Having lost control of the White House, Congress and probably the Supreme Court, the Democrats appear consigned to a defensive, resistance-based role in the coming years. But this is only true in the federal arena.
The idea that ISIS and other radical jihadis are simply “evil,” or that they “hate freedom” or are simply incomprehensible purveyors of a “hateful ideology” (to quote the repeated formulation of Barack Obama) just begs the question of why they are the way they are and why they believe what they believe. To actually understand Farook and Malik and those who engage in violent terrorism, and based on that understanding begin to do something to change the conditions that have produced and will likely continue to produce so much human suffering and loss, we have to attempt to grasp the terrorists’ experience of life from the inside, to see them as human just as we are, and to see what shaped them such that their thoughts and actions make sense to them.
Judging from the enthusiastic response on social media, Sony’s decision to release the movie “The Interview” on Christmas day seems to be a victory for the American way of life, but there is a tragic irony in the very truth of that view. For the “way of life” thus vindicated is addicted to a view of freedom as the right to say and do anything one wants, indifferent to the substance of what is actually being said in freedom’s name.
The U.S. response to the situation in Ukraine should have been to participate with Russia to reinstate Yanukovich and use the UN to oversee fair elections within the year, the agreed-upon time in the Feb 21 agreement. But the United States didn’t do this; Putin legitimately felt the flow-calibration norms were no longer in place and that this fact threatened his ethnic identification group on or near his border; and Putin moved to protect “his” group, or sub-group.
To put the Kennedy assassination in a historical perspective that is both spiritual and political, we here reprint Peter Gabel’s brilliant article on the subject, “The Spiritual Truth of JFK (As Movie and Reality),” originally published in Tikkun in March/April 1992 in response to the original release of Stone’s film.
Started some 15 years ago after the first conference on The Politics of Meaning in Washington DC, The Project for Integrating Spirituality, Law, and Politics (PISLAP) is a nationwide group of lawyers, law professors, and law students who seek to shift the focus of American law and legal institutions away from the individualism, self-interest, and materialism that undergirds all of American law and toward seeing law as a central cultural arena for fostering empathy, compassion, and mutual understanding. We have taken to heart Martin Luther King Jr.’s definition of Justice as “love correcting that which revolts against love” and are seeking to build a new movement in law that makes restoring community through understanding and social healing our highest value. Sometimes out-and-out adversarial battles are necessary, but the principal shift that needs to take place in legal culture is toward the new bottom line articulated by the Network of Spiritual Progressives (NSP) — that institutions be valued according to how much love and generosity they generate rather than only focusing on a material war of all against all in a socially separated, self-interested world. That’s why PISLAP is glad to be the “legal arm” of the NSP, serving as its task force in this important professional and cultural arena. Below is the welcoming letter and agenda for our upcoming gathering in New York, an agenda-building gathering for the coming year among the organization’s leadership group.
Please send this out widely to seek signatures. From the people at Free Speech For People:
To correct the damage the Supreme Court has done to the First Amendment, we need to pass a constitutional amendment of our own that puts people ahead of corporations. Below is our resolution in support of the Free Speech for People Amendment. ADD YOUR NAME IN SUPPORT OF THIS RESOLUTION»
WHEREAS the First Amendment to the United States Constitution was designed to protect the free speech rights of people, not corporations;
WHEREAS, for the past three decades, a divided United States Supreme Court has transformed the First Amendment into a powerful tool for corporations seeking to evade and invalidate democratically-enacted reforms;
WHEREAS, this corporate takeover of the First Amendment has reached its extreme conclusion in the United States Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Citizens United v. FEC;
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC overturned longstanding precedent prohibiting corporations from spending their general treasury funds in our elections;
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC will now unleash a torrent of corporate money in our political process unmatched by any campaign expenditure totals in United States history;
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC presents a serious and direct threat to our democracy;
WHEREAS, the people of the United States have previously used the constitutional amendment process to correct those egregiously wrong decisions of the United States Supreme Court that go to the heart of our democracy and self-government;
NOW HEREBY BE IT RESOLVED THAT WE THE UNDERSIGNED VOTERS OF THE UNITED STATES CALL UPON THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS TO PASS AND SEND TO THE STATES FOR RATIFICATION A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO RESTORE THE FIRST AMENDMENT AND FAIR ELECTIONS TO THE PEOPLE. Learn more about the “Free Speech for People Amendment”
Last week I introduced Tikkun Daily readers to the new blog at the Project for Integrating Law, Politics and Spirituality, with a post by Nanette Schorr about Sunny Schwartz’s restorative justice work in a San Francisco County jail. The third member of our team at that blog is Doug Ammar, and I love this first post by him. With this story he gives us an idea of what it means for him to practice law with a full intention of connecting at a human level with his clients, including those who spend many years in prison. Here it is in full:
By Doug Ammar
“How can you do that? How can you visit a guy serving a life sentence?”
I would like to introduce you to a new blog by a group of us who are partly associated with the Tikkun community: the Project for Integrating Law, Politics and Spirituality. Nanette Schorr, Doug Ammar and I will be sharing duties of blogging, and will be posting items by others. Nanette introduced the blog on August 24 with this post:
I’ve been asked to be the first writer to kick off the new spiritlawpolitics blog. I’m really happy to be contributing on a website dedicated to our new legal culture; a culture characterized by social justice, individual and social healing and community participation. The spiritlawpolitics initiative was founded back in 1996, as part of a larger “politics of meaning” movement whose aim was to create a “new bottom line” in American society which reflected these values.