Some years ago, I started a Facebook group for people who attended a Hebrew speaking, Zionist summer camp in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains that unfortunately closed in 1982. The group has close to 900 members and is used primarily for people to reconnect with childhood friends and for the community to be updated about lifecycle events of the members.
The camp provided a singular experience and has achieved cult-like status to those who attended it. I can opine at length as to why that experience cannot be duplicated in this day and age. Suffice it to say that its campers included diverse personalities like Noam Chomsky and Alan Dershowitz. It has spawned corporate CEO’s, a fashion icon, rabbis from all denominations, a candidate for prime minister of Israel, world-renowned academics and scientists and at least one US attorney general.
Members, to rally support for causes they care about have also used the group. For example, when the Israeli Rabbinate announced they would not accept the conversions of Rabbi Haskell Lookstein, himself a former camper, friends used the message board to rally support for him. I always post a link to my Times of Israel posts in the group and recently when I covered both the Democratic and Republican conventions for a political website, I posted links to those as well. As the administrator of the group I have been tolerant of all but one post in the years that I have run it. The offending post was less a political opinion and more a baseless, name calling smear. Otherwise, in the spirit of the diversity the camp represented, pretty much all posts are welcome.
Readers of my posts know by now that I can be outspoken and am not afraid to court controversy. So my coverage of the conventions in July did not sit well with certain members of the group whom suggested that the site be limited to all things camp related only. Of course those urging this by and large disagreed with me politically. I in turn politely explained that though the group is called by the now defunct camp name, it is my group and I invited them if they don’t like my ranting’s, to leave and even to feel free to open a competing group for camp alumni. None have.
I finished out my election coverage with this message to the group:
“This presidential election is one where I believe that we have a choice between good and evil, between a voice of darkness and gloom and one of hope and continuation. It is an election where either years from now we will hopefully forget one candidate and leave him in the dustbin of history or where we will be pounding our chests for not having yelled loud enough to stop him. This is not politics as usual. This is not Republican vs. Democrat. This is not liberal vs. conservative. This is a choice between someone who denigrates women, foreigners, the handicapped and tolerates haters, xenophobes and anti Semites and one who doesn’t. I plan on yelling that from the rooftops until the evil one is sidelined. If that causes some of you to leave this group, I am sorry but don’t let the door hit your a** on the way out.”
There is no nuance in where I stand on this election. Furthermore, I do not at all subscribe to the narrative that Secretary Clinton is a flawed candidate because of Benghazi, her emails or her defense of her husband’s behavior. If anything I believe THE ONLY REASON these are even remotely issues are because she is a woman. This former Republican is not supporting Hillary because she is the lesser of two evils. This former contributor to the 2004 campaign of George W Bush is voting for her because she is infinitely qualified and because her being a woman is a bonus – not the reason I am for her. Finally, to those Israel firsters who believe that you are either with Bibi or you are anti Israel and spew the canard that Hillary Clinton will throw Israel under the bus, I call bulls***. The same was said of Barack Obama and it was garbage then, it’s complete nonsense now.
We stand at the precipice of either landsliding away the lunatic fringe for good or electing a dangerous egomaniac unafraid to brag about his xenophobia and biases and whose verbal venom empowers haters and white supremacists. I’m speaking out because I’m frightened, what side are you on?