Should the 2016 Olympics be held in Chicago? Clearly, the International Olympics Committee didn’t think so. President Obama made his case, and it was not accepted. So be it. A little disappointing, maybe a little embarrassing – but a cause for celebration?
To call the self-described “gleeful” reaction of people like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck mean-spirited is to give them too much credit. Their joy at Obama’s failure could not be contained. Never mind that hosting the Olympics may have been good for Chicago and for the country as a whole.
If this kind of oppositional behavior ended with the Olympics, it could at least be tolerated. But it extends to health care, to national security, to every policy that the president puts forth. One even wonders if these over-the-top critics would be disappointed if Obama were able to make some headway with Iran.
This behavior is bad for the country and for the future of our democracy, which is based on the notion of compromise. It’s what the British call bloodymindedness – and that is not tolerable.
Nor is it a Jewish position. Even in the most urgent and important discussions, between the bitterest of enemies – see, for example, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – compromises have been made.
Jewish tradition is all about compromise. For example, we place the mezuzah on a slight angle rather than horizontally or vertically because while Rashi thought it should be vertical, Rabbenu Tam believed it should be horizontal. An honest effort was made to satisfy both opinions.
On a happier note, it appears that a commitment to work together has yielded positive results in our own community. The JCC Thurnauer School of Music has announced that its partnership with the Englewood Public School District will continue this year, despite the expiration of the districts’ federal and state grants for the Music Discovery Partnership program (see our Sept. 11 coverage). As it turned out, the district – recognizing the value of the program – decided to use federal stimulus money to support it as part of a comprehensive plan to raise student achievement. Apparently, studies have shown that children who take music lessons, either privately or in school, consistently outperform their counterparts in tests of proficiency in language arts and math.
Good news for the community, and proof that working together toward a common solution is the best way to go.