I write you today about our pending election. As with all things, these are my opinions and mine alone. Just one American Jew writing another.
Observing the election, one can only conclude that the campaign for President of the United States has reached a Rovian ugliness unmatched over the decades that I have exercised my right to vote. I have, with you, watched with growing horror and disbelief at the unreasoned accusations thrown out hourly, it seems, about Barack Obama's loyalty to the United States and the alleged invidious influences that have "inspired" his candidacy. It is time for men and women of good will to say "no more" (and, if recent polls are to be believed, perhaps they have already).
While we watch and hear crowds at McCain and Palin rallies enflamed and so filled with rage, shouting "traitor" and worse in response to inflammatory rhetoric from a Presidential candidate whose constantly changing positions on the issues of most concern to us as Americans suggest troubling mood swings and from a Vice-Presidential candidate whose understanding of Vice-Presidential constitutional responsibilities are unmatched in American history in a candidate who might be but a heartbeat away from the Presidency and whose very nomination by John McCain suggests that he, himself, has a total disdain for the American people he seeks to lead. I fear the potential results of the hate now blowing in the wind. As Jews we know what can happen when people are roused by hate and fear; we have an obligation to say this must stop.
But, what about Israel, you ask? The screed published by the Republican Jewish Coalition suggests that reason has been shoved aside by a misplaced self- and political interest. Accusations of Barack Obama consorting with Hamas, of a desire to abandon Israel are belied by both Obama's words and his actions. Those from the Chicago Jewish community who accompanied Obama to Israel two and one-half years ago were witnesses to his love for Israel and the manner in which he was moved by what he saw there -- a far more in-depth experience than George W. Bush's famous and inspiring helicopter tour with Ariel Sharon over a decade ago. While polls among Israelis themselves evidence support of Obama's presidential bid over Senator McCain, Republican Jewish leaders spread irrational fears about Barack Obama and Israel, Barack Obama and Iran, not facts. No one questions either John McCain's support for Israel (although Palin's unrestrained enthusiasm for "Isreel" seems more scripted than real, as with all things) or Joe Biden's great friendship for the Jewish State. Yet, the RJC continues to spew the mistruths that have been characterized more by their antagonism to the Obama candidacy than their support for McCain's. At a time crying out for appeals to the best in us, they pander only to our fears. More's the pity.
Is it possible to believe, three weeks before the election, in the midst of the worst economic crisis to confront our country since the Depression who is the best man to be President? Have the last eight years taught us nothing? Does anyone among us believe that Israel is strengthened when the United States is weakened? Eight years of Bush policies are enough, more than enough, far more than enough. John McCain offers nothing more than four more years of the same; Sarah Palin offers hope only to the comedians of late night television. Barack Obama and Joe Biden offer us hope for change for the better, and hope for our country, for our children and grandchildren at this time of our country's great need.
I urge you to vote your confidence in America's future. Vote for Obama-Biden.
Chag Sukkot sameach.