Progressive Democrat Newsletter Issue 170

The primary is over and our nominee is Barack Obama.

This was going to be a historic moment no matter what. Once the field narrowed to Obama and Clinton, we KNEW we would make history. We would have either the first black or first woman nominated for President by one of the two major parties. Well, THIS, folks, is history. Real and amazing history. We have now done what our parents couldn't do.

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The President, the Senator, and the Candidate

Today, as the severity of Senator Kennedy's condition became more apparent, I found myself, once again, back in seventh grade. I am in a large hall, waiting in line. I am not sure what the line is for, and for some reason the line can't seem to form properly. We seem to be waiting to go into an auditorium. Words are migrating from student to student. It is November 22nd, 1963. The President has been shot. Next to me stands a sweet looking young girl. Shoulder length dirty blond hair. Delicate features. And she says, "I hope that he dies." This was the President who had taken us through the Cuban Missile Crisis, who spoke of civil rights, and who had two young children. And she wanted him dead. Her hatred was palpable and irrational. In retrospect, given the times, I have always wondered whether her enmity was due to the fact that he was a Catholic, and one who supported civil rights.

At 12 years old, I couldn't fathom what I was hearing. I was struck dumb. I simply couldn't respond. I just stared at her and turned away. Now, of course, I know that it was not her wish, but her parents' or some relative's wish. But over the years this fact has only intensified the shock. Everyone says that they remember where they were when they heard that Kennedy was shot. I remember. But I also recall a young girl who believed that she wanted to see him dead.

Before I became fully aware of the deep divisions in the country over civil rights, Vietnam, or "values," I knew that if this young president could create such hostility, something was terribly wrong. And so it was. I suppose that this was my introduction to the 1960's. Every now and again this scene reappears. Sometimes it arises for no apparent reason. Sometimes it arises at appropriate moments, like today, when we have learned that Senator Kennedy is gravely ill.

I have not always agreed with the Kennedys. But I remember supporting Bobby. And of course I remember him being shot. I also remember Teddy trying so very hard, over four long decades, to do the right thing for the underprivileged and marginalized. I recently cheered as The Lion of the Senate passed the torch to Obama. He was aging. Now that he had found someone he trusted to carry on the Kennedy legacy, there was an arc from 1963 to 2008, an arc that the last eight years of Bush, Rove, Cheney, et al, seemed to have made impossible. But as I have watched the returns from certain states, such as Kentucky this evening, I return to that space in 1963, and I am afraid. I fear that as a nation we will fail to do the right thing because we are still too afraid of those who are "not like us."

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McCain, Hagee, `The Great Whore', the Israel Lobby

The Huffington Post this morning published a story (John Hagee's McCain Endorsement Sparks Uproar) about McCain's endorsement by James Hagee, the founder of Christians United for Israel (CUI) and leader of the Christian Zionists, relating more fully the extent of Hagee's bigotry. Not only are Muslims in the sights of CUI's guns, but Catholics (The Great Whore), Blacks, gays, women, and others have also been targeted.

Hagee is the purveyor of a Christian eschatology in which end days are coming when Jews will be subjected to conversion, but his antiMuslim rhetoric, especially his support for attacking Iran, has attracted extreme right wing Israeli supporters like Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the extremist Likud party in Israel, and Joe Lieberman to his fold. Both Netanyahu and Lieberman have spoken at CUI conventions, and Hagee in turn has spoken before AIPAC, the face of the Israel Lobby in the US, which is also an advocate of Likud (no Palestinian state) politics.

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The Pope and ecumenicism

In Salon, there is a reprint of an Associated Press piece about a recent re-affirmation of a document by Pope Benedict XVI about the relations between the Catholic Church and other religious institutions.  

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antiwar votes in congress this week Get ready with UNPJ NOW !!

UNITED FOR PEACE + JUSTICE = UFPJ Legislative Update friday july 6th 2007 = CONGRESS WORKS ON IRAQ WAR MONDAY--please call your senators + house members MONDAY at 202-224-3121 = END THE WAR = 160 BILLION REQUEST THIS WEEK??

UFPJ Legislative Update
Friday, July 6, 2007

1. Sample Alert for Monday - Congress back in town to vote, vote, vote on Iraq2. National Legislative Conference Call - July 10

  1. Iraq Cabinet approves hydro-carbon law
  2. More voices Against the War

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