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  KD MAGAZINE! 
Posted: Feruary 1, 2006 - יום רביעי, ג' בשבט, תשס"ו
 
 

Partisan Politics
Rabbi Shea Hecht
About the Author

 
A number of years ago I met an elderly friend at the polls, who told me quite proudly, “In all my years of voting - and there were many - I only voted for the Democratic candidate.”
 
I was shocked at this revelation so I questioned her, “What happened if the Democratic candidate was not a good person, what did you do then? Vote anyway?”
 
She said, “Sometimes I voted Democratic anyway and sometimes I abstained, but I never voted Republican.”
 
To me it seems strange that this woman never found a good Republican to vote for. In a country where there are many political parties with so much diversity within the parties, why would someone allow partisan politics to camouflage the real issues that should be dealt with at the voting booth?
 
A recent news article brought the partisan politics issue home again. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, a Democrat, and NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican, would like to team up to try and end gun violence in major cities. The two mayors would serve as co-chairmen of a bipartisan national campaign aimed at ending gun crimes in the streets - particularly among the younger crowd.
 
Both these Mayors must be commended. It isn’t very often that politicians cross lines to take care of problems - even pressing ones like violent crime. Somehow many politicians define problems only one way - the way their party does. Imagine politicians from two different cities and rival political parties putting aside their political alliances and working on an important issue together! These two politicians, concerned about the violent crime of their cities joined together to do something about it.
 
An example of partisan politics at its worst was the vote for recently nominated Supreme Court Judge Samuel Alito. The votes for and against Alito receiving nomination went almost straight down party lines with the Republicans voting for their nominee and the Democrats against him.
 
Congress’s vote on supreme court nominees is about advise-and-consent. The vote is whether the particular candidate is qualified to assume the position and should have nothing to do with partisan politics or party platform, yet the nomination process has turned into a side show of political allegiance.
 
Could it be that Democrats are not capable of seeing that Judge Alito is a fair and thinking man who would make wise decisions? Could it be that Republicans can’t entertain the possibility that Justice Alito is an unwise man who would wreck the country with his obtuse judgment?
 
Voting on issues by politicians would make sense if they looked at the issues at hand when voting instead of sticking to a partisan vote. When voting for supreme court justices the politicians should look at the person, look at their record, look past the party at the real issues and then make a choice.
 
Politicians would do well to look to Mayors Bloomberg and Menino and see that a good politician who wants to accomplish for his constituency looks at their needs and issues and works from there.

Read more articles by Rabbi Hecht          

Rabbi Hecht's Website:  www.sheahecht.com  

 
     
 
 
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