A Caveat.

Jan. 20th, 2009 06:27 pm
richardf8: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] level_head has a post worth contemplating, regardless of its slant, called Unpatriotic.

It's noteworthy to my mind because it points to a way in which we, as Americans, have gotten sloppy in our thinking, especially over the past eight years, but going back farther than that even. We have become accustomed to an us and them style of thought. The right and the left alike have spent the Bush years assimilating the "if you're not with us, your against us" mentality. And here is my warning: any lefty who brings this framework to the Obama presidency is going to be disappointed.

What we have in Obama is someone who grasps realpolitik. And that tends to mean compromise. If the last 8 years have had any effect on our culture at all, it has been to make "compromise" on either side of the fence a dirty word. The partisanship that has been brewing since Nixon, that saw its full flowering in the "Republican Revolution" and the Bush administration have torn this nation limb from limb. Getting us to where we are now demanded that Franken take on Limbaugh, that Maddow deconstruct Coulter, but the battle is now lost and won, and its time for reconstruction.

I think that Obama's ability to blend that which I agree with along with that which I find distasteful speaks volumes about his ability to reintegrate a nation that has been separated as if by a centrifuge. To those who are seeking ideological purity, he will seem a sellout, but to those who want a nation at peace, he may just the ticket.

You can't always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need.

[Edit: [livejournal.com profile] bluerain notes: "I actually think it's grossly unfair to cast anyone who is angry at the selection of Warren as displaying an "if you're not with us, you're against us" mentality." This assessment is correct and just, and I have therefore removed the reference from the body of the post. Thanks to her and [livejournal.com profile] orv for helping refine my thoughts on that.]
richardf8: (Default)
On Friday, I wandered out to Temple Israel's website and noticed that there were donations of physical objects (food, supplies, etc.) being accepted for Nechama to deliver to the victims. I also learned that the donations would be getting sorted and packed at the JCC's on Sunday and volunteers would be needed.

My workplace is right next door to a Costco, which struck me as a good way to get some items for disaster relief. I tapped [livejournal.com profile] grassyneal for what sorts of things he regarded as comfort foods when he encountered them in MRE's in his marine days. He said that the Chef-Boy-Ardee spaghetti and meatballs were a comfort food. So I headed up to Costco, and got a flat of water, a flat of Chef BoyArDee Ravioli, and a 100-pack of feminine pads.

My arrival at temple coincided perfectly with [livejournal.com profile] morgan1's and I told her to unload. She preferred to take the 30 pound flat of water and the ravioli than to be seen publicly with the "things which must not be named." So we took the stuff to the bins. On Saturday, after Torah Study and Hebrew Study, and lunch with Bruce and Rita, Bruce headed home to study for the intermediate biblical hebrew class he's taking at the U, and Morgan, Rita, and I went to caribou to indulge in the air conditioning. While we were sitting there, it occurred to Rita that fuller sized women were probably getting short shrift in underwear donations, and that african american hair has special care requirements, so we headed over to K-Mart to get some stuff to meet those needs, and some canopeners. The can-opener choices were 4.00 swing-aways or a 2.00 Ecko with an old-style beer can piercer at one end. We went with the Swingaways because I could just see FEMA rejecting the ones with the pointy ends for their weapon-potential.

Then came Sunday. Morgan's account is here. I sopent most of the day packing Diapers into boxes. This was supremely satisfying work for me because unlike donating money, or even donating things, this was something concrete that I could do with my body to help with the effort. And unlike so many other volunteer opportunities I have available to me, this was back room work, and I was loving it. Feeding the homeless is very nice, and I'm glad we have people in our congregation who are up for that, but by the time my week is done, I am so burned out on the whole provider/client relationship that I just can't do it. So the sorting and packing of supplies was the perfect fit for what it is I have to give right now.

This whole thing, By the way, was organized by Nechama of Minnesota, a Jewish organization devoted to disater response. They offer Chainsaw training. Hmm. Might be worth doing more with.
richardf8: (Default)
Are being accepted by the Union for Reform Judaism at https://esite.uahc.org/edonations2/mainpage.aspx?

I gave $18.00 and my Wife, [livejournal.com profile] morgan1 gave $72.00 (Yes, the prefilled donation options are increments of חי ).

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism is accepting donations at http://www.uscj.org/Hurricane_ReliefYou_6553.html

and the Orthodox Union is accepting donations at https://www.ou.org/forms/5765/katrina65.asp

If you want to give a donation through a Jewish organization but don't want to associate with a movement, the United Jewish Communities is taking donations at https://secure.ujcfederations.org/ft2/form.html?__id=7500

I always like to give to Disaster Relief efforts through Jewish organizations when possible, because I think it is important for people to know the role we are playing in relief efforts.

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