OP-ED: Voting with your heart
This incredibly difficult year will be ending with a what may be an impossible choice for all of us. The Trump Administration has fostered blind obedience for its very patriotic base and turned a blind eye to a swell in anti-Semitism. It is their hope the American Jewish community will ignore the President’s record of encouragement of those radical right groups who commonly target Jews in their rhetoric.
“Proud Boys, stand down and stand by,” he shouted, acting as a de facto leader of the group labeled by the Anti-Defamation League as having members who are “white supremacist” and “anti-Semitic.” Indeed, after opportunities such as the Charlottesville protests and the First Presidential Debate, he refused to simply denounce anti-Semitism when prompted to do so by reporters.
The President, presently trailing in the polls, hopes to solidify the Jewish vote with his stand with Israel and the advancement of the Middle East peace proposals. Incredibly, the Trump Administration has scored the most significant support for Israel by moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, defunding the troublesome Palestinians where it can and advancing normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the Republic of the Sudan.
The support for President Trump and Vice President Pence is nearly universal in Israel. Sadly, he is running for re-election in the United States and the polls say he is trailing in those states where he needs a win the most for re-election.
On the other hand, Vice-President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris present a choice for liberal-leaning Jews, who believe the Trump Administration has favored the rich and denied equal protection under the law for the underprivileged. They point to the nearly ceaseless efforts on behalf of the White House to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the so-called Obamacare legislation that prevents denial of health coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions.
They also point to the fact that more than 500 children are still separated from their parents as part of the administration’s efforts to curb illegal immigration at the Mexican border. The likelihood these children will never again see their parents is, of course, very high, especially given that in order to fight for their return, the parents would have to put themselves in harm’s way again.
There is a feeling that the favorable progress made towards peace in the Middle East might be stifled with a Biden-Harris win, which might again favor Iran flexing its muscle as a major player there.
Throughout this year we have been encouraged to stay home, sequester there and socially distance from our families and friends as the coronavirus pandemic has changed our way of life and curtailed once healthy and thriving businesses. Millions of Americans who had chased the American Dream were now living in the shadow of the American Nightmare with possible financial ruin and loss of their homes and savings.
President Trump claims it’s not his fault, that the pandemic emanated from China and that a vaccine is “coming soon.” Obviously, it’s not here in time for the election, but that’s not enough of a reason to vote for the challengers, given they also have no way of determining if or when a vaccine will be forthcoming either.
In essence, Vice President Biden claims he is running for the heart and conscience of the nation, that he wants the United States to live up to its reputation as a kind and gentle nation.
While many of us have already voted by mail or in person, most of us who will vote on Tuesday have already made up our minds. It is the policy of the CCJN not to take a stance for any one set of candidates over another.
What’s important is not who you vote for, but that you vote.
This country has prided itself as being a bastion of progress and an example of a democracy that should stand up to the test of time. Unfortunately, the sad history of our nation is that we have hovered at between 55.5 % and 57.1% of registered voters. Some West African nations, considered behind the U.S in technology and industry, like Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Guinea-Bassau, Chad and Senegal all boast significantly higher voter participation.
On Tuesday, let’s exercise our right to vote and engage ourselves in the process of electing our Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief. Of course, for those that have already voted, congratulations are in order.
We are in for a rough patch. Election results won’t become official until the last of the mail-in votes are counted and those could take another week at least. So, hang on. It’s going to be a bumpy ride for the next few days. Vote with your heart and lean in.