by: Rabbi Michael Lerner on January 28th, 2013 | 4 Comments »
In her interview in the Fall 2012 issue of Tikkun magazine, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein predicted Obama’s betrayal of the interests of poor and working people (the “middle class”) which she now documents in her analysis of “the compromise” between Obama and the Republicans which was worked out as the alternative to “the fiscal cliff” two weeks ago: “The Real Obama Emerges Again.”
“Obama better than Romney?” In regard to the economic interests of the poor and working class, almost certainly. But for those spiritual progressives who voted for Obama (and our information leads us to believe that most did) the ethical question that emerges is: “knowing who he was after close to four years in office, and choosing to vote for him rather than a protest candidate (even in states where the election wasn’t close), what level of responsibility do we have for the programs he is now enacting when they hurt the poor and the most vulnerable in our society, when he continues to support drone killings around the world, when he refuses to push for a carbon tax or other measures appropriate to saving the planet, when he continues to support the jailing of people who use marijuana, when he continues…. (well, you can add your own here)?”
If we voted for him, then isn’t there a very strong responsibility to confront him over policies that seem to favor America’s wealthy and their corporate empires? And if we accept this, and we still don’t find time to create a local chapter of the Network of Spiritual Progressives or some other mechanism of sensible non-violent action, what is our level of collaboration with evil policies if only by having empowered them by reelecting him? Can we separate our responsibility to defend him, when he draws irrational (and probably racist-motivated) attacks from the Right, from our responsibility to confront him and the Democrats who support his approach when they confirm policies that seem tone-deaf to the suffering of so many Americans who have been deeply hurt by the workings of the global and local capitalist economy over the course of the past few years?”
We are not answering the question — only posing it. As always, the articles we publish and post do not necessarily reflect the position of Tikkun or the Network of Spiritual Progressives — but they do represent a position with which spiritual progressives should engage, if only to challenge them!