As we head into the long July 4th weekend, my thoughts go back to a reflection I shared a few weeks ago. I wrote about the connection between Passover and Shavuot – the idea that our personal freedoms and our social order, the contract we have with each other, are bound together as values in a relationship that enables us to build a vibrant and free society.
It bears repeating that in so many ways right now, we seem to be forgetting this interconnected aspect of our freedom. We’ve been told by candidates that the solutions to our problems will be found in the demonization of some ‘other,’ whether close by or across an ocean. We’ve allowed a politics of fear to divide us.
It bears repeating that a vigorous animosity has ruptured our civic discourse, our capacity to reason with one another and find common ground to create solutions to the challenges our society faces. It is no surprise that a new Pew Research Center report out last week shows partisanship and political animosity at record highs in this country. Fully 55% of Democrats and 49% of Republicans say that the other party makes them feel afraid. We see each other as close-minded, dishonest, immoral and unintelligent.
So how are we supposed to come together?
It is in this climate that we at JCRC and many of our partners in Boston’s interfaith community – Jewish, Muslim and Christian – are coming together this Independence Day weekend. As we celebrate our personal freedom and our nation’s freedom, we also choose to renew our commitment to the common good and celebrate the Interdependence that enables us to build a vibrant and free society.
For the past two weeks and through the holiday weekend – on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – we’re coming together to reject the dangerous public rhetoric that is tearing our nation apart. We are, again, expressing our belief in the American hope and promise of our national motto, adopted in 1782: E Pluribus Unum. Out of Many, One.
It has been a privilege and an honor over the past several years to partner with congregations and religious leaders to advance the common good in our Commonwealth. We at JCRC are proud to stand together again now and articulate the values that bind us to each other.
Together we are pledging respect for each other, to stop the hate and to love more; we are pledging our allegiance, to civility in public discourse and to constructive debates on matters of grave consequence; and, we are pledging to genuinely embrace pluralism and respect for the other, including those across any political aisles.
I invite you to join us this weekend as we celebrate our Independence to also join together to #DeclareInterdependence. Speak out publicly on your own social media channels. Retweet our posts from now until Monday. Like and share the Facebook updates from us and our partners. Tell your friends and the world that you are part of a community that works together to surpass our basest tribal instincts in order to stand together in a challenging world.
This is the way forward. We are in this together.
Shabbat Shalom and Happy 4th of July,