As American citizens, it is your right, your privilege, and your duty to vote in the election next week. This election, more than almost any other in our lifetimes, could be the most important in deciding the direction our country will take over the next generation.
With the American Jewish community’s rich history of actively taking part in the democratic process, this year will certainly be no different. Jewish voters often bring their Judaism into the voting booth, but the definition of Judaism is different to each Jew, and several issues will drive the direction of how those votes take place: Israel and faith-based initiatives are among the more volatile subjects that may tip the balance in this particular election.
But while voters may bring their Judaism with them to the polling place, they don’t always know if the beliefs and agenda of the lesser-known candidates are synchronized with their own. It is often these candidates that could affect our day-to-day lives more than the big-name contenders.
Nearly everyone who steps into the voting booth this Tuesday will know who they want for President, Congress, Senate, and some of the various statewide initiatives. Most people who have ever voted will probably be able to recall a time when they chose an unfamiliar name and did not think twice about it.
Don’t do it again! You have your faith when you enter that voting both, but you also have a choice - to not vote at all. At a time where organizations from the right to the middle to the left are spending millions of dollars to get us to the polling places, it is irresponsible to not have at least some knowledge about a candidate or issue before making a choice.
If you feel that you must vote for someone, educate yourself first. Read the voter’s manual that should have by now arrived in your mailbox. Look up the positions on issues on the candidates’ Web sites. Listen to the candidates when they campaign.
Learning the issues is time consuming, but it is also your democracy in action. Part of the American Jewish electoral history is to know what and whom you are voting for. Don’t forget our history.
JTNews, with the backing of its editorial board, prints occasional editorials that affect the local Jewish community. Please send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.