In November we'll vote for the person who will lead our Nation for the next four years. By listening to the speakers at both, the Republican and the Democratic Conventions, one would think we are going to have to choose between Satan and a Saint. And that is part of the problem.
The way I look at the elections is the need to elect somebody who will be able to heal the country. Our society is today fractured, after being hit by polarization, the COVID-19 Pandemic, the related economic downturn, the race-related conflicts and of course, the social unrest that followed. We need somebody who will be able to reach accross the aisle and find common ground to restore not only civil discourse, but the credibility of the system itself.
I grew up in Argentina, which has a long history of distrust in the system (certainly justified). When people stop believing in the system, social solidarity and the sense of a common destiny are both eroded. In Argentina the process started in the 1940s, and while some politicians tried, over the years, to change it - they failed. The failure is connected to the perennial economic crises and the periodic military coups. In America we have not had military coups nor any other form of forced interruption of the political system. We do have periodic economic crises - but they pass and we rebound. Yet during those crises, people do behave oddly.
Our society is not perfect. There is systemic discrimination of some minority groups; yet that discrimination is less today than it was ten years ago; we are making progress - but we need to keep working on it, because in particular us, as Jews, know very well that when the rights of one indivual are trampled - we are all endangered.
When Dr Martin Luther King Jr addressed the March on Washington, there were still race-related lynchings and African Americans were routinely incarcerated on trumped up charges. We still have problems, but we are doing much better. We still need to achieve the ideal of people being judged by the content of their character first - but we are headed that way.
On November, we need somebody who will help us heal the fractures - the political fractures of polarization, the racial and ethnic fractures of racism, antisemitism and islamophobia - the economic fractures that persist. We need our society to relearn the idea of Unity in Diversity; we need to restore civil dialogue and pride in our social covenant, the Constitution. We need to learn to look at those who are different from us not as "the other" but as part of "we". America is defined not by one particular group or another but by all of us. This is not about Red or Blue; it is about America.
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