Fired Up, Ready to Go
On Friday afternoon just before saying the blessing over the wine along with my congregation (virtual service) Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. I didn't know it then but reflected on her passing the next morning in our Rosh Hashanah service. There are many interpretations of a death just before the New Year. One is that G-d makes that decision in the "old year" so as not to start the new year in a bad way. The other is that great people are called "home" at important holidays to maximize their entry into the world of other saintly souls.
I know that many of you felt great despair at her passing. We were sad because we lost a person who had done so much for the equality of both men and women. Equal, my friends means...equal. And then, before the nation could begin mourning the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said a vote would happen on her Supreme Court replacement before the election.
Sadness gave way to anger. Mourning gave way to mobilization. Over the weekend money has poured into the campaigns of Democrats. In the hour after her death Act Blue (a fund raising tool of the Democrats) raised $6.2 million...in one hour. From the time of her death until yesterday afternoon USA Today is reporting the Democrats raised an astonishing $57 million. Helping fuel the donations was more than $13 million — and counting – raised by through "Get Mitch or Die Trying." Led by a group of former President Barack Obama aides is raising money for 13 Democratic Senate candidates in battleground races. And, yes, people have been sending money to Amy McGrath the person who will take on McConnell in November. Feel free to follow that link and join me in that effort.
There is no end the the hypocrisy of the Republicains. While some in the senate have questioned a vote before November those are early words and they will fall in line behind the president and McConnell...you know it in your heart.
The Town Hall Meetings
Both the president and former Vice President Joe Biden held town hall meetings and took questions from the audience. I watched both. The president was combative and defensive and lied. Meanwhile Joe Biden showed emotion, gave thoughtful answers and stayed on message. That some people still support "45" is astounding. He does not have the intellect nor the character to be president. But, maybe "birds of a feather" might be in play?
The attacks on voting by mail continue without a shred of evidence the GOP continues to lie about the process and it is having an impact but, perhaps, not the one intended. Democrats, Independents and serious members of the Republican Party that do not want another four years of division and hate are busy requesting ballots. Here in the county where I live over 45% of the Democrats have already requested ballots. That, at this time, is an unheard of number. Meanwhile in their effort to suppress the vote indications are that supporters of "45" are not requesting ballots. They say they want to vote in person...or maybe, as the president suggested to them, they want to vote twice. Weary....
Last week I was invited by a long time friend who lives in Fort Dodge, Iowa the opportunity to attend a virtual meeting with Charles Clayton who is running for the Iowa House, District 9, in Webster County. I was a resident there for some time and, no doubt, at some point met Mr. Clayton so I was interested in his story and his campaign. Democrats lost that seat in 2018 by just 3 points this year we've got a real chance of taking it back. Charles is a lifelong resident there and has committed his life to helping others. Well known in his community he's got a real chance of flipping the seat. I hope to interview Mr. Clayton and be able to share his story with the world...because it is...powerful. If you are so moved and you believe in equal meaning equal here is his website. Join me with your support.
There are ten days between Rosh Hashanah (NewYear) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). It's a time of introspection and working on yourself to resolve errors of the past year. There are no champagne corks popping, no balls dropping from Time Square... There is only the work of making sure wrongs are corrected that there is no slander on your tongue and prayer that you may be written into the Book of Life for yet another year. It's a big deal. It is also the day for remembering and listening to the sound of the shofar...to wake us from our "slumber".
This year is so different than anything I've ever been a party to. Much of the reason this nation and this state is struggling is because of failed leadership. You and I have it in our power to change that but it's going to take energy and resolve. Just as it is not easy to admit our errors of faith...it is also not an easy task to mount a righteous battle of decency and moral courage.
Let's get at it like everything matters...because it does.
Finally I was pleased to have been asked to a virtual visit with Doug Emhoff the husband of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) this past Friday afternoon. It was a pre-Rosh Hashanah message and while there was some serious political talk Doug also spoke about his fond memories of the holiday with his parents and grandparents. It was both funny and reflective. Funny from the standpoint of him remembering the furniture, covered with plastic, in his grandparents apartment in New York. About his grandmother, Ann, breaking out the fine china and wine glasses and fixing a brisket for the holiday. About getting dressed up and going to the synagogue as a family.
It was also a reflective time as he spoke to the loss of his family members and how strange and different this New Year is for so many. He also spoke of the thousands of people who have died due to the pandemic not only here but around the world. "We really are in a battle for the soul of this nation..." Yes, sir...we are.
Have a wonderful Sunday, Happy New Year and thanks for reading.