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Untied states, part 1

11/05/2020 11:33:45 AM


Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

Well, the results are in, but I am not speaking about the Presidential Election, for as of this writing, all the ballots have not been tallied for all the states. I’m speaking about the map of America. The western states are colored blue, as are the Northeast and certain Northern Central states, with the remainder of the country colored red. If one were to increase magnification, you could break down the voting to counties and even cities, with varied results between all of them. One thing is certain: we are not a United States; we are an Untied States.

This is not new, nor is it the only time that we have been not united. During the American Revolution, many colonists were Tories, supporters of the British Crown. We had a Civil War. The Vietnam War. We still have racists and antiracists, anti-Semites and philo-Semites. It would be wonderful if I possessed a crystal ball to offer visions of tomorrow, but I do not. What I do know is that it will take work. In this blog, which is part 1, I will focus on what our elected leaders must do. In my Friday evening address, I will focus on what we as citizens must do.

If you run for an elected office and win, you are now a leader, and the essential element is that you must lead, not follow. How does one lead in such an environment wherein half of the voting public voted for one presidential candidate and half for the other? It means that our elected leaders on all levels – city, county, state and federal – probably do not understand those who are not in their political party. How can an elected leader lead when you do not know all of your constituency? If you merely follow what you are instructed to do without knowing the needs of the people you represent, then whom are you representing?

All of our leaders must, not should, but must take the time to hear from those not in their political party. Understand why they voted for the other candidate, what are their concerns and worries, what are their needs, and get a more complete picture of your electorate. You might be surprised to learn that the needs of your constituency, whether Republican or Democrat, are not as different as you assume.

All of us want to be rid of COVID-19. All of us want the financial stability that the pandemic has taken away from us, as a pandemic cares little what your political leanings might be.   That means that ways to help the most vulnerable in our communities must be created: financial assistance; jobs; housing; food security; equitable access to education, including the availability of devices and Wifi for all students; proper medical care.

We have reached a point in our society where the above are no longer suggestions, they are imperatives. America will be watching you and judging if you are truly in public service. Anything less means that you are not willing to lead and be part of the solution. Rather, you remain part of the problem, and that has stopped being acceptable.  Will you lead? All eyes are upon you.


Wed, February 24 2021 12 Adar 5781