Those of you who know me somewhat well, most likely know who I intend to vote for tomorrow. It is however, of no significance to this particular post. In fact, this post can very likely be described as being apolitical. I will not be making an argument for one candidate or another tonight. This does not mean I am not taking a stand or that I am ashamed of my vote. My reasons for making this, what I hope is a very noncontroversial post, are not important. What is important in my opinion is that we understand truly how fortunate we are to live in a country where we have a genuine opportunity to choose our leaders, where we can verbally attack our leaders if we so desire, and where we can battle those who hold different opinions from what we believe.
I started this website to promote the book Jew Face. Tonight, although I am not writing about the subject matter in the book, I find it very easy to draw a connection between Election Day and the events in Europe between 1933 and 1945.
I have watched over these past months as the attacks on ideologies and candidates has become more and more intense and less and less subtle. The people with the loudest voices on social media certainly do not fall into the “Undecided” category. They make their points unapologetically, they often hold nothing back, and if you choose to challenge them, you better be prepared to take what they throw at you. Let me make two enormously important points. First of all, these people are on both sides of the political aisle. I am by no means implying one side is less passionate than the other. The second point, but probably the more important one, is that the intensity and passion these people feel for their viewpoint is by no means a bad thing. If these people are good or bad people, it is not for me to judge, but I will say that I do not believe that judgment should be made by whether or not they vote for Obama or Romney.
These people I am referring to are Americans. I am an American. I am proud of being an American. I am proud of all that I am. I am so very proud of being Jewish and I am very proud of my Dutch background. But tomorrow, all that matters is that I am an American. And when I look at what my parents and all of Europe went through under Hitler’s dictatorship and we hear the stories today of what still takes place in countries run by people who would crush those who passionately disagree, dare I say even hate their leaders or candidates, I am so tremendously proud and grateful to be an American.
Our leaders will always make mistakes. I guarantee you that whoever wins tomorrow, over the next 4 years he will make some mistakes. But what I also know is that, not even based on the morals of the individuals but on the strength in the system, if you speak to a crowd or post all over Facebook that you hate your president, your basic human rights will not be taken from you. I know that the extremely passionate amongst you might say, “that might not stay the same if the wrong guy wins”. The great thing is that you have the right to say that and no one can ever take that right away from you. And no country in history has defended that right like the United States of America.
So when you get up tomorrow, and hopefully cast your vote, be thankful that you live in a country where you not only do not need to hide who you are voting for, but even if you wish you had a better choice, you still do have a choice. And the best part is, that in this country you are the only one who needs to feel it is the right choice.