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?