Updated: Oct 22
Last Saturday, the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hamas attacked Israel, actively targeting civilians. Along her northern border, Israel is squaring off against the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah as well. Israelis are fighting for their lives against an enemy that demands nothing less than the utter destruction of the Jewish homeland and her people. What is happening in the Middle East is a dangerous and rapidly developing situation that rightfully commands the attention of Chester County residents.
The Information Age makes global events hard to ignore, and it is tempting to draw too much contrast between the Middle East and our little corner of the world. However, the antisemitism at the root of the Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah attacks has been on full display in the United States as well.We shouldn’t ignore what happens in American cities or on our campuses, merely because it is different in scale from the murder of Jews in Israel. Chester County is a great place to live because the good things in life come together here in a providential way. In addition to a favorable climate and a geography well-suited to a robust economy, we have a diverse, energetic community, reflected in our enviable demographics. Our prosperity and happiness rest on the defense of our way of life and the antisemitism given vent last week has no place in civil society, especially not in Chester County.
A significant amount of digital ink has been spilled to remind Americans that civility is essential to Democracy. It is the context within which we explore ways to work together, discovering individual and community strengths that can be brought to bear solving problems. Speech and conduct designed to alienate and hurt others is destructive to these ends, self-defeating, and wrong. There is no place for antisemitism among a people intent on prospering and growing into a more just and civil society.
Hatred empowers self-serving demagogues like the leaders of Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah. Anger and frustration are frequently exploited by those who understand that the best way to control people is to separate us into little angry tribes. Thereby they undermine the amity, which is essential to the well-being of a community, substituting a utopian vision of the future, with themselves cast as magnanimous providers.
Antisemites are giving into racist impulses and allowing themselves to be propelled to action by those whose goals and purposes have never been oriented to the public good. All human beings, everywhere, are called to be better than this and it is on each community to state, in unequivocal terms, that they are composed of free people, who will decide for themselves what they believe, and who refuse to be directed into action by the power-hungry.
We should pray for peace and the prosperity and spare a prayer of thanksgiving that we live in a place where different races, nationalities, religions, and ideas can be openly expressed and celebrated. At the same time, we must acknowledge that this is not an accident and that our situation is one we can lose if we are not vigilant in defending the rights of others. As Benjamin Franklin noted at our nation’s founding, “we must all hang together, or most assuredly, we will all hang separately.” God Bless the USA, and may God continue to bless Chester County.
David Spaulding is the RCCC Press Secretary and an Area 13 Committeeman.