2007-10-19 / Columnists

The Progressive

Questions and Answers, Part II
Commentary By John Paul Culotta

Are the Democrats the Progressive's choice for a substitute?

I am a registered Democrat. I do feel, though, that the party is a contributor to the American nightmare. Our elections are now such costly endeavors and corporations and other special interest groups, including labor unions and ethnic groups, are now having too much influence. Often in order to obtain funds, political discourse becomes the parvenu of the more privileged of society. One GOP presidential candidate has personally raised funds in London from overseas Americans. Now, candidates give speeches and campaign overseas! This nation needs election finance reform, Electoral College reform, and proportional representation to give the American people a true voice.

Unfortunately, the Democratic Party does not act as a voice for the common man and woman. It too often caters to corporate interests. Opposition to the reckless attacks on living standards, civil liberties, and support for an unjust, untenable war rests on the shoulders of the party and some of their Presidential candidates, especially Hillary Clinton. Is the Progressive hostile to Zionism?

Zionism is and was a political movement that is nationalistic in nature. Many people believed that the Jewish people, both secular and the religiously observant, would be at risk of persecution without a homeland. History appears to reinforce this for many Jews. I believe that Israel may be in a dangerous position, but the Jewish people will survive with or without Israel. History teaches this, also.

All nationalistic movements have an intrinsically dangerous component. I have objection to any country being exclusive in nature. This is why I object to Saudi Arabia and any nation that denies religious expression to faiths different from that of the majority population. Of course, Israel is not a state that does not allow Muslim or Christian expression. Israel has less than eight million people. Many Jews live in relative peace in the western world. Our nation has a considerable Jewish population and there is no mass exodus to Israel from the United States. Many Israelis, in fact, immigrate to our shores. Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Holland and some other countries have sizable Jewish populations. There is no rush from these nations to go to live in Israel. Jewish people have been elected and appointed to positions of authority and respect in all the previously mentioned countries. English common law, the Enlightenment, and the French Revolution have influenced all of these nations. Jewish people have flourished in our nation, yet prejudice and hate exists here, also. If a nation is a nation that values civil liberties and human life, there is a minimal need for fear. (I also feel the Jewish contributions to this nation must be recognized.)

Israel may not be viable as a nation, considering the population growth of the Palestinian people, without an enduring peace between the two persecuted peoples. At the same time, I believe the extreme nationalistic tendencies of the Zionists and Palestinians have inflamed the region. Israel is a strong nation supported by the most powerful nation in the world. Most Israelis are confident regarding their security. Reliable media outlets for example, The Jerusalem Post, state fifty percent of the young in Israel avoid the draft.

Suicide bombers are a sign of Israel's opponents'weaknesses- not of strength. They cause extensive damage and fear, but this tactic is the tactic of despair and of the weak. Extremists must be prevented from obtaining dangerous chemicals and nuclear weapons. Increasingly, the international community recognizes this. Israel, it should be noted, is believed to have nuclear capacity.

Use of torture, a wall that separates two peoples, economic impoverishment of the weaker party, and a refusal to negotiate until certain demands are met, is a recipe for disaster. Israel uses these tactics. The extremists in the Palestinian camp will lose support only when Israel is perceived as a nation that welcomes the alien, as the Torah teaches.

Our nation welcomes many and we live in relative peace. Our history has ugly examples of racism and when racism flourished, it prevented development and social peace and harmony. Israel should not forget that strength and power alone cannot ensure peace and security. I am a Christian and I believe Israel is a nation, not a people or religion, and must be judged as a nation capable of both good and evil. I see unconditional support for any nationalistic movement as dangerous. There are many who desire a joint state that guarantees the rights of all religious and ethnic entities as a possible solution. This appears impossible now; but the future may entail such a solution if there is to be a Jewish presence in the land of the bible. Land should be shared, not fought over. The problem basically is a real estate dispute.

Is the Mainstream Press biased?

Many conservatives bemoan the biases of the mainstream press, especially The New York Times and the network news departments. I find the charges ridiculous. There are mainstream newspapers, for example, The Wall Street Journal, that have a strong pro-business slant. Fox News cable and CNN are not liberal. Has anyone listened to the commentators on CNN? Does USA Today, which is called Mac News, have any agenda? It appears to be more concerned with entertainment and lifestyle issues. If anyone should be complaining it is the liberals. Few media outlets report on union or labor issues. If a strike occurs, generally editorial boards take a pro-management slant. Many workplace issues are not even considered newsworthy! Anyone who wishes to be informed is required to read and listen to as many news sources as possible.

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