Recently, while shopping at Costco, I was perusing the book table. A woman was standing there shouting into her phone that “the book has been removed!” She was pretty heated and clearly upset. “We have to get to the bottom of this! This partisan crap has to stop! People have a right to the truth!” My interest was piqued and, because I’m nosy as hell, I lingered and waited for her to end her call.
“What book has been removed?” I asked.
Glenn Beck’s Cowards, I was told. “Do you know anything about it?”
“Well, not really,” I replied, “but I’m assuming it’s a right-wing rant of some kind or another.”
“No,” she answered. “It’s not right wing or left wing. It’s a bipartisan approach to America’s political structure and the truth about our position as a country. As a Jew who is incensed that people, especially my own community, vote along party lines without educating themselves about the system and, more importantly, the candidate, I am absolutely crazy!”
That’s it. I was hooked. We agreed to put the frozen food back and sit down and talk. Now, in an effort at full disclosure, I am not a Democrat or Jewish. I do, however, try very hard to be politically aware and vote for the best candidate, regardless of party affiliation. Danielle was more than willing to discuss the tendency of Jews to be Democrats. She seemed almost hungry for someone to listen to her concerns about anyone’s blind faith to a party vote, especially Jews.
“It’s not surprising, really, that Jews are Democrats,” she started. “We have a history of oppression and, because of that, we feel we have a religious mandate to help others. Politically, we’ve felt that the Democratic party was more in tune with our values than the Republicans, but this is not your grandmother’s Democratic party anymore and Jews are asleep. They need to wake up to a few realities.”
Danielle was on a roll. We’d gotten lunch and hers sat untouched while she explained.
“You see, as insane as this sounds, Romney’s values match mine. Barack Obama’s don’t. Obama end-runs Congress with regulations and executive orders that mock the political structure of government. That’s called cheating. This country was founded on a Judeo-Christian ethos, and this man has mocked those values. Jeremiah Wright wants to damn America and Obama calls him his spiritual adviser? Give me a break. This is how I see it: It is government’s job to defend our God-given rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution. Plain and simple. I know it sounds extreme, but I think, as evidenced by the removal of the word God and the omission of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the DNC platform, that the man is God-less. I’d rather have a good Mormon in the White House than an American apologizer who believes that government is God.”
“But you know what, Beth?” she continued, “his lack of Judeo-Christian values and his abysmal handling of the U.S. economy isn’t what’s going to wake up Jews this election. I mean, it should; Jews came to this country to work hard and achieve the American Dream and, by all accounts, we have in every arena of American commerce and culture. We did it through hard work and perseverance because we believed in a system that offered equal opportunities, not equal stuff. No, Jews are starting to realize, and as far as I’m concerned not quickly enough, that Obama feels nothing but contempt for Israel and, scariest of all, will endanger the future of Israel with his disastrous foreign policies. Jews have every reason to be in fear. Do you know that, as President, he’s never been to Israel? He’s been to lots of Muslim countries but never to Israel. And his suggestion that Israel revert back to 1967 borders is dangerous and shows his ignorance. He sits back while Iran, a country that has vowed to wipe Israel off the map, builds nuclear weapons, pretending that sanctions are working. He doesn’t understand that a militarily strong and sovereign Israel is essential to the safety of Jews all over the world. Older Jews get that. Younger Jews see Israel as just another state, their homeland, yes, but the rest of us know that the safety and security of Israel is tantamount to our own.”
A lot to consider. It’s important that people educate themselves about the political arena, educate themselves about each candidate and vote for the one who seems best able to do the job and not because he or she has a D or an R in front of their name, Jews and Gentiles alike.