As a matter of long-standing tradition, we leave politics out of our dinner conversations, and understanding the gap between our political positions, this has generally been a good policy.
I am, as the majority of my fellow Americans of Cuban descent or origin tend to be, a staunch Republican, and you are, as the overwhelming majority of American Jews tend to be, staunch Democrats, so this understanding and mutual respect for our rights to each hold our independent opinions has allowed for good conversations over good food, centered around updates on our children’s activities, news about family and mutual friends, and all those other topics that make good times spent with good friends, something to look forward to and cherish for years, and the unspoken decision to avoid those things that would divide us a good thing.
I am sorry, but I am going to have to broach our forbidden subject; I need to speak to you about the upcoming election.
Before you stop reading this, please take a second to reconsider. We have known one another for quite some time, and you know me for who and what I am…not a fanatical, obsessive demagogue, a political extremist, or even a one-issue ideologue. I am your friend before this conversation, just as I will remain your friend in its aftermath, a friend who holds some political positions considered too liberal to conservatives, and others that are, in the opinion of liberals, far too conservative in nature.
I am a guy with opinions, just like you. The fact that we can both hold our opinions, support the political Party and candidates of our choice, and still be able to share meals as friends is a testament to this country’s greatness.
The fact that you, a Democrat, and I, a Republican, have shared meals, laughter and even a tear or two along the way paints a picture that’s more real than the divided, partisan America that we see in the news so often these days.
America is great because her people are great.
This year however, things are happening that should raise an alarm in both our minds. Things of such disturbing connotations that should bring us together over a cup of coffee, and a taboo.
This year we need to discuss politics, you and I, face to face, and here is why:
“The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” – Barack Obama, addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations, September 25, 2012
That is a disturbing statement for an American President to make, because it is either naive and ignorant, or calculated and dangerous. The problem is that even if it’s only a naive and ignorant statement made by a well-meaning politician, that statement puts people like you, my Jewish friends and family, in mortal danger, and by extent, it puts me and mine in equal danger.
How can this President, a man who received a staggering 78% of the Jewish vote in the 2008 election, not understand that your very existence, and the existence of the State of Israel, slander the “prophet of Islam”?
Or in understanding that, how can he then publicly announce that people like you and I, Jews and Christians whose adherence to a religion other than Islam constitutes a de facto slander of Islam and its prophet, must not have title to a future?
Perhaps the callous contempt toward Israel exhibited by this President doesn’t bother you; as Americans, we should all expect, no…demand that our elected public officials act with America first and foremost in their minds. But while we all would be correct in thinking that Israel needs America, it is not untrue that through military intelligence, it is Israel that often protects America, so as Americans, we must wonder why our President would chose to stand with people who would see us destroyed, over those with whom we share such long-standing ties with.
As Ruth R. Wisse, the Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University recently wrote for The Wall Street Journal:
“No citizens would seem to need a strong America more than the Jews, who are once again targeted by aggressors seeking to destroy what they cannot attain. Iran develops the bomb and threatens to annihilate the Jewish state. Fundamentalist-controlled Egypt threatens to abrogate the treaty that cost Israel the Sinai Peninsula. Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza vie over which is Israel’s more effective enemy, with the latter firing more than 400 rockets into southern Israel so far this year.”
As Americans, we all need to be concerned by the growing threat of a nuclear fundamentalist Islamist State like Iran, and as Americans we all need to realize that the security of the State of Israel is vital to the security of the people of the United States.
So, I am asking you, as a concerned friend, to think just a bit before casting your vote in this election. I am asking you, as another human being whose existence slanders Islam and its prophet by the mere act of not accepting him as a prophet of our mutual God, to reconsider your support for Barack Obama.
I am asking you to question the validity of the future not belonging to someone based on someone else’s opinions of how the future should discharge itself…ask yourself if there is a disquieting familiarity to the idea that perceived offense based on merely existing, is a justifiable reason for one group of people to take from another group any title to the future.
In that, I am not asking you to remember, I am merely asking you to not forget.
Israel is all of us, and we are all Jews in the eyes of the world’s radical Islamists.
I am not asking you to vote for any particular candidate…I don’t expect that from anyone, but I am asking you to stop, and wonder why President Obama sees the future as something that doesn’t belong to you, and I for that matter.
I am asking that for the sake of all our future generations, that this year you consider casting your vote as an American who stands by our friends in Israel, just as they have stood by us for so long.
I am asking that you consider voting for anyone other than Barack Obama.
We have six days to stand up for Israel and for our mutual future, and we all know that six days is more than enough time to beat anyone threatening our future.
Whatever happens, no matter what happens, I will be your friend, and I’ll stand with and by you.
I hope and pray that you choose to stand by me as I stand by Israel