Why We Care and Why We Vote

Dear JacksonDems,

I had to share this story with you.  We all come from different backgrounds and have our own, personal reasons for our political opinions, but many of us here in Western North Carolina are sort of homogeneous — our backgrounds and life experiences are more similar than vastly different.  A friend of mine may seem to be assimilated, but in this disturbing political climate her background has broken through to cause her anxiety and even fear.  I have been trying to reassure her by email and our correspondence has led her to reveal her story, which struck such a chord with me that I asked her permission to share it with you.  We may feel very strongly about the importance of this election, but we cannot always define why we feel so strongly.  This may help us to focus.

I actually have tears in my eyes having just read your note.  For you to have taken the time to write me is evidence of such kindness and friendship and I so very much appreciate both.

I think my anxiety stems from the fact that I’m an immigrant!  My parents and I CHOSE this country!!!  I am scared that if the unthinkable happens it will be evident that my parents sacrificed so much for nothing and I misjudged the country of which I chose to be a citizen!!!
Both of those are too horrible to contemplate.

My parents survived the Holocaust, which was hardly a picnic, only to be then subjected to the cruelty of communism, the system under which I was born and grew up.

If  my parents wanted us, as a family, to survive in that regime, as part of my upbringing, they had to teach me, from a young age, to lie.

When we went to synagogue they schooled me that if anyone stopped us and asked where we were off to, I was to say we were on our way to visit my grandmother. When Friday rolled around, my mother closed the shutters on our windows as we were preparing for the Sabbath and lit candles murmuring the prayers in a whisper. When my father was ill and bedridden for months, she became the bread winner by selling nylon stockings (in huge demand and difficult to obtain) to ladies. For this she was arrested and beaten up so badly that I hardly recognized her. While she was arrested, officials of the Communist Party (my parents never joined) came to our house looking for contraband and subsequently tore our home to pieces!  At a “Party presentation” at my brother’s high school, everyone was expected to rise and applaud at the mention of the name of Stalin, Lenin and Rakosi, the Hungarian Communist leader. My father refused to stand! When the speeches were done, armed men came for my father!   In another episode of Communist cruelty, my father was granted a permit for a small privately owned business. He opened a small clothing store. He worked hard, built it up until one day “they” came and took his keys and his business, saying the state needed it. This is the milieu in which my formative years were shaped! This and stories of survival during the Holocaust where life and death turned on a dime!

At the first opportunity my parents left everything behind…family, friends, their mother tongue!!!
My mother was 40, my father, 50! He got a job washing dishes, went to night school to learn English,  my mother took in boarders and cooked for some, who came only for meals. When my father lost his job he refused to apply for unemployment, saying he would never take money he didn’t earn!!! You’ve heard of these immigrant stories before, depicted in books and film but I LIVED it!!!

For this entitled, know nothing, amoral bastard Trump to come along and hijack this nation is more than I can bear.  I was angry in 2000 when SCOTUS stole the election for Bush but I wasn’t afraid!

I am now! I am afraid for myself, as a Jew, for all immigrants who work hard and pay taxes and do the right thing!!!  But truthfully, I am appalled that 40% – 45% of the electorate are with this man!
Hitler didn’t kill the 6 million! Hitler did it with the help of the German people!!! Trump didn’t rise up by himself, he did it with the help of the American people!!! Even if he loses there is a lot, for me, to fear!  His connections to the alt-right and their support of him is pretty scary!!! When he claims their support by not disavowing them, I’m scared! When he disparages African Americans, Mexicans, Muslims, I’m scared…because bigotry for one, is bigotry for all and, as a Jew, I am sure to be next.  People say Jews are safe because his daughter has converted to Judaism. What happens if/when Ivanka’s husband cheats on her???

So, I am terrified of a Trump election but perhaps, even more, of what he has awakened in a certain segment of the population. You think that can be put back in the bottle??? I don’t know…

I have been worried about complacency in the Democrats but the events of the last few days made me realize that the Repugs will do anything!!! I think they feel entitled, just as some Christians feel entitled. They have been eroding the separation of church and state for years and yet, they are the ones who proclaim the Constitution as FIXED!!!  Not a living, breathing document, but fixed, as originally intended!!!
I am so angry and confused!!!  The SCOTUS has been leaning to the right for years!!! Why do they think it’s their right to keep it that way?!
They openly defy to do their job, to give Obama’s nominee a vote and commit to continue this obstruction before a president is even elected!
This is no joke! Do they not understand that the pendulum swings??? How is the country to grow, to mature, to keep its leadership position in the world???

I’m sorry I’ve gone on and on but it’s all bottled up inside me and your note gave me permission to spill it.

Again, thank you. Thank you for listening, thank you for your advocacy and your wise counsel.

Trying to hang in…