It is time for seichel and civility after this year's election...

Fri, 11/02/2012 - 2:54pm -- Synagogue Counc...

By Alan Teperow. 

I rarely, if ever, discuss politics as part of my job here at the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts.  But the recent election cries out for some seichel and civility. The amount of time, money and energy devoted to the campaign -- from primaries through the final days of the election -- is nothing short of obscene. Imagine if that energy and those resources could be allotted to social services or literacy in the schools.  

After all is said and done, aren't we essentially where we were two years ago?  I urge our newly elected officials to really take a serious look at election reform.  No television spots, rallies, robo calls, newspaper ads, and name calling.  Let the American people hear the debates, read the interviews, and make up their minds.

My professional life has been devoted to bringing Jews from diverse religious communities together in unity.  In my world, civility trumps intolerance, pluralism trumps polarization, and diversity trumps fundamentalism.  We argue for our firmly-held positions in a manner that is inclusive and dignified.  Are we always successful in this complicated enterprise of transdenominational dialogue?  Of course not; but at the core, respectful conversation is mandated (and followed).

Is it too much to ask for our country to return to the values that made us a strong and respected UNITED States of America?  Perhaps it's naive of me to think otherwise, but I hope and pray that the next four years brings tolerance, civility and respect for the 'other' back to our public discourse.  We can afford nothing less.