As a rabbi I think that there are profound spiritual lessons to be learned from this election season. The Torah and Bible have long standing advice that we ought to apply in the wake of this bitter election. Although President Obama was re-elected our country remains deeply divided. Here are some things that we ought to reflect upon and heed the lessons we have learned as a country.
- There is a reason that “Thou shalt not lie” is in the Ten Commandments. More than ever before we saw the shadings of truth and the outright lies take over the campaigns. Often fueled by special interests, the truth, whether it is about Obama’s birth place or Romney’s religious beliefs, was often absent. We learn from this lies have no place in our elections, politics or world.
- Like the Hebrew Bible teaches, Americans are created in the image of God—ok well not just Americans; humanity is created in the image of God! America is a very diverse nation reflecting the full depth and breadth of humanity-all colors, creeds, sexual orientations and genders. We have to put to rest our bigotry and entitlement of certain races or class. The so called minorities are now majorities in many places in our nation. And all are created in the image of God!
- Corporations are not people. Despite the ridiculous Citizens United ruling of the Supreme Court-corporations are not people. The Bible is really clear that there are clear lines between species! Corporations may have people who work in them, invest in them, sell and buy them but when corporations can spend their corporate dollars freely on political interests or intimidate their workers to vote in a certain way they have crossed a line. Which politician will have the courage to sponsor legislation to put regulations upon the way corporations give politically?
- The Bible teaches “Love Your Neighbor As Yourself”. If we are to move forward as a country we need to remember our fellow citizens are not our enemies. We can vote differently, go to different houses of worship even root for a different sports team but we are all in this together. And we need to come together as serious people to solve the many issues facing the future of our country. Let’s not demonize one another but seek solutions together. Maybe then we can get our politicians to stop kicking the can down the road but actually work together!
A quote from this article appeared on the CNN Belief Blog on Nov. 13, 2012