Meaningful No More

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In one of his widely circulated emails, Tikkun editor and “spiritual progressive” Michael Lerner, who once sold Hillary Clinton on the Politics of Meaning, more or less endorses Obama. As in:

Obama is a spiritual progressive. He believes that human beings are equally valuable whether they are white or black, American or Asian or African or European. Apply that to the Middle East and you get policy inclinations very different from those which have been insisted upon by

the Israel Lobby, supported by most of the establishment Jewish institutions, and through the power of their organized pressure, have become the dominant policy supported by both parties in rare unanimity.

Obama’s problem is that his spiritual progressive worldview is in conflict with the demands of the older generation of Jews who control the Jewish institutions and define what it is to be pro-Jewish, while his base consists of many young Jews who support him precisely because he is willing to publicly stand for the values that they hold. We can expect that this tension will be central should Obama win the nomination. But once in office, whether Obama actually pursues policies that are in accord with his highest beliefs as a spiritual progressive, or whether he finds it “too unrealistic” to try to buck the spineless Democrats who will bow to the Israel Lobby automatically, depends on whether we can build a powerful enough movement of ordinary citizens to push for a peace that provides security for Israel and justice for the Palestinian people. Obama has made it clear he would want to do that.

As a non-profit, we at the Network of Spiritual Progressives cannot and do not endorse any political candidate or party. But we can certainly say this much: if a genuine spiritual progressive (from any party) is elected, there will still remain a huge problem: how to make it possible for such a president to remain faithful to his or her highest beliefs.

  • Asinus Gravis

    The Clintons quickly caved in on the Politics of Meaning, as Lerner explains in his “The Left Hand of God.”
    There is little surprising in the solid praise for Obama as a “spiritual progressive.”
    I’m not a member of Lerner’s organization.
    I am proud to say that I will be voting for Obama twice–once in my state next week, and again in November.