Obama's Middle East Voicelessness

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[Op-Ed: Senatorial Politics]

President elect Barack Obama, the 44th elected president will be sworn in January 20, in a defining moment in America’s history; he has more on his plate than any other president ever.

America is looking for a savior; someone who is above reproach, but one thing is certain - Obama is no Martin Luther King Jr.

Not since the late great Franklin Delano Roosevelt who took over the reign with a purpose to stimulate a depressed economy by creating the New Deal Society--by skimming off the top of the financial cream and letting the foam slowly trickle to the bottom to equalize the distance between the haves and the have-nots-- has their been a need for a seismic change.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others who wrestled with the conscience of America by putting themselves in harms way to change the hideous American policies that subjugated African-Americans as second class citizens changed the country significantly.

That was then and this is now.

America has been caught in a web of deception and back-slapping patriotism that leaves the spirit numb. Obama’s eloquent speeches have been soul-stirring even downright transcending. A good example was when he gave a speech about the comments of his ex-pastor Jeremiah Wright, now widely referred to as “The Philadelphia Speech.”

His reflection upon race couldn’t be disregarded. He spoke from experience. He spoke from his heart. He spoke what many wanted to hear but was too afraid to say.
He spoke to cab drivers. He spoke to janitors. He gave the voiceless a voice. He spoke to those in power. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about Vietnam. He had the moral authority to do so.

However, Obama’s voicelessness about what’s happening between Israel and the Palestinians is a concern. Strategically, it might make sense for Obama not to speak out. One can say it’s reminiscence of the much-maligned Bush Administration foreign policy but then again, he did speak out when the U.S. economy was flushed down the toilet by the rich elite.

First of all, the terror against the Jews in Israel is real. Suicide bombers are a fact. The blood spilled throughout the years is not an Aesop fable. It’s not a twisted Shakespearian’s play with different actors playing a role and the theme is always the same – someone’s dies and someone lives.

The problem in the Middle East is a problem for us all; terrorism has grown and it seems that it will continue to grow.

Some of us believe in the state of Israel and the decency of the Palestinian people who are being used as political fodder among Arab nations. Nonetheless, when will a sense of justice and compassion strike the hearts of those living within that hostile region?

It’s obvious that four Israeli deaths compared to 400 Palestinians is a bit disproportionate. However, the Judaic prophetic commitment to compassion and justice has been a staple within the Jewish community, from the scriptural teaching of Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Jeremiah, and Habakkuk who all put forth compassion to human suffering. What will these prophets say today?

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God,” Micah 6:8.

Obama is the Commander and Chief of the most powerful army in history. If only he replace hardened hearts of leaders with compassion and justice for its people and others and transcend past the crude messages from pundits within the media and the bias that follow such trampling  thoughts that distorts reality.

And elevating the sense of compassion and justice, in which Muhammad, Moses, Jesus and other prophets embodied. Still, he will not be Martin Luther King Jr. but he will be his own man. Yet, his voicelessness about the recent conflict between Israel and the Palestinian is concerning; but if he can get these men of war to the table and remind them each of a tradition that God enacted for the cause of justice and compassion then maybe a true form of democracy can reign supreme in a chaotic region filled with animosity.

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