Monday, August 29, 2005

Partisan Problems

I was published in the St Paul Pioneer Press on Tuesday August 23rd. This is what the article said:

"I recently returned from a study abroad college program in Rome. During the course of my time there I learned a lot about the election process in Italy and how the many different political parties there have to work together to get things done in their government. Then I returned to Minnesota in June to find a dysfunctional State government boggled down by gridlock and partisanship bickering. After the extended special session and government shutdown, I thought all politicians would have learned their lessons and understood the need to work with everyone, not just their own party. Apparently that has not happened with Chris Coleman. He is constantly taking Mayor Kelly to task simply for reaching out to people of other parties and elected officials from other states. By doing this Coleman seems to be advocating that the St. Paul government needs more partisanship and isolationism. I have a feeling the voters are not going to buy his prescription."

Monday, August 15, 2005

The pullout of Isreal

As I read the news today of the pullout of Israel from the Gaza strip and other Palestinian areas, it recalled to my mind of how much history these people have. I was reflecting on how a modern man in Palestine and an Israeli man can both claim rights on land going back more than 5000 years.

I started to wonder why we don't have problems like this here in the states, but quickly realized that we have no historical claim on this land going back more than a few hundred years. Our land was nearly completely taken over and there has been no looking back. I think that is why us Americans have such a hard time understanding the difficulties and anger expressed by these people fighting over land. Mix religious views into that, and we have an extremely volatile situation.

I do not know if it will ever be possible to us Americans to fully understand the situation over there, but I think that we can learn something and have at least a basic understanding of the situation. We should remember that no one (anywhere in the world) want's to be evicted from their land.

Shoes of the Israelis:
You have inherited land from your father. Or perhaps your grandfathers land was taken by someone else years ago, and you are now being given back the land. What a day of rejoicing! Now years later, you and your family have settled in and you are now being told (not asked) that you must leave your home and move because the land belongs to someone else. I'll bet you would want to fight for your rights to the land and your right to stay.

Shoes of the Palestinians:
The land of your grandfather was taken by strangers. You have been fighting to get your land back for years now, and finally you are getting the land back. What a day of rejoicing!

Whose land is it? If you can answer that you are the grand prize winner. People have been debating this for hundreds of years and there is no simple answer. It belongs to both and neither of them. So who should get the land now? That's another bonus question worth international peace. This is no simple matter to be resolved quickly or easily. I am happy to see that instead of violent action one of the sides have decided to take the road of humility and willingly leave. I hope that this sparks peace in Palestine and a new era of friendship and respect.

I have a whole new respect for the Israelis now (if they follow though with the whole thing, of course). I think that the Palestinians should equally be humble and end the violence that has rocked that area for hundreds of years.

May God bring peace!