The Absence of Decency

The Absence of Decency

Its been several months since I last posted.  We have just come through one of the most nasty, bitter political seasons in recent memory.  More than an election, it seems to be to have been a civil war.  The division between us was so deep and acrimonious, that demonstrations erupted into physical violence.  People who otherwise are civil toward one another, have become bitter and broken off friendships.

I’ve listened to the rhetoric on both sides, and to be honest, neither side is as good or as evil as they have been portrayed by supporters and dissenters.  It has become an ideological struggle over what kind of America we want to have.  Some desire a country defined and governed by the constitution, while others wish to rewrite the constitution, resulting in a very different America than we have had previously.

What concerns me is not which side won or lost, as much as the behavior of a great many of us.  People have behaved badly.  I have been called horrible things because I hold a view that others don’t accept. Whatever happened to the words of Voltaire,  “I wholly disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”  In our current social climate, the would have taken Voltaire out and stoned him, or at least unfriended him on Facebook.  I am feeling that we as a society have undergone a loss of common decency.  A loss of kindness.

Does an individual really need to agree with us to be our friend?  There are plenty of people I disagree with, but love them.  There are others who agree with me that I can’t stand to be around.   Maturation requires a humble openness to discovery within the context of firmly held convictions.  It means we listen to each other instead of waiting for the other to finish so we can “respond.”

The worst part of it, is the realization that people chose their opinions over my friendship. People who claim to be kind and compassionate, chose their political views over me.  Its painful to realize the low value they place on friendship.  This goes against my values.  I can’t look down on someone because they believe something different from me.  Its draconian, and quite honestly, the left has shown itself to be as narrow and negative as those they hate on the right.

The good thing is that not all people are like this.  Some hold their friendships higher than politics.  It makes you ask the question, how much to people really matter to you?  – and don’t twist this so as to suggest your political view is for the common good as if it is some higher justification for your view.  Everyone says that and it means nothing.  Thats just bullshit.  If you value people, then do it.  Valuing people is no excuse for treating others badly.  You can have your views, and you can feel deeply about them, just don’t be a jerk.


12 thoughts on “The Absence of Decency

  1. Rabbi, I am appalled! I don’t mean to be a jerk, BUT….

    Please, tell me what the right has said that is so “narrow and negative” as to deserve the hate of the left. Please, now, quote the speakers of these things, and not what the media has said about them. Don’t just say that Trump hates this or that, tell me exactly what he said, to give you that opinion.

    I still love you, even though it appears we have a big disagreement here.l

  2. Michael, you hit the nail on the head, my wife and I hold different political affiliations, but love each other dearly. The outcome didn’t matter as we both have love and respect for each other. I have seen long time friends almost come to blows over this election, and lose these friends, and what do they have now? The knowledge that their candidate won or lost, but not the friend they had for years. It’s just very sad.

  3. Wow! In the last few days, I’ve been handed a perfect example of what you say. Even though we are Jewish, we have for years been invited to go to New Jersey to our daughter’s for Christmas. She invites the whole family.

    This year, we have been uninvited, a couple of days after the electio0n, for reasons she doesn’t explain, because we “:wouldn’t understand.”

    I think we understand perfectly.

  4. Sir,

    I stumbled upon your blog a couple days ago when I was trying to better understand the Messianic Jewish beliefs compared to those of Christianity. I thoroughly enjoyed, and mostly agreed with, your assessment of the two religions’ differences. As you stated, we are all brethren in Jesus Christ, and that is to often forgotten in our interactions with each other.

    With that said, you never really fully addressed the central part of this revolution. Americans are sick and tired of the elite telling us what is right and wrong. We are sick of the corruption at every level of the federal government. We are sick of all the regulation, the stripping of rights, the progressive social issues shoved down our throats, and the steady flow of illegal immigration. This election was a loud and complete rebuke of the political system that is currently in place.

    As a conservative Christian, I personally am sick of the slaughtering of innocent babies, the acceptance of homosexual relations, the censuring of my speech on important topics, the growing national debt, and many important other issues that this corrupt government has helped fester and grow. I was not a fan of President-elect Trump from the onset. To me, he as still too socially liberal on many issues important to me; but, it came down to who was the lesser of two evils.

    Hillary represented the issues that Americans have grown tired of. She is part of the elite, corrupt political establishment that Americans no longer want running this country. We are willingly to take a risk on an unknown candidate rather than vote into power the candidate with a history of unethical political practices.

    Now, as to your view on treating others fairly, I would argue that the left, who preaches tolerance and love, is the most unaccepting side of the whole political argument. They are vicious and many times violent to those who do not agree with their point of view. One needs only to observe the riots being conducted as we speak. The claim they are “protesting”, but why, then, are they destroying everything in their path. When we on the “right” lost for 8 straight years, we did not go out and destroy other people’s property or beat up innocent people in the middle of the streets. I simply cannot wrap my head around the idea that they believe in their social uprisings are just when they involve so much violence and intolerance. Are there some on the right that need to improve on their human interactions? Absolutely. However, the majority of the intolerance and violence conducted currently is by those on the left.

    I think much of the world’s problems today are due to the rejection of God. America was founded based on Biblical principles (inalienable rights given by their Creator), and many of our laws reflect that. However, many so-called Christians today are failing at accomplishing the commission Christ left for us to complete. As followers of the Messiah, unconditional love is the essential piece of Christ’s message. I, and many other Christians, love and respect the sanctity of all human life, but I do not believe that it requires us to be accepting and tolerant of things that contradict what Christ taught during his ministry. Since this country was found based on the Biblical law, I believe that as followers of Christ we have a duty to reject anything that contradicts this law.

    My question to you, sir, is then this: How do we balance the two (love of all and rejection of the unbiblical) and avoid creating the conflict that you mentioned in your article? I agree that it is necessary for civil interactions, but many on the left simply do not want to hear a point of view from people such as myself.

    Thank you for your thoughts and God bless.


    • First of all, thank you for your service Jonathon. I respect and honor you for your sacrifice.

      I agree with your viewpoint. I am tired of the hypocrisy of the left that is tolerant of everything but an opposing point of view. What I have come to, is recognizing that our society is largely secular. It is not a theocracy. The role of religion in a secular society is to speak into it on issues of faith AND MORALITY. I will not allow leftists to shut me down. People will ultimately do what they want. The only power I have is to call evil evil, and good, good. It takes some guts to do this, but I won’t be silent.

      • Sir,

        Excellent point. Morality has all but disappeared in not only western society, but around the world. It breaks my heart to see all the sinful things around me, and a future that pushes God further way terrifies me. I have three young sons whose future looks bleak.

        As one looks at the history of the United States, it is easy to see how the government has slowed moved closer to the left, and in the wake of this move, followers of Jesus have experienced more and more criticism, including violence.

        The one confort I cling to is knowing that once this mortal life ends there is much more to look forward to. Prayer and standing strong in our convictions are the best remedies in these trying times. God bless.


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