Lessons from Limbaugh

>     Turkey is mobilizing to invade northern Iraq to attack the Kurds. The United States House of Representatives, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is about to pass a formerly introduced resolution condemning the ethnic cleansing of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire (read as “former Turks”) that occurred hundreds of years ago. Several former U.S. Secretaries of State see the resolution’s passage as untimely, antagonistic to Turkey, the probable reason for the mobilization of Turkish troops on Iraq’s northern border, and an ill portent for the likelihood that the U.S. military will be able to continue to use Turkish air space and passageways to move troops into Iraq.
    On it’s face, and at first glance, I’d have to agree. But we live in challenging times that demand we think beyond the surface of things as well as for ourselves. So, upon further glance, I see a different reality.
    Ethnic cleansing is reprehensible whenever and wherever it occurs. As a Jew, I am gratified that the world, albeit late in coming, acknowledged Hitler’s and the German peoples’ efforts to exterminate certain ethnic and religious groups, mine included. To this day, Holocaust deniers and those who give them a platform, raise my ire. I can imagine that Armenians, who were the object of just such an effort by the ancestors of today’s Turks, have waited long and painfully for acknowledgment of the horror their ancestors experienced.
    I am proud to be part of the nation that is willing to step up and publicly make such an acknowledgment and condemnation. We must never be silent about an attempt to exterminate a people because they are different from us…primarily because they are us. We, the people of the world, are simply variations of a common theme called Humanity. To deny or injure one part of us is to inflict, inevitably, pain upon all parts of us.
    As for the fear-based propaganda being touted that such a resolution will “anger Turkey” and thereby cause it to retaliate against both us and the Kurds…a step they obviously took today by passage of a resolution to invade Northern Iraq…well, let me digress to something I heard today on the radio.  
    Rush Limbaugh was speaking about Hilary Clinton’s recent statement that she thinks a woman in politics needs to have “skin as tough as a rhinoceros” then likened herself to Eleanor Roosevelt in terms of criticism endured. Mr. Limbaugh, in an attempt to mock both Hilary Clinton and Eleanor Roosevelt by reference to the rhino comment, said that “there were likely no two First Ladies in history more frequently cheated on by their husbands” than the two of them. Somehow, Mr. Limbaugh blames the moral failures of Bill Clinton and Franklin Roosevelt on the women they were married to rather than on the egocentric, immature and misguided choices made by the men themselves.
    Which leads me to Turkey and it’s reaction to the pending U.S. resolution. If Turkey chooses to respond with military aggression against the Kurds and closure of it’s air and ground space to U.S. troops, that will be the responsibility of the Turkish government and it’s people, not the fault of the U.S. resolution.
    Remember the old saying, “It’s not what happens to you it’s how you handle it?” Well, that’s it. That’s how it works.
    I think the U.S. Resolution is a good thing but only halfway to being a great thing. It needs to condemn the action against the Armenians and it needs to also forgive the Ottomans for having behaved poorly at the time.
    Acknowledgment + forgiveness. It’s the motto of the State of Israel and the Jewish people towards the Holocaust. “Forgive but never forget.”
    There are a few lessons to be gleaned form this most current dilemma.

    1.  Harm done to one is harm done to all.
    2.  Behavior is personal and responsibility for choice remains with the one doing the choosing.
    3.  Official acknowledgment of reprehensible behavior by a government is a reasonable act.
    4.  Without forgiveness, pain and hatred fester.
    5.  With forgiveness, all parties are liberated to move past the moment.

     Infighting within the U.S. over the resolution, U.S. condemnation of Turkey absent forgiveness, a reactive, aggressive response by the Turks, a cycle of blame, anger and aggression…these are all part of an old paradigm that has repeatedly failed to create a better world, or a better way.
    Let us take this opportunity to take responsibility for how and why we act, and react, as we do and step into the light of a new paradigm where compassion for our diversity and forgiveness for our humanity are the principles that guides us and the foundation upon which we build a better future.
    Oh yes, and one further lesson, Mr. Limbaugh.
    Men who blame women for the poor choices they themselves make need to grow up.

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