The idea that anyone would abandon tikkun olam because they want lower taxes is . . . depressing.
The idea that anyone would abandon tikkun olam (the Jewish calling to “heal the world”) because they think Romney is better on Israel is . . . arguably even worse. Because it’s just not true. I’ve linked to clips before; but take a minute, if you doubt the President’s commitment to Israel, to watch this one.
As for the idea that a vote for Romney is NOT a vote to abandon tikkun olam — well, please: Does anyone seriously think the world will be healed by by firing teachers and moving backwards on health care? By cutting back environmental regulation? By adding an unrequested $2 trillion to the military budget and re-installing the Bush foreign policy team? By moving our Supreme Court even further right, handing yet more power to the ultra-wealthy and powerful? By cutting taxes yet further for the rich?
At the end of the day, most Jews will vote for Obama. Even Ed Koch, who backed Bush in 2004, is back on board.
But not all.
If you have friends leaning toward Romney because the President has not visited Israel, ask them to watch this clip. If you have friends leaning toward Romney because they think the President is unfriendly to capitalism, remind them that the stock market has doubled in the last three years and that corporate profits are at record levels — and that the Obama Administration has issued fewer regulations than the Bush Administration in a comparable time period.
And if you have friends leaning toward Romney because their feelings are hurt — they feel under attack for their success or for the financial collapse or for “not paying their fair share” — tell them you feel their pain, but that the President hasn’t been talking about them, or about any of the other thousands upon thousands of highly successful people who agree the Bush tax cuts went too far (and that the financial system and its regulators failed us) — he’s been talking about those millionaires and billionaires who oppose sensible, necessary measures to right the ship.
To note, as the New Yorker did, that 93% of all the gains from the 2009-2010 recovery went to the top 1% — or that, indeed, 37% went to the top one-hundredth of 1% — is not to wage class warfare. It is simply to note that things are out of balance. Governor Romney and his party are committed to throwing them even further out of balance: cutting taxes on billionaires while cutting programs that aid the middle class and the poor. This will not help to heal the world.