If Jews are the People of the Book, what does that mean and what does that entail? If the Bible is about us, than we have certainly inherited a lot of responsibility and a great deal of knowledge. To live Jewishly, the Tanakh tells us to love knowledge, righteousness, faith, lawfulness, tradition, and justice. We are meant to pursue such ideas and practices and to live them with action; it is a mandate for all time.
By our good fortune, we are lucky to live in a thriving and healthy democracy, and today we get a chance to exercise a right that is sacred to us as Americans and free individuals. It is Election Day, and we join with tens of millions of our fellow citizens in practicing the most basic of democratic freedoms. I did so this morning happily and enthusiastically. I did so because America will be a free country where the will of the people will and must be heard every Election Day. Incumbents will win re-election, or not. Tea Party candidates will sweep into office, or they won’t. The Senate will go from Blue to Red, or maybe it won’t.
As a matter of sanity, while I might share and articulate my feelings on Israel publicly, I generally have no interest in getting into domestic political discussions with my friends or in my writing. Why? Because I hate arguing and am turned off by people who are so outwardly passionate with their political beliefs that it’s all they can talk about. So you won’t see signs on my lawn, or bumper stickers on my car. But, like in every election, some people I voted for will win, others will lose, and I will respect the outcome, although I might disagree with it. At the end of the day, a peaceful transition will have taken place and that is the most democratic thing of all.
As I voted today, I celebrated not only in the diversity of the people who joined me at the polling station, but also in the diversity of their opinions. Perhaps this year more than any, I also take pride in the diversity of opinion in the Jewish community. The myth of the monolithic Jewish Democrat has been successful dispelled, and more than ever we read about Jewish Independents, Jewish Republicans, and Jewish Tea Partiers. Maybe we’re a little more complicated and diverse than we thought- I think that can only be a good thing.
Politics in this country perhaps is shaping up to be kind of like the new Jewish affiliations- a little harder to narrow down and difficult to assess using old methods. We live in a generation where people are thinking hard about their politics, or their denominations, or perhaps even the values that guide them. It’s exciting to watch the realignment taking place, and people taking such matters with the appropriate amount of seriousness.