Palestine and Talking About People
Last week Jon Dupuis contributed a short description of his time in Palestine. There was, on its surface, very little in the way of politics, but the timing was conspicuous.
Last week Donald Trump suddenly that the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel. Palestine also claims a large chunk of the city and that particular point is generally regarded as one of the thorniest issues in an Israeli/Palestinian peace process that is generally regarded as one of the thorniest diplomatic quagmires in the world.
We have a tendency when discussing public policy to reduce problems to their most mundane political components. Trump throws this tendency into relief with his obsession with "making deals;" treating everything like pieces in a board game (with which he has only passing familiarity with the rules).
It bears remembering that politics is always about people. Decisions we make and decisions our leaders make have consequences for real people. Jon illustrated, even if only in passing, that every question about Palestine has tangled in it the lives of thousands of people, many of whom are already living in poverty and exile.
Political questions are almost always human questions. Unfortunately, remembering the look on another's face or speaking with a person who feels deeply the consequences of my political beliefs will not make my politics easier. It will only make them more compassionate and measured.