We have become a society that is so focused on the “other” we don’t look at ourselves.

By: Rabbi Mark Borovitz

In yesterday’s New York Times Week in Review, Frank Rich wrote an article on the Tea Party Phenomenon. It is a very scary period in our history. The Tea Party movement is a coalition of groups dedicated to “free” the American people of government. They are “true” Patriots, according to them. These people, some of them John Birch Society members, preach hate, separation and that it is okay to fly airplanes into the IRS buildings as a statement of protest. They are being courted by members of the Republican Party and hail such politicians as Sarah Palin and Scott Brown.

I am worried. When the John Birch Society is being hailed as a grassroots populist organization, we are in trouble. This is NOT about politics; this is about freedom from hatred and polarization.  In today’s world, the Tea Party represents supposedly disenfranchised people. Yet, who are they? Glenn Beck is certainly not disenfranchised. The John Birch Society and other White Supremacists need to stay disenfranchised. Who is representing the people?

We have a government that is gridlocked. We have a President who is well intentioned and unable to move the agenda of change that he was elected to promote. We have a Congress that is more concerned with how things look than how things should be. They have not stopped taking Lobbyist money. They have not stopped their Pork/Pet projects. Yet, they rail on and on about the “other”. We have become a society that is so focused on the “other” we don’t look at ourselves.

Here is the problem and the solution. When we as a people and as individuals get back to the roots of this country, we will see interesting things. The Declaration of Independence says we are all created equal and all have the “unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Do you really believe that the John Birch Society adheres to these ideals? Do you really believe that White Supremacists adhere to these ideals? We know that they don’t! Yet, we are hailing them as “real” Americans. Who is the lunatic fringe now?

Going back to the roots of our country means going beyond our own self-interest to advance the greater interests of God and others. It means living a life of Spirituality and decency. It means being serious about not coveting and not murdering the souls of another. It means not worshiping at the feet of idols and not making Golden Calves. It means seeing the intrinsic worth of oneself and another. It means being a nation based on inclusiveness, not exclusivity.

We are inheritors of a country founded on faith, freedom and love. When we listen to people extol hate and hate-mongers, we forfeit our inheritance. When we listen to what is being said and do nothing, we are contributing to the evil in the world. I don’t care about Republican, Democrat, Independent, Etc. I care about preserving our heritage and growing our inheritance from the Founding Fathers. I care about being a “nation of Priests”, not just Jews, but all people. I care about extending and practicing the teachings of the Prophets, Jesus, the Dalai Lama and all other Spiritual leaders and faiths. These teachings are: Love, Justice, Compassion and Truth. Can you say that the Tea Party and John Birch Society are growing this inheritance?

4 thoughts on “We have become a society that is so focused on the “other” we don’t look at ourselves.

  1. Rabbi, the way you lump every member of the tea parties into one group of “white supremacists” who “preach hate” and say it is ok to fly airplanes into buildings, is remarkable. This a gross mischaracterization of the tea party movement. Are there a select few white supremacist nut jobs in the tea party movement? Yes, of course. But they do not make up the large majority of tea partiers. There are also some left wing fringe haters and hate groups in America. If I were to use your technique I could label the entire left as anti-Israel and pro-Hamas (see ANSWER; Act Now to Stop War and End Racism); I could label the left as Anti-American (see Jeremiah Wright); I could label the entire left as actual terrorists (see Bill Ayers); I could label the entire left as communist. I could also say that the left thinks America deserved the 9/11 terrorist attacks (see Ward Churchill and Noam Chomsky). Don’t you see the problem here?

    The truth is the vast majority of tea partiers are regular conservative Americans who, like Ronald Reagan, believe government is the problem not the solution. Is Ronald Reagan a white supremacist?

    1. Michael Becker March 1, 2010 — 9:04 pm

      It would be hard not support each position Mr. Levine has put forth or mentioned or commented on.

      I believe the Rabbi also wants peace, justice, equality and moral truth. Somehow, somewhere our country has headed off more towards Chavez of Venezuela and is running away from a strong Democracy that we can be.

      When the President embraces dictators and madmen with whole heart or just to placate them it reminds me of pre-Nazi Germany and the aftermath. If he is just putting on a gameface and playing a role, the other side may not realize it.
      Dangerous game, bad consequences.

      Mr Levine, we haven’t met, but I’m on your page.

  2. Sammy and Michael, I whole-heartedly agree with all that is said. I have really nothing to add other than I am afraid for our country. We are losing our civil rights. Our federal government is overstepping its bounds. I’ll settle for it just to protect our borders against the maniacs infiltrating our borders and lives instead of intruding on our healthcare, our jobs, and our civil rights.

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