CLERGY CORNER: Vote your way

Posted on 31 October 2012 by LeslieM

I didn’t want to write this column.

You see, there are two subjects I try to avoid because every time I write about them or talk about them, a conflict ensues. The first subject might surprise you since I am a member of the clergy, but I try not to discuss religion. The funny thing is, try as I might, it seems to be a necessity in my position.

But as much as religious discussions seem to cause arguments, there is another subject that seems to cause even more animosity. I am, of course, talking about politics. I am always a bit taken aback at how many people ask me for my opinion as to who they should vote for in an election.

Even some of my congregants have asked me to give my view on the upcoming presidential election from the pulpit. So let me make this perfectly clear, I hope and pray that each of you will vote for the candidate that I’m rooting for. But, if you opt to vote for the other candidate, I promise, I will not call you an idiot. If you do not vote for the candidate I support, I promise that I will not say that you just don’t get it.

So you might be wondering which candidate I’m supporting. Well, I hate to disappoint you, but I’m not going to tell you. I will not tell you who I’m voting for, and, I will not tell you who you should vote for. What I will tell you is to vote for the candidate, not of my choice, but of your choice.

I was at a political shindig recently and, during the break, I was talking with a few people and someone else came over and, for some reason, assumed that we all saw things as they did. They said, all those people that are planning to vote for that other candidate are such idiots and that they just don’t get it.

I was apparently one of the idiots she was talking about, so I smiled and said, “Thank you very much.” She looked at me incredulously and said, “Are you really supporting that jerk for president?” When I responded that I might be, she said, “You just don’t get it.”

What an ego, to think that you know so much of what goes on in the world of politics and in the world in general that if anyone else does not share your view you can so easily write them off as idiots who just don’t get it.

I remember one of my great mentors who shared a story from the Sages with me. As I recall the story ended with this moral, “Don’t think that you’re right and that the other person is wrong, you might both just be wrong.”

As the prayer book that we use at Temple Beth Israel says, “May G-d bless the duly elected leaders of this great country.” Notice it doesn’t say, “G-d bless the Democrats or G-d bless the Republicans.” It says, “G-d bless the duly elected leaders.”

Regardless of which candidate is elected president, may we unite in asking G-d’s blessings on our duly elected president, and of these United States of America, and may we remember that that is what we are supposed to be … UNITED … One Nation under G-d … Amen.

Shalom my friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

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