agree (v): to conform in opinion
(Satire Alert: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” or visa-versa – Shakespeare)
Our recent political debates have been characterized by discord and conflict. A winner-take-all attitude dominates. But, such governance leads to autocratic rule, with power resting in that group which controls other factions. However, autocratic rule is vulnerable when one strong leaders overtakes another. Such transitions result in social instability. Thus, finding what different groups agree upon is important to reduce directing our energies into power struggles. Thus, with President Trump acting in ways that I disagree with, I sought to find something to write about with which I agreed. I did not exactly find an olive brach, but at least an olive pit or two to offer as a gesture.
Dear President Trump,
My recent letters may have come across as contesting some of your decisions. But, I believe that governance is about finding what we agree on. In the past couple of weeks, I have found two points of agreement.
First, selecting General McMasters to advise you on security matters should work well. From what the press (NPR and PRI The World, in my case) has presented desirable attributes for General McMasters. He should keep you on your toes, in a productive way.
Second, when you met with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel, you cautioned him on increasing Israeli settlements in occupied territories. This is an ancient technique for expanding borders and control. However, occupations breed rebellions, as Israel is familiar with from history and present events.
Rome used settlements, both of military garrisons and civilian populations to control occupied regions in their empire. Judea was one such occupied nation under Rome. Rebellions were common. Luke 23:18-19 refers to Barabbas, who was released by the Roman governor Herod rather than Jesus, as having lead a rebellion. Again, in Acts 21:37-38, when Paul is arrested, the Roman commander believes that he lead a revolt with “4,000 terrorists”.
Sadly, Israel should be aware that occupation and rebellions eventually contributed to Rome destroying the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D. as memorialized in the relief sculptures on the Arch of Titus in the Roman Forum. The Roman Empire would collapse several centuries later. But, Rome did not eliminate the Jewish people, who have rebuilt their nation over the past half century.
In more contemporary history, Stalin used settlements to drive out various ethnic groups who lived in the Ukraine, including Jews. Now, Russia claims that Ukraine is Russian because much of the population is Russian. Occupation, settlements, and resistance to Russian intrusion on Ukrainian borders has not brought peace.
Negotiations, compromise agreements and peace must come before building homes, businesses, and prosperity for all citizens.