I’ve already voted. To many of my Orthodox friends it comes as a shock when I tell them that I voted Democrat down the ticket. “Are you a self-hating Jew?” “So you love Obama, and Farrakhan and Ellison and all the Muslims on the left?” “Don’t you care about BDS and all the antisemitism of the Democrats”. Racial and bigoted overtones to these and other responses that I won’t share aside, these responses don’t surprise me. To those who hold these views I simply say this: it’s time to stop being tribal and read your Bible. If your politics leads you to hate your opponent, something is wrong with your politics. If your religion teaches you to hate other faiths, you don’t really understand the origins of your faith, or theirs.
The sharpest increase in antisemitism in the US that we have ever witnessed has come in the last 2 years since Trump has been in office. Hate crimes in general have increased sharply in the US in the last 2 years according to the ADL. There is antisemitism on the left to be sure with BDS etc. But we have never witnessed the kind of passive encouragement and tacit approval to the worst of our political instincts coming from the very top of our government and the extremists on the right the way we have with Trump. It does no good to say you’re a friend to Israel if you can’t unequivocally denounce and reject neo-Nazis and the KKK. Moving the embassy to Jerusalem is nothing but empty symbolism if you then start talking about dividing Jerusalem to make part of it the capital of “Palestine” without any concessions, and as some kind of quid quo pro or IOU for an embassy. Trump has no credibility on the world stage and has no principles or conviction. He needs to be held in check. And while there are some aspects of the Democrat party concern me with regard to Israel, I would rather argue and make my case with people who respect facts, science, and intellectual integrity, than with messianic cultists who are willing to sacrifice all of their moral convictions and religious principles to glorify and worship one man or one party.
We are supposed to be true to ourselves, to seek wisdom and truth, and to be kind and honest. Trump is the antithesis of all those values and the pillars of our faith. He is the most un-kosher of political animals there is. He puts forward the phony split hoof of justice and pretends to be a ruminator demonstrating wisdom, but in reality he is an untrustworthy filthy beast who will eat his own to satisfy his uncontrollable urges. If that sounds to you like a metaphor for a pig…so be it. There is a reason the pig is considered the ultimate symbol for everything that is not kosher. If that sounds like a hateful comparison, it is meant to be a jarring reminder that what we accept as food for our bodies is important as what we accept as food for our souls. Now before you judge me, know that I am speaking as someone who was once a registered Democrat but has been an independent for the last 8 years and who voted in the past for both Democrats and Republicans including Romney and Hillary. I’m proud to vote for country over party. That’s what real patriots do at times like this. I cannot respect or support a political party that exhibits the kind of willful ignorance for the historical precedence that the politics of fear and anger brings. As Ellie Wiesel once said: “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” I am shocked and dismayed that some of my even so called “moderate” Republican friends in the past few days, who are not shy about their political views seemed to have more to say about Trump’s comments on baseball than they did about all the other events. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism to deal with the unspeakable horror that has come in the face of a man whose first instinct is to blame the victims.
It’s time to end the divisiveness and the rhetoric of fear and anger. We can defend Israel without having to compromise the inner voice of compassion, wisdom and tolerance that speaks to our strength and resilience. Am Yisrael Chai. God Bless America. I vote Blue.