The Jewish community is many things, not least of which is a member of the coalition that makes up the left.
Undoubtedly, many members of the Jewish community are flummoxed by Donald Trump’s presidential election win. They view his victory as a rebuke of all that a good Jew should believe — that our actions can help heal the climate, that multiculturalism is a positive thing, that the government should be able to use coercion to force economic activities on individuals and groups, that raising the minimum wage to a “living wage” is good for workers, and so on…
Though it is vastly reductionist, the majority of the Jewish community generally believes that inclusivity and progressivism were dealt a significant blow with the election of Donald Trump. But the “inclusivity” that responds to the bread-and-butter concerns of Rust Belt voters with decades of derision isn’t inclusive. The progress that results in the middle and upper classes sending their kids to top tier schools in lily white suburbs and gilded private schools but leaves the white, black, and brown poor stuck in failed public schools is rather more regressive than anything that resembles the word progress.
The plan fact is that under the last eight years of a declared progressive, healthcare costs, cost of living, and income inequality went up, while work force participation, the ease at which small businesses could engage in the economy, and the standard of living for millions of Americans went down. Where were the shiva services being held in the Jewish community for the tens of thousands who lost their jobs in the energy sector? Where were the protests against the regulatory red tape that helped further bury American industry, including a large portion of our tribe? Where were the statements by Jewish community leaders when in election after election Republican candidates were caricatured as latter-day Nazis by the left? Where was the Jewish community when rioting replaced peaceful protesting as the new acceptable social discourse?
In the main, the Jewish community was silent. Currently, rabbis and other Jewish leaders across the country are engaging in grief counseling for their communities on what was the peaceful election of the 45th president of the United States. Rather than share with them the plain and obvious facts that their congregants are adults, blessed to be born in a constitutional republic, and that no one always wins, they are being consoled, because those mocked as anti-intellectual bigots didn’t support the candidate representing the side that mocked them.
Rather than indulge the infantilization of many in our community who have deified the presidency and remained silent as it accumulated extra-constitutional powers, our communal leaders should be telling our community to grow up, mourn, but then make your case to the public without engaging in divisive down-the-nose language.
Regardless of who is in the Oval Office, the country needs a strong opposition to keep our system healthy, hold the party in power accountable, and provide an intellectually stimulating counter-narrative that challenges people to think.
It’s time for the Jewish liberals to help get the Democratic party and the left in general out of gutter of name calling and into the battle of ideas.