I can’t agree as a Jew with Arthur Brooks’ statement at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday (see link below) that we should now turn our contempt for the “other” into love. I don’t think this way as a Jew, especially as I ruminate about the cowardice of the Republicans to hold the President to account and about the President’s hubris, lack of empathy, and contempt for the constitutional constraints placed on the Executive branch.
Arthur Brooks’ argument as stated in The Washington Post, admittedly, is high-minded. As a Jew, however, I have a different approach. Rather than my staying angry, which is self-destructive, I’m striving to surmount my anger and contempt first with sadness at the situation in which our country finds itself, and then with resolve to help win back the Presidency and the Senate in November’s election.
“Don’t get mad – Get even!” doesn’t feel right to me either because this attitude presumes that the world must operate on the basis of a zero-sum game.
For Jews, the unity principle as articulated in the Sh’ma is the greater goal – bringing the nation together out of our common humanity, treating each person as a reflection of the image of the divine, and building an ethical society in which justice, fairness, compassion, empathy, repentance, forgiveness, love, and peace reign as guiding moral, ethical, and religious principles.
See Arthur Brooks’ “America’s crisis of contempt – What I said in my address to the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday”