Tikkun Winter 2019 (34.1) - Page 8

EDI TORIAL living in societies governed by the distorted policies these ideas yield. There is some hopefulness generated by the 2018 election which produced a Democratic Party majority in the House of Representatives. Many have pointed to the increased number of women and people of color in the new Con- gress. Yet there is a delusionary quality to that optimism as long as the Democratic Party in Congress and nationally remain dominated by elected officials who believe their task is to show themselves as pragmatic and realistic by pursuing only the most moderate challenges to the super-wealthy, the corporate elites, and the competitive marketplace that is central to all the existing distortions. For example, while the Democratic Party lead- ership opposed the building of a wall on the southern border, they instead proposed spend- ing the billions of dollars on other measures to tighten security and even fund a fence, and escalating the repressive policies of our gov- ernment (many of them originally instituted against undocumented immigrants during the Obama presidency). As a result, they failed to use the public outrage at the Trump Adminis- tration for shutting down the government to educate the public that in reality there is no national crisis caused by immigrants. They failed to put forth a positive vision of immigra- tion that includes welcoming immigrants and urging people to invite friends and neighbors together to share their own family histories as immigrants to this country as a way to help us all connect with our immigrant roots. Democrats might have also suggested imple- menting a Domestic and Global Marshall Plan that could ensure the well-being, stability, and security of people in the countries in which they grew up. And they could have used this moment to help Americans understand that many seeking asylum in the U.S. and other 8 W W W .T I K K U N . O R G Western countries are fleeing from violence and economic hopelessness that were gener- ated by U.S. interventions to weaken or over- throw governments that challenged U.S cor- porations seeking to take advantage of those countries natural resources or as a result of U.S. trade policies that disadvantaged the poor and working poor of many Central and South American countries. In addition, Democrats should be demanding that the U.S. stop funding ICE, stop deten- tions, incarcerations, and deportations and instead redirect that money to improve edu- cation and health care. At the very least, the Democrats should be proposing a bill to offer all immigrants who have been in this country at least two years a path to full legal citizenship (including, of course, all the children brought here when they were young—the ‘Dreamers’). These are the kinds of demands that should be the starting points, calling on Christians and others to act from the standpoint of the Bible with its insistence that we must “love the stranger/the Other”, and that that is the best basis for homeland security. Start from a vision of a caring society—and then let the Democrats negotiate from these starting points rather than already compromising by accepting that billions of more dollars need be spent on bor- der control. Despite the creativity of a minority of elected Democrats who seek a new and more spiritu- ally and ethically coherent direction on every issue, the majority of Democrats in Congress have no shared worldview, and hence no abil- ity to articulate ethically coherent positions. We are not saying “never make compromises” when working with legislators—that is an inevitable part of the process. What we are saying is that it is important to start with and articulate a worldview that sets forth the fun- damental principles for which you stand and how they apply to the particular issues at hand, WINTER 2019