The Politics of Being a Mensch

I realize that many Rabbis out there may disagree with me -but being a mensch is overrated.  Particularly if you’re President of the United States.   Like many Trump supporters, I sometimes bury my head in my hands, wishing he had chosen his words or his tweets more carefully.   But at the end of the day, a President’s policies, not personality, should be the determining factor when deciding on who one should vote for next week.  Unfortunately for President Trump, this election comes on the heels of a nation infatuated with a “Be kind” movement. Over the last 10 years, liberal elites freely lecture the rest of us on the importance of tolerance, empathy and acceptance. Messages of “radical compassion,” and kindness sound very cool and hip.  One can’t even exercise these days without being forced to “show the love” to a fellow runner by giving a virtual high five.  What’s fascinating is that the very same people who purport to be tolerant and woke are in fact breeding a rather intolerant society.  Another outcome of this fixation is that American Jewry is turning a blind eye to the policies of an increasingly leftist Democratic party.

My husband and I just finished watching an Israeli series called Prisoners of War.  Towards the end of an episode Sheikh Qasab says to Yussuf, who was born a Jew and converted to Islam,  “you have a heart of a Jew. Jews are always kindhearted, that’s your biggest problem.”  This statement rings true more today, on the eve of the 2020 election, than it ever has. This is an election where liberal campaign mantras and slogans sound hollow and empty in the face of real global and domestic threats to our people.   Our community always wants to believe that people inherently have our best interests at heart. With the Democratic party, we are faced with a party that put millions of Jewish lives in danger because it was politically expedient to do so.  Their support for the Iran deal relieved the largest state sponsor of terrorism of economic sanctions and allowed them to pursue other advanced weapons systems.  If that wasn’t enough, the Biden Administration, with President Obama at the helm, secretly airlifted $400 million to Iran right before leaving office.  Does that sound like a “menschy” thing to do? If President Trump had not withdrawn from this devastating deal, the world would be faced with Iran exercising its might over the entire Middle East. Instead, Israel is more secure having made peace with three of her Arab neighbors and Iran is now marginalized.

With all that said, I realize that the American Jewish community is not a monolithic group.  Most are not “Israel firsters.” Their vote is not based on who is more supportive of the Jewish state.  Unfortunately, the Democratic party has given us a cadre of other concerning instances back here at home.  Last year, House Democrats refused to rebuke Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) over her Anti-Semitic comments.  Instead of putting forth a resolution condemning Anti-Semitism, House Democrats opted for a half-baked resolution condemning “all forms of hate and bigotry.” Apparently hating only Jews is not enough for today’s liberals.  Yet many American Jewish voters wait in the wings, expecting that the Tom Daschles and Joe Crowleys of yesteryear will return and all will be well again.  I had the pleasure of meeting Joe Crowley years ago.  He always said he was the most pro-Israel non-Jewish Member of Congress.  Apart from that, I found him to be a down to earth and kind man.  Those were the days when we had the luxury to vote for personality andpolicy. To think that his seat is now occupied by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY), a Congresswoman who refuses to sit down with members from the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC)  and the NY Board of Rabbis, is horrifying.  Let that sink in for a moment- a Congresswoman from NY, a state with over 1 million Jews, is rebuffing requests from this sizeable constituency for a sit down.  Yet with the exception of a couple of media outlets, this story has received very little traction.

Surprisingly, the Democratic Party’s tacit support and cover for the radical elements within their party has not translated into less support from the Jewish community.  In fact, despite the “Corbynization” of the Democratic party, the latest Pew poll had 70% of American Jews throwing their support behind Biden.  I hope my Democratic friends who decide to vote for Biden do so because they support his stance on the issues and not because they just “can’t stand President Trump.”  It’s very easy for the coastal elites to turn on Anderson Cooper and read the NY Times and come out thinking that President Trump is a cruel and callous man.  In person, I actually found him to be relaxed, funny and honest.  Middle America appreciates honesty. The farmer in Iowa or the waitress in Texas doesn’t have the luxury to think about the President’s rhetoric or if he’s a kind person.  They want their President to have a little fight in him, some spine, a little grit.  Our community needs to pull back the curtain on these empty narratives that Biden and the liberal media machine are espousing. Instead, let’s start demanding that the love and compassion they always talk about is displayed through tolerant and compassionate policies towards our people. If the latter is what’s more important to you, the choice for President should be an easy one to make.

About the Author
I am a proud mother of 3 children who attend Modern Orthodox Day Schools in NY and NJ. I live in Scarsdale, NY and I have a Masters Degree in International Affairs with a focus on the Middle East from George Washington University. Upon graduating, I worked as a Legislative Assistant handling foreign affairs for several members of Congress. After leaving Capitol Hill, I went on to work for AIPAC for 5 years. Today, I spend my time being active on our school's board and on various national political campaigns.
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