We're not much better.

I heard a horrible story when I was in Yemen last week. A couple visited a typical Yemeni hospital, filled with bacteria cultures and lack of basic hygiene. They told how, if you have an emergency and need surgery immediately, such as an artery spilling blood out, the hospital won't even treat you, until your family pays up, in cash, ahead of time. Then, as they're doing the surgery, the family waits next to the table, for very time you need something, like anesthesia, the family must run off to the hospital pharmacy to purchase it.

The callousness towards the human condition turns my stomach. How can people be treated that way? How can we see a fellow human suffering, and not respond? How can we not heal, especially if we are doctors, regardless of the cost to ourselves or the hospital?

And yet, I can see what they might argue. There are limited resources, in this, the poorest of the Arab countries. If they were to treat everyone without demanding payment first, they would quickly run out of the resources. And if they did not demand the payment up front, in this culture, most families would never pay, for things can be put off, and most families are frankly far too poor to pay.

No, I find none of these arguments convincing either. But I was then struck, as I listened to the story from this couple, how similar our situation in America is, and how similar my own situation is.

No, we wouldn't allow someone to bleed to death on the operating table for non-payment- not here in America. But we would allow, and do allow, someone to go without if they refuse to sign a statement to pay. If it is not immediately life-threatening, and the person is in great pain, we require them to sign a statement saying they will pay before we treat them. I experienced this myself when I had kidney stones, and I lay writhing on the floor in pain while they insisted I sign a document. Trust me, to get rid of that pain, you'll sign anything.

And if the emergency is immediate, we will work to heal the person- and then bill them for tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars (depending on how severe the treatment and how long the hospital stay). Many like myself know this, so we don't go into the doctor, for we don't want to go deeper into debt. We can't afford insurance, and we can't afford costly hospital bills, so we weigh out how much pain we can tolerate before absolutely going in.

And this is where it gets worse. Because we wait, it does get worse. And our country is like the Yemen in this respect too: we refuse to treat the uninsured for preventive care, unless they pay up in full. Yet I am not insured, and I can not pay up, and so I do not go in for treatment. And when you don't work on preventive care, not only does the cost for the nation increase, but the danger increases that one's illness will be irreversible.

And so these were my thoughts when I listened to the couple describe their horrible experience in the Yemeni hospital. I've been to the doctor a couple times, and gotten tests, in the last six months. This resulted in bills of about $900. Thankfully the hospital reduced it out of compassion to half, and my church assisted in covering a quarter, the last doctor's visit. But unfortunately, my pains still continue, and the doctor didn't discover how to fix them, or what completely is wrong. I suspect things might be very wrong, but can't afford to go to the doctor yet again. I can't afford more tests. I can't afford surgery to alleviate the pain. And things might get worse, or already be too far gone to fix.

Are we all that different from Yemen? We allow the poor to suffer and die because they can't afford preventive care, insurance, or costly hospitalizations and surgery. While I was in Yemen, evidently a huge national argument, more a riot, blew up in the States over universal health care. And I am convinced, from what I read in various comments online, that I have a number of conservative friends who would rather that I die, then for them to give up their resistance to universal health care, or give an inch to what they perceive as creeping socialism. Oh, I'm sure that each of them would be happy to pay my medical bills, could they afford them. But that's not possible for any one individual, unless they were fabulously wealthy. It's only something an insurance company or a central government could afford.

It's time to look at ourselves honestly, and to no longer perceive ourselves in some colonialist way as better than the teeming masses. Yemen and 2/3rds World countries like it is just more honest in their rejection of care for the ill. We can either decide that we are better than this, and change our ways radically, and begin caring for all of our ill, no matter their poverty and ability to pay and the cost it might have in higher taxes; or we can forgo for all time the claim that we are somehow better than other countries in our righteousness and compassion and care for the least of these. We can not have it both ways.


Why we need a wise Latina.

The most the Republicans have been able to say against Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is a phrase she used in a few speeches over a decade ago, in which she stated that a wise Latina woman might have more to offer in terms of justice that a white man. As a white man, I think she's got it just about right.

The Republicans have responded that she is using "reverse racism", and this indicates she can't be fair and impartial on the bench. Let us move beyond the part that, while anyone can have prejudice, racism can only be expressed by the group in power. I'm interested in looking at what the Gospel says.

Jesus' mission statement was that he had come to bring good news to the poor and freedom for the oppressed. Some of why he was killed was certainly because of this mission. Everywhere he went, he looked for those who were outcast from society, as Luke especially convincingly shows us. He was there for the blind, the lepers, the women, the tax-collectors, and the Samaritans. His Gospel is decidedly not good news for those in power. It was good news for those who were not in power, who were being held down by the Man, whoever that might be. At that time and place, it was the ruling Jewish authorities and the Romans. Jesus didn't look for men and women of power in his society, but consistently searched for those without, so that their power would so obviously come from God. He came for the sick, not the healthy; for the blind, not the sighted. And by this he was clear- we are all in need of the Doctor, but only if we recognize where and how we are sick, blind, and oppressed; only if we give up our power. The Gospel was never for those in power, and can never be. Jesus came to bring Jubilee, an Upside-down Kingdom, a complete change to the way life is done, where those who were oppressed don't become the oppressor, but rather grab hold of justice and teach the oppressor how to love.

Now we return to Justice Sotomayor's comment on the wise Latina. It goes without saying that we need diversity in all aspects of life, and certainly a few more people of colour in the highest court in the land. But multiculturalism and affirmative action were always of value not simply because of this. They were and are of value because of the unique contribution that other cultures can bring. And as a Christian I am mandated to go further. Those who come from groups who have not been in power, who have historically experienced the brunt of racism and oppression, are precisely those we can learn the most from. They are those that Christ came for. They are the foundations of leadership in the coming Kingdom.

We need those dispensing justice to be intimately familiar with the miscarriage of justice. We need them to be acting in the person of Christ, to be his ambassadors, looking out for those who are oppressed and bringing in justice. And so, yes, a Latina justice- a woman of colour- can offer something unique, and is better in this position that a white man. She is better able, on average, to represent who Christ is.

But only on average. There are plenty of Latinas who would make poorer justices than plenty of white men. And that's why we need a wise Latina- someone who knows how to dispense justice with that gentle rain from Heaven, the quality of mercy not strained.


On Nudity and Culture

There has been a big brouhaha of late over Obama's course decision about no releasing hundreds of new photographs of the atrocities committed by the US military at Abu Ghraib. During the campaign, Obama stated unequivocally that they should be released. Now he's not releasing them because he doesn't want US servicemen to be attacked because of what's on the photos. Many are suggesting that the photos aren't being released because they would show the extent of the atrocities- that it wasn't just a few bad apples, but in fact a covert policy of the US military to demean and torture. And if that's true, higher heads would roll. But there's a completely different reason why these photos shouldn't be released.

They shouldn't be released because of the reason that the original photos should never have been released. Yes, the photos should be investigated, and every individual who was responsible for these actions should be fully prosecuted. But the photos should be viewed only by those who need to seem them directly- defense and prosecuting attorneys, and judges and juries.

It was quite clear that the perpetrators of Abu Ghraib knew what they were doing. They were making use of Arab cultural norms and fears to intimidate and demean their prisoners. They used Arab dislike of homosexuality to put Arab men in compromising positions. But more to the point, they used the Arab conventions against nudity to attack their prisoners.

This isn't only true in Arab culture. It's a widely held Middle Eastern belief, found even with Noah at the time that the Genesis stories were being told and written. Nudity is inappropriate- to a far greater degree than we find in Western culture. In early hadith in Islam, one is told that even a husband and wife should never be completely naked in front of each other. (It is unknown, naturally, how much these particularly hadith are followed. But even today, there are imams calling for this to be followed.) In the wider Arab and Middle Eastern culture, the shame of nudity never transfers to the person viewing, but rather to the person viewed; to the one who is naked. That person is exposed in front of others, in a culture where what others view is paramount above all else. These are shame cultures, not guilt cultures.

Thus, when the perpetrators of Abu Ghraib took pictures of nude Arab men, they were knowingly attempting to shame them. When we allowed those pictures to be reproduced in newspapers and the American nightly news, ostensibly in order to reveal America's crimes to the world, we were unknowingly assisting the perpetrators of Abu Ghraib in their crimes. We were increasing the shame of the Arab victims a thousand fold, beyond the wildest dreams of the evildoers of Abu Ghraib.

Now we hear that there are more pictures, hundreds more. This can only mean more shame, for more people. Haven't they suffered enough at our hands? Is there any reason to assist the perpetrators of Abu Ghraib? Prosecute them, certainly. But let us end the suffering of our victims. Don't publish these photos.


Arlen Specter's Secret Plan

I've finally realized how very devious Arlen Specter is.

He has always been a moderate maverick Republican- well, since he switched from being a Democrat 30 years ago. Recently, as we all know, he switched parties, back to the Democrats. He did this very honestly and openly- he couldn't win the election as a Republican. His party has gone so very right-wing, that Pennsylvanians won't vote for a moderate in the primary. That, and 200,000 Pennsylvanians have switched to Democrat, following the general trend of the country, which now has only some 20% willing to admit to being a Republican. (There may, of course, be more Republicans than this- again, it's the number willing to admit to it.) Considering that there are few moderates in the party left, and those remaining are ultra-right-wing, that 20% is actually rather scary, but I'll save that topic for another post...

In the process of switching parties, Arlen managed to tick off nearly every Democrat. That's not easy to do. He already had his erstwhile party angry with him for leaving and getting the Democrats closer to Magic 60. But he publicly stated that he would maintain his seniority, pushing some Democrats off their position in committees. He stated he wouldn't be a "loyal Democrat", and immediately proved it by voting against a couple Obama proposals that the rest of the Democrats voted for. And then he came out and said that he hoped the Republican Coleman would defeat the Democrat Franken in the Minnesota Senate Race, even calling, oddly, for Franken to "do the right thing". (He corrected this later by saying he briefly forgot which team he was on. I really hate it when an NBA player is traded and on the court does the same thing.)

Now, no one likes Specter. The Democratic caucus in the Senate stripped him of all his committee positions (though later they returned a subcommittee position to him), stripping him also of a strong electoral argument he was hoping to make in 2010- "I can bring home the bacon." The idea of him not being a loyal Democrat is sure to get a lot of press in his now Democratic primary. A few Democrats are considering running against him.

And I suddenly realized...what if this was all part of his plan? He couldn't win as a Republican, because he is too moderate. He could probably win the general if he made it that far, but another Republican in Pennsylvania would not. There was only one way out.

Specter would switch parties and run as a Democrat, but then do everything possible to turn off Democratic voters. Specter would still win the primary on name recognition, as he's represented Pennsylvania for 30+ years, and he has Obama's commitment of support. The Republicans would elect a conservative Republican in the primary, who would then run against Specter in the general. Now we come to the general election, where more of the electorate might be on the side of a moderate Democrat/Republican than a conservative Republican, but since Specter has proved to be such a wishy-washy Democrat, the population isn't just that interested in him. Lacking a Presidential race, they have less incentive to be excited about a guy who they aren't sure is really on board with the Democrat thing. The Democrat voters stay home in droves, and, by the skin of his teeth, the conservative Republican wins the Pennsylvania Senate seat.

Arlen Specter- loyal Republican to the end?


Is it time for the Year of Jubilee?

I don't pretend to understand the economy. But about a month ago, John Stewart of The Daily Show had what I believe is a rather brilliant idea- a Trickle Up Theory. Rather than giving all this money to the banks, why not give it to those who owe money? The money could only be used to pay off their debts to the credit card companies and banks. The banks are happy because they have the money. The people are happy because they have less debt, or no debt.

Strangely, there's been very little discussion of this proposal- even to refute it as outlandish and stupid. Gwen didn't really respond. A segment on Gwen Ifill's show, Washington Week, repeated Stewart's suggestion, but without comment. A search of the web for "John Stewart" and "Trickle Up Theory" provides only 31 hits, and most of those are simply blogs like this one. For some reason the talking heads aren't discussing this. If it was a bad idea, you'd think they'd at least point out why it's a bad idea. Of course, if it's a bad idea for those in power, they wouldn't be talking about it.

We have here a unique opportunity. We have a president currently who is one of the most devout Presidents in recent memory, squarely grounding his beliefs and policies in the politics of Jesus, namely social justice. He is perhaps the first President to not be raised in a Christian home, but to have had a conversion experience as an adult, and he came to that place through his commitment to social justice while a community organizer. So this proposal is right up his alley.

There was this idea among the ancient Hebrews. It was installed to keep those in power from taking too much power, to stop the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the few, to give rest for the people, to give them hope that they would not all their lives be in slavery or debt. It was a recognition that economics and justice are intimately connected, and was to take place every 49 or 50 years, depending on how you read the instructions. It was called the Year of Jubilee. And from the best of our records, it was never actually put into practice, save perhaps once, under King Josiah.

There were a number of aspects to this year. For our interest, you were not to permanently sell the land, for it belonged to the Lord. Every 50 years, if land had been sold since the last Jubilee, it reverted to the previous owner, if he'd been unable to buy it in the interim. On the Year of Jubilee, all slaves were to be released, for slavery at the time often occurred because a man had lost all his money, and had no other way to sustain himself. It is in this context that the Hebrews were counseled not to take advantage of their countrymen by charging interest on loans. Later, Deuteronomy expands on the Jubilee notion, suggesting that every seven years, all debts are to be released and forgiven! Most scholars believe this was what was referenced in the central notion of Jesus' ministry here on Earth, when he gave out his great mission statement, that he had come to bring release to the captives, good news to the poor, and, using the code words, "the acceptable year of the Lord's favor".

Now, obviously, our culture is significantly different from that of the ancient Hebrews. But is it truly too much of a stretch to suggest a resetting of the clock? In a land where we have never had a Year of Jubilee, is it too much to suggest that we now have a modified form of this, but in a capitalist manner in which everyone gains? The banks want their money, and they need it to remain viable, that we can continue to have any economy at all. We get that. But the people need not only money, but spending money, that they can continue to put that money into the economy and invest it. Without the people, the economy collapses as well. Let us then apply this rather central Biblical concept, and give the money to the banks, by eliminating the people's debt. Let us truly now do something new. Let us be the change we have been looking for.

Yes, we can.


Racism in the US Senate

We all know of Blogojevich, and how he appointed Burris to Senator Obama's former seat. The Senate swore up and down that they would not accept him, but just as with Senator Lieberman, Reid caved and showed he had no backbone, accepting Burris as a Senator. They had only one condition- be open in testifying to your relationship with Blogojevich when testifying before the Illinois Senate. They caved in large part because Burris was a black man, and when Blogojevich announced his appointment, they had another black congressional leader from Illinois, standing there saying anyone who resisted Burris' appointment was a lynching racist.

Now we know that, unlike his testimony, Burris actually did have conversations with Governor Blogojevich, with his brother in particular, but there was no conversation about fund raising or the senate seat. I mean, he did express that he wanted to be senator, but only in mentioning it, and no one talked about fundraising. I mean, they did ask him to do so, but he refused. I mean, at the same time he mentioned he wanted to be senator, he tried to raise funds, but found out nobody would support Blogojevich. It wasn't that Burris was against quid pro quo- it was that he was really bad at it.

And now there are calls by many for Burris to resign, and indications that the Senate will not expel him if he does not resign. Why? Because he's black, and the only black member of the Senate.

The Senate allowed him in because they were worried about the appearance of racism, not to avoid racism. They have cared more about how things look politically than about actively fighting the pernicious evil of racism. They are likely to continue to allow him to be a senator for the same reasons.

This is the worst kind of affirmative action. Affirmative action is a good and laudable policy, but not when it keeps people in place regardless of their actions, because of their race. The message we are receiving is that African-Americans are to be held to a lower standard simply because of the colour of their skin. It has now become quite clear that Senator Burris lied under oath- what is called perjury. I recall recently a President was impeached over this issue. But Burris is likely to receive no justice, because the US Senate, run by Democrats who can't afford to lose the black vote, are not wanting to expel a black member. (On a side note, speaking purely politically, do we really think this is possible, with a black President?)

There are many, many black politicians in Illinois who would make great US Senators and who are ethically and legally clean. Jesse Jackson, Jr., a name initially considered inappropriate because he had been discussed on the Blogojevich tapes but who was never asked for money, comes to mind. But what our elected representatives, and therefore we as a nation, are now doing is saying that an African-American man can do whatever he wants, regardless of the law, because of his skin colour, or more to the point, because we want the votes for our party. This also is racism. This is saying that African-Americans don't have to follow morality or ethics. It is implying that there aren't enough African-Americans out there who do follow morality and ethics. And by extension, it is saying that in someway African-Americans are morally inferior to the rest of society.

Senator Reid, it is time to step up. It is time to say, forgetting all the possible political consequences, you will not tolerate racism, even in the chambers of the senate. Expel this man who has no tolerance for truth and law, and show your tolerance and equality for people of all races.


King George II

When I lived in Morocco, I used to joke that I preferred my current king (Mohammed VI) to my former one in the US. As with all humor, it has the grain of truth- in this case a healthy boulder of it. George Bush repeatedly asserted his authority under the Unitary Presidential Theory that Cheney invented, which stated basically that a President can do whatever he wants, because his oath of office to defend the country outweighs the constitution. (If you recognize this idea from the Frost/Nixon movie, congratulate yourself on pulling together current affairs and film. Cheney came up with this idea back when he was working for Nixon.) After the 2000 elections, and everything George II did after that, many of us were unsure if he would go quietly into that good night; if he wouldn't find some sneaky way of claiming he had a right to stay in office. We were overjoyed when it actually worked, and he stepped down from power.

Overjoyed too soon, it would seem.

For it now turns out that Bush had another card up his sleeve. Although he asserted signing statements to reinterpret congressional laws (and incidentally the meaning of "executive" and "legislative") and executive privilege to a ridiculous degree, a hundred-fold any previous President, no one expected him to continue to do so after he stepped down. But indeed, he now has. For before he was ousted, he told Karl Rove to ignore any subpoenas from Congress. This is unheard of. Evidently, Bush feels he is still royalty, and can continue to issue decrees for anything that might happen in the future!

Keep in mind, asserting executive privilege does not have the force of law. It isn't as if Bush created a law that must be followed or overturned by congress. Nor is his assertion of privilege without controversy. Indeed, the vast majority of constitutional lawyers (with the significant exception of those who worked for Bush) think he overasserted himself in his continual decree that his supporters did not have to be interviewed by congress.

How we would love to move on. How we would love to stop pointing out the acts of injustice by the Bush administration, and focus on changing this country and the world under Obama. But Bush refuses to allow us to do so. One wonders what would happen if Obama directs Rove to honor the subpoena. Would Rove argue that his commitment was to the former President, regardless, and he must obey him? Or would Rove actually give the sitting President Presidential authority? After all, that was what Bush/Cheney argued for continuously- the President has absolute authority. Or when they said that, did they just mean Bush/Cheney?


CNN, Get Over It!!!

If you haven't heard, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (yes, the one put in place by Bush II though he really didn't have the pedigree of the other justices) flubbed the Oath of Office on Inauguration Day. Not seriously- he basically misplaced the word "faithfully", and said "you" when he should have said "I". But the Obama administration was well aware of the tendency of the conservative blogosphere to come up with outrageous conspiracies- like, "He's not really President because the adjective by the conservative justice was in the wrong place." So, just to be safe and preclude that kind of thing, they had a second swearing in today.

But no, the press, and principally CNN, wouldn't let it lie. They stated that the President has done a second swearing in three times in the past. Actually, according to CNN itself, those previous two cases were something different. Upon the death of the President, his replacement was sworn in by someone who wasn't the Supreme Court Justice, so the swearing in was redone- though it wasn't deemed to be legally necessary. At no time in the past has swearing in been redone because of a mistake in the oath- even when Chief Justice Taft messed up Hoover's swearing in. But Obama, knowing how wacko many of the extreme right can get, figured better to be safe than sorry. He wasn't counting on CNN to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

CNN is now loudly stating, ad nausea, that it was wrong for the press not to be invited to the second meaningless swearing in, as this was a moment in history that the public had a right to observe (according to Wolf Blitzer). But there was press there- it's just they were the lowly print press, and there was only a photo taken, supplied by the white house. Evidently, CNN wanted video there.

However, this was not a meaningful event, and much of the public really doesn't give a rip about it, unlike CNN. One has to wonder if CNN would only be happy if they had 24/7 security video cams in the Oval Office, to catch every irrelevant moment of the Presidency? But someone should remind Blitzer that the Presidency is not The Truman Show.

How do I know that this second swearing in was meaningless? As stated above, history clearly indicates that a misplaced word (or even, in the case of Hoover, an added word) does not require a redo. CNN seems to be caught up in extreme conservative legalism, thinking that every word matters in this video age. They need to go back and consider that, in the last 200+ years, most of the time that swearing in hasn't been recorded. What are the odds that there were other small mistakes from time to time, that people didn't care about because there was no video camera? But the primary reason why I know the second swearing in was meaningless- the President becomes President at 12:00 on the 20th. He is required constitutionally to be sworn in, but the 20th Ammendment superscedes that and makes him President at the stroke of noon. How do I know this? Because I was told this on Inauguration Day- by CNN.

Obama's Speech

As I predicted, a great speech, and imo, one of the best inauguration speeches ever. Not quite as good as Lincoln II, but better by a long shot than Lincoln I (where he came out in favor of continuing slavery).

But as I reflect on it, all of the focus, before and after, was on if it would be a great speech, or only a mediocre speech. Would it be as good as Lincoln's Second Inaugural, or only as good as his First?

Where was the discussion of the speech itself- of how it impacted us individually, and how it changed us? After all, that is the point of a speech. Not to get up there and win an award, but to persuade and change people. Was his only goal to get up there and live up to expectations? Or was it to lay out something new, and begin to move the ball forward? That was his goal, but I think so many pundits were focused on the pure rhetoric, that they missed the purity.

I challenge you now, if you haven't done so before, to go back and listen to the short 18 minute speech, and truly listen to it, and allow yourself to be impacted.

This was what I was most moved by, and most impressed by:

"We reject as false, the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to ensure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedient's sake. And so, to all the other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village in which my father was born, know that America is a friend of each nation, and every man, woman, & child who seeks a future of peace & dignity, and we are ready to lead once more."


Say it with me. President Obama.

This article posted on election day, but few read it, and it seems appropriate to repost now.

George Washington
John Adams
Thomas Jefferson
James Madison
James Monroe
John Quincy Adams
Andrew Jackson
Martin Van Buren
William Harrison
James Polk
Zachary Taylor
Millard Fillmore
Franklin Pierce
James Buchanan
Abraham Lincoln
Andrew Johnson
Ulysses Grant
Rutherford Hayes
James Garfield
Chester Arthur
Grover Cleveland
Benjamin Harrison
Grover Cleveland
William McKinley
Theodore Roosevelt
William Taft
Woodrow Wilson
Warren Harding
Calvin Coolidge
Herbert Hoover
Franklin Roosevelt
Harry Truman
Dwight Eisenhower
John Kennedy
Lyndon Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan
George Herbert Bush
Bill Clinton
George Walker Bush
Barack Obama

Praise God, that I now live in a country with a black man as President. Who would have thought it possible, 100 years ago, 50 years ago, or even 5 years ago? I had thought I'd be old and gray before I'd live to see this day. I'd have thought we'd have to wait till we are a minority-white nation in 2055. Instead, we may be the first majority-white nation in modern history to elect a person of colour.

Truly now, all things are made new. We will now speak of President Obama, a President with an African and Arab name. We will now look to our leader as a person of colour, one with connections for the first time with the 2/3rds World. Children of colour across this country will now look up and see that they can do anything. Other nations will look on us and realize this is a nation they can relate to. They will realize that, now, we truly are the land of the free, the home of the brave.

Oh brave new world, that has such people in it.


Obama, I'm disappointed in you.

I've been waiting. I've been thinking, "There's still some time for him to say something. He's biding his time." I've been believing him when he says there can only be one President at a time. Then he spoke out on the economy during the transition, and I believed him when he said, "Especially on foreign affairs, there can only be one President at a time." That makes sense. Sure, he spoke out against the terrorists in Mumbai, but that was more of an expression of sadness for those who lost their lives, as the terrorist action was relatively short. I could justify that. And there were so many others who were already speaking out against the atrocity better than I could.

Then Obama, while still President Elect, began speaking on foreign policy, letting it be known he'd negotiate with Hamas, and would be closing the Guantanamo Prison. Yet, still, nothing. Nothing from the man who ran on the principle that he's for justice, because his Lord is for justice. Nothing on the man who spoke of equality, and bringing righteousness back to American foreign policy.

So President Obama, I ask you, if you do not speak out when 1,000 people are murdered by a foreign power in only three weeks, when at least 50% and probably 70% of them are civilians, when the population of the area is 50% below the age of 15 and 75% of the population is below the age of 25, leading to a high percentage of those killed being children, when that population is refused the right to leave the small, concentrated area that's being bombed, so that we can not refer to this in any other way than to say it is localized ethnic cleansing- if you do not speak out now, Obama, then when? We now know you actually do speak out on foreign policy issues, even when you are still only the President-Designate. Where is your voice? What are you waiting for?

For if you wait too long you face the same situation that Martin Neimoller experienced:
In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me -
and by that time no one was left to speak up.
How long will you wait, President Obama? For we are starting to get the sinking impression, that you are not actually waiting, but instead, will not bring the change we hope for- you will do the same as nearly every President before you, and support the actions of Israel, no matter what they do.

Or is there actually something Israel could do that you would disapprove of? Or will you surprise us all in your inauguration speech, and finally speak out against the apartheid and ethnic cleansing of Ghaza? Give me hope again, Obama.