Zionist
So... What now? Last night... the question asked of me by a good friend. What now? The President was re-elected, CA has a super-majority of Dems. running the show, he said, "What do you think?" and I had to think on that for a few minutes. And then I had to think for a few minutes more.
Prior to the election I had really been into Middle East politics. Some friends and I founded Team Shalom here, along with other Jewish advocacy groups. This interest took the form of creating a weekly news series dedicated to multiple perspectives on the news called "Fry'd Daze". We ran it for over two years and decided that since no one was much interested after a time, that there was no real point in continuing. So I thought to myself; "Why not get back into that issue?", I mean I have friends and family there, I semi-know the language, I practice Israeli Martial Arts, I read their on-line newspapers (Haaretz and Ynet) every day, I get polling updates from Israel on a regular basis.
But then I was dissuaded in two ways. The first was by the situation itself. It is a mess (belagan in Hebrew). I am not happy with the Israeli Right, who not only pursue policies that I simply don't agree with, but helped form a coalition of racists, crazy people and morons (who simply can't discern fact from fiction and have even stated that Republicans are hippies compared to the people that President Obama supports) to push their cause in the U.S. And arguing against them is fine BUT from all I can see, and according to all of the polls coming out of Israel, they will retain power and do it rather easily. At the same time, I certainly have absolutely ZERO in common with those that support trashing Israel publicly to prove what "good Jews they are" along with I don't see anything that I can support coming from the Palestinian side. So, while I would love to advocate for the Israeli Center and Center-Left (Meretz, Avodah, Yesh-Atid and Tzipi Livni - whatever she is doing), they can't even get themselves together so what the heck am I advocating for?
The second thing that dissuaded me are my Israeli friends. They don't understand U.S. individual advocacy for their cause. They appreciate that I feel a connection to them but honestly, I never went through what they have been through and they have not been through what I went through. They care about Jews and Jewish identity, but to them, unless we are moving there or giving them money, honestly... it is not a big deal. It really is this... that convinced me that while I still have an interest in things, honestly... it is not and should not be my main focus. They are right, I am an American. I should worry about my own country before thinking about any other. Watching the Presidents brilliant victory speech brought a complete welling of national pride for our great nation. We did the right thing this year and for that I am grateful. Of course, I will still write on the subject but it is not up to me to tell Israelis what to do. Not from my happy little perch in beautiful California.
So... Now what? I think it is to help push the President's agenda forward in a progressive manner. NOT to become bitter at the incremental progress he makes but, to try to make sure that things like sane budgeting, environmental improvement, education enhancement continue on the path that the President has started.
Making sure that we get the reasonable healthcare that the Affordable Care Act is supposed to provide. Making sure that the President knows NOT to cave in to Speaker Boehner and the failed policy proposals of the Teahaddists. Making sure, that we as Americans get renewables front and center in our energy policy, and finally making sure that Seniors and those who need assistance the most don't lose their social safety net and have the ability to live their lives with dignity.
I want to see the President that I voted for, and what President Obama became in the last year and a half and that is my cause. A liberal/progressive system of government that allows for the better nature of Americans to shine through. Because of this election I have that hope. Now, it's time to make that real.
THIS is what I want: