שירת שלום

Song of Peace

Drowning in Politics by Rabbi David Degani

18 Feb 2019 7:33 PM | Shirat Shalom (Administrator)

Drowning in Politics

In so many places that I go and people I meet, the conversation inevitably turns into politics. It is always highly emotional, with much discontent and even down right hatred. No matter which side one speaks for, it always sounds like righteous indignation and a barrage of accusations. We are absolutely right and the hated other side is made of mostly criminals in leading positions. Can we not see beyond our highly charged emotions? We are so occupied with trying to discredit our adversaries (in the name of what's best for our country, of course) that we can't see beyond our emotions.

But wait, it's even worse than that. Our sharp political differences are much more than a philosophical outlook on what is good for our country. The "other side" is now our true enemy to be despised, humiliated in every possible opportunity and, if only it was legal, to be "eliminated"  

Does this sound too harsh? It is not! In many families around the country (as well as in our congregation!) brothers, cousins, sons and daughters with different political outlooks either don't talk to each other at all or keep their relationships to family obligations only. 

Is this what we want?

The only time this country went through such explosive divisive politics was right before  the civil war and that did not end up too well. While of course we are not facing another civil war, we are nevertheless just as divided today as then.  There is a different kind of war going on. A war of words where everything goes. A war where our unity, which is so important for the country (and its safety!) is set aside for the sake of satisfying our ill emotions.

How sad is that.  Our good friends, the Russians, the Chinese, some of the Middle East fanatical nations are laughing at us, trying to take advantage of this situation any way they can.

We can fix this. We do not need to act like this. This bickering is an insult to our country, to our veterans, to all of us who care deeply for our country's welfare.

Let me tell you what makes me optimistic that things will get better. I know of at least two members in our congregation who are on complete opposite sides in the political spectrum. There are always heated political debates between them, as you can imagine. Yet they are very close friends and care deeply for each other.

Politics should never be a vehicle for ridicule and hate. Differences, even sharp differences, are healthy. In fact, it is part of our strength as Americans. Our differences come with a strong sense of unity, respect and tolerance. We seem to have lost that.

Let’s come back to it for the sake of generations to come. It might very well be a question of survival.

Rabbi David

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