With critical midterm elections just days away, both major political parties and countless candidates are littering the airwaves with the usual hyperbolic campaign ads. But this election is anything but usual; with drastically different visions of the nation’s future in play and extremist forces across the political spectrum eager to prey on a national mood of fear and rage, the stakes have never been higher.
The Jewish Week isn’t going to tell you whom to vote for or which party to favor, but we do have one clear message: Go out on Tuesday, Nov. 6, and vote as if your nation depends on it.
A remade federal judiciary will affect how we live for generations; your vote could help determine how that change proceeds. Our health care system is at a crossroads, and the next Congress will play a dominant role in shaping care for you and your family. Our economy is strong, but skyrocketing deficits and massive tax cuts are putting critical programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, so important to many in our Jewish community, in the crosshairs of those who have long opposed them. Global warming may be nearing a frightening point of no return.
Beyond all these important issues and so many more, there is something else at stake. You don’t need a Ph.D. in political science to perceive the growing ugliness infecting our politics. Vicious personal attacks and made-up facts — not sober, informed debate — are what pass for political dialogue. Candidates and officials at every level use language that insults the intelligence of American voters and undermines democratic — small “d” — values. And that mood has fueled an upsurge in neo-Nazis, Holocaust deniers and white supremacists openly spewing hate.
This newspaper is part of a Jewish community that is becoming more politically diverse, and we don’t presume to dictate “Jewish positions” on so many of today’s hot-button issues. What we can say is this: vote. Vote for candidates who are sober and measured in their appeals. Vote only for those who respect the civil rights of all. Vote for candidates who express a clear understanding of the core principles of our democracy, including free speech, a free press and freedom of religion. Vote for decency, integrity and compassion for those in need.
As we said, vote as if the future of your country depends on it. It does.