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Jews and the Democratic Party share values
September 30th, 2012
In no uncertain terms, I believe the United States and its Jewish citizens should vote for President Obama and candidates of the Democratic Party.
I do not just base this contention upon American Jews’ history of voting Democratic, but also upon the Jewish idea of tikkun olam, the concept of “repairing, healing, and restoring the world” and its people.
The world’s condition requires not only helping people who live in poverty, have poor education, and are unemployed, but also for the stewardship of the earth itself. We must provide “safety net” programs for people in need and protect the earth’s environment with regulations and laws that are only supported by Democrats in 2012.
Many Jewish mitzvot (commandments) encourage kindness toward others. I think kindness and empathy toward all people, not only those like ourselves, is a very important value shared by Jews and Democrats.
Helping to obtain equal rights and opportunities for the poor, disabled, people of color, religions, sexual orientation, women, and the elderly is a must in this world of divisiveness.
Most Jews are Democrats and vote that way. Our beliefs in social justice and responsibility are important reasons for our vote. And many of us believe, “This is your/our world. Shape it or someone else will.”
Unfortunately, the takeover of the Republican Party by the Tea Party, ultraconservative Evangelical Christians, and the followers of novelist Ayn Rand — all these make it very difficult for me to understand why all Jews do not vote only for Democrats.
Many American Jews remember times of exclusions and “different” treatment by many, or at least have studied or discussed these times. With this type of history in the United States and throughout time, the right wing, socially conservative and anti-government rhetoric from Republican candidates is frightening.
I distrust right-wing groups in many religions, including the Evangelicals. Since their continual intrusion into the Republican Party, I hear more anti-Semitic remarks or references.
There is really little about that the U.S. is a “Christian nation” based on both numerical and vocal majority. But this nation was founded on the basis of the freedoms that would be the birthright of all generations.
The intrusion of the religious right into our lives to the extent of attempting to influence not only what we teach, how we conduct daily affairs, and even what is in fact science — I find this off-putting and believe it is for many other Jews and members of other religions, too.
The Ayn Rand followers have been around for many years. There are present and past candidates that admit being followers of Rand and admitting they believe in her philosophical system, Objectivsm. Her philosophy involves fighting regulatory controls, backing the free market, selfishness over altruism, and individuals over state.
Finally and most importantly, most Jewish voters are not single-issue voters. Even when it comes to Israel, many Jews do not believe the Israeli government is always correct.
Most Jews love Israel and feel the supreme importance for having a Jewish state in the world. We are concerned with security and safety for the Jewish people in Israel and throughout all countries. Many Jews believe not all decisions by the Israeli government leaders should be followed or agreed upon without question.
President Obama has backed Israel but has not agreed with all of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyanu’s ideas. As Democrats, we criticize decisions by our leaders daily, but that does not mean I would want to have a Republican President to lead my country.
I believe the Democratic Party more favorably holds the views of most Jews: i.e., socially progressive, liberal, and fiscal responsibility by the government. We care about others in times of need; believe in health care for all, especially for the working poor; seek public educational opportunity and help with college student debt; support women’s reproductive freedom.
We care about and will back Israel, equality under the law, public and private union bargaining rights, stronger regulations on Wall Street and corporate greed, having the rich and corporations to pay their fair share of taxes.
We favor having strong laws to protect our environment for us and future generations, stopping the right wing Supreme Court justices from changing the U.S. into a conservative nation, allowing individuals to believe what they want without conservatives trying to force their beliefs upon everyone, and supporting individual rights.
These are only part of the list of that makes Democrats and Republicans different. Jews and the Democratic Party, to me, are closer in ideas and beliefs, and to me the Democrats are the only answer for the Presidency and other elected positions.
Martha Pincus of Milwaukee is a former nurse and teacher. She is a longtime Democratic Party activist who was one of the Wisconsin delegates to the recent national Democratic convention in Charlotte, N.C.