When I wrote last week, there were enough responses that I want to clarify at least one point which is this: ultimately what I was writing about, and questioning, were and are the shared goals of the project of Jewschool. I take ownership of the fact that I was responding to a particular post by one of our contributors and David I do apologize to you that this, in part became about you as an individual, because ultimately it isn’t. My response was never about censorship, nor that I think you are a bad person or that you needed to be “silenced”.
What I was talking about, and what I do still believe to be true, is that there is nothing wrong with asking us, all of us, including myself, to be accountable to a vision. When I agreed to be a contributor, I knew there were and are contributors that I do not agree with and I like that. I don’t believe that we all must have the same ideas. Ultimately, however, I did believe, and do believe it is ok to ask, that we are participating in a broader vision of creating a more just society, and that it is ok to not only ask of ourselves, but to demand of ourselves that we evaluate when we are living out of fear, when we participate in limiting our lives, our worlds and our borders rather than expanding–ultimately, what I know to be true, is that many of us, including myself, do not know how to dream. The day before I wrote this post I sat with a group of people who were asked to dream about a different world, and for some of us, more of us than not, to dream was hard. To be reactive was/is what we knew and know. In this time of war, it is no surprise that intense feelings will surface from all of us, and that the mass media, that the corporations and mass media–hand in hand–who profit the most, have mastered fear as a tool that we all know too well to think that our safety is dependent upon narrowing our lives and our borders. I am not calling for narrowness. Nor do I believe that because I chose to write in a different way that it ultimately means I was not arguing “the points”–I am a different person with different life experience, so my difference in writing style and perspective comes from that tradition as well. I wrote after many weeks of silence and discomfort in wondering whether we as contributors were trying to work with a shared vision and goal that I was working from based on the “vision statement” that is listed on the site, and I think it is ok to ask us to think about what that means.
Ultimately, though, what I want for all of us, for many of my family members who have vastly different political views then myself–some of whom would call for the closing of borders whom with I have these same hard conversations–is that we must work harder to move past the internalized fear and shame, the trauma of our histories to look at who benefits when we perpetuate these cycles of violence on one another. These are hard lessons to learn and hard lessons to unlearn, and sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fall short and sometimes I do both. What I know in the end, what I am learning more and more though, is that we must dream. We must dream.
A quote for meditation:
“We can learn to work and speak when we are afraid in the way way we have learned to work and speak when we are tired. For we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us.
The fact that we are here and that I speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken.” — Audre Lorde

3 thoughts on “Compelled

  1. I followed last week’s conversation and debate with great interest. Thank you for clarifying, Cole. Well said.

  2. I’ve followed this thread with interest. I am new to this blog, so I do not pretend to preach about what should be the editorial line of the blog, what should be in it and what should not. Here are my two cents:
    First cent: Regardless of the editorial line of the blog, the anti-immigrant feelings expressed in the previous discussion cannot be categorized as progressive.
    Second cent: Desspite the long discussion that followed Cole’s original post, no one–as far as I can see–addressed this implied question: “If we have categories like “Arab World”–if we have no categories for occupation or Palestine.” Can anyone elaborate on this?

  3. It’s true that wasn’t addressed. Not all contributors have editorial abilities to add categories, so I can’t add a category for example for Palestine, or occupied territories, and I’m not going to check off “arab world” — it’s not accurate on a number of levels.

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