Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Why It's Politically Smart To Vote For Erick Salgado!

Why It's Politically Smart To Vote For Erick Salgado
"Respected" members of our communities have impressed upon us the importance of maintaining a relationship with elected officials.  From the perspective of the administrator of a charity organization or its supporters, a stable relationship with the political establishment can be the key to successful advocacy.  However, from a community perspective, a philosophy of electing candidates based upon maintaining the relationships with our community spokesman is selling our community needs for pennies on the dollar.

The sad fact that most Jews don’t realize is that while a close personal relationship between askanim and politicians are often useful in securing “earmark” grants (otherwise known as “pork” to the secular world) for a few institutions.  On the most important issues of our time the rest of the community doesn’t benefit from the “close relationship” at all.  In fact, the continued support from askanim gives these politicians a sense of entitlement and being insulated and protected in their continued opposition to things that really would help yeshiva families, like enacting tax credits for tuition dollars (which do not violated the Blaine Amendment prohibiting government money to support private schools).

If we simply vote for a politician because he’s going to win anyway, then he’s not going to listen us, because he knows we’re going to vote for him anyway.  Why should a politician (who's main goal is to get reelected and/or advance to a higher office) make any sacrifices or risk crossing powerful anti-Torah social movements or unions, if he knows we’re going to vote for him simply because “he’s going to win anyway, or is slightly less evil than his opponent?”.

The lifeblood of a vibrant democracy depends upon the fact that the elected officials are held accountable to the public for re-election.  A politician who does not fear that he will be voted of office by his constituents will feel virtually no responsibility to respond to their needs and desires. 

Until now, our adversaries have demonstrated far more commitment to holding their elected officials accountable for supporting their ideologies that are counter to ours.  Our adversaries have demonstrated time and time again that they are willing to vote a politician out of office if he doesn’t support their agenda.  As a result, when an elected official for our communities is put under pressure to bow to their  anti-Torah measures, it takes virtually no time for him to weigh the threat of punishment from our adversaries against the promise of support that he’s received from our communities to choose the bad measure. 

The Jewish community has shown an ability to rise to the occasion to rally and prostest when things become urgent concerns (like Eretz Yisroel, or when Bloomberg wanted to get rid of the child care vouchers).  But the most important time to act should not be when the evil decrees are proposed.  We need to make our voices heard before then, at election time, to make sure our elected representatives know we mean business. A protest can only have value if the elected officials know that we are prepared to carry through on election day.

Now is the time to make our voices heard.  It’s not really Thompson, Quinn or DeBlasio that needs to hear our voices.  Whichever one who wins is not going to come back to ask our opinion once they’ve won office.  Mayor Bloomberg held a meeting with Rabbonim and askonim regarding metzizah b’peh when he was running for office.  But he had no problem reverseing course when he no longer needed something from us, he promised us the vouchers before his election and revoked them after he got our votes and was reelected.

The main act of speech is directed for the future candidates.  Elections happen every year.   Overreliance on the philosophy of choosing the “lesser of two evils” based on who is likely to win has led us to the situation where the lesser evil keeps getting more evil every election cycle.

Remember 20 years ago Christine Quinn wouldn't have even been able to run for mayor.

Every single one of the candidates except Erick Salgado has demonstrated that they lack the fortitude to stand against the political wind and defend our interests – our values, our pocketbooks and our safety – while the political trend is to do the opposite.

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