Procuring Principles: Whose Side are You on?

By M. Alexander

Northern Israel. Monday, October 3rd, 2011. A mosque burned. “Revenge” and “Price tag” spray-painted on the crumbling walls.

The West Bank. Mosques burned, Palestinian possessions torched, and an Israeli army base vandalized.

Wasilla, Alaska. Journalist Joe McGinniss moves in next door to the Palin house to write a new book. Writes speculation about family’s drug use and racism. Todd Palin says McGinniss is obsessed with Todd’s wife.

The world is a battleground between competing labels. Jew vs. Muslim. Liberal vs. Conservative. Orthodox vs. Reform. Mac vs. PC. All of these conflicts breed a single question, “Whose side are you on?” We are told that we must choose. Otherwise, we won’t belong, we will be outcasts.

I cannot choose between the set of labels that have been given to me. When a Jewish man destroys a Muslim place of worship, I will not stand on the side of the Jewish man. Instead, I will stand behind the principles that I believe Judaism supports—“Tolerance. Truth. Rising above the hate.”

When journalists begin malicious smear campaigns, I will not stand behind the liberal. I will stand behind the principles that I believe America represents—“Justice. Equality. Joining together instead of falling apart.”

Instead of fitting into the established paradigm of “Us vs. Them” we need to return to the first dichotomy we ever learned, “Right vs. Wrong.” Somewhere along the way, we were told that “Good” is equivalent to a specific series of labels; for instance, Democrat=Good, Republican=Bad. We must return to the core values and wrestle with righteousness vs. wickedness, instead of latching onto the principles that particular personalities project into the populace.

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