I recall watching Obama’s stump speech late one Saturday night after he had swept the Potomac primaries. After 30 minutes or so, I was beginning to believe him. I was, to put it simply, inspired. But, as he continued to speak, I understood why I could never vote for this man. I still do not know anything about him.
For the past few months I have been running a political campaign for a state race. I have been able to see and hear more than one presidential candidate along the way. I noticed, after conversing with different demographics, that young Jewish voters were the most out of touch and misinformed.
Why is Paris Hilton famous? She fulfills two main criteria for a movie star: good looks and the media spotlight. Therefore it would make sense to put in her the movies, wouldn’t it? No, not at all.
So why do so many young Jews love Obama? Ask any of his followers and they will give you the same answers. “He is new.” “We need a change.” “Anything but Bush.” “End the war.” Etcetera, etcetera. I am ashamed and frankly worried that so many young Jews are infatuated with this man. Why is Obama the “best” option? Maybe he fulfills the two criteria for a great politician: an amazing ability to speak and the media spotlight. But what is missing, as for the infamous Paris, is why that makes him the best candidate.
Obama began his political grab for the most powerful position on earth in 2004 during the Democratic convention, when he wooed the masses, and the minority vote, to stump for the Democratic Party. I do not think his young followers know that, nor the old. He used that forum to springboard into the Illinois senate seat. Did we hear anything of his time serving as senator? Did Obama author or pass legislation? Did he vote for most bills presented to him? Do most of the young voters who love him know or care? The truth is, he didn’t even have time to make an impact; he was too busy preparing for his presidential bid.
I am not telling people not to vote for him. I am asking young Jews to do the most Jewish of things: Ask questions. I want a president who will finally make a positive difference like anyone else, but I am afraid of what can come of someone who has absolutely no track record. Realizing that the president always has a leather briefcase containing a button to activate nuclear weapons, it is important to know more about whoever holds it.
There are many problems a young Jew should have with Obama. For one, he says he wants to repair our image in the Muslim world. Shouldn’t they be repairing their image? What do the majority of Israel- and America-haters across the Muslim world have in common? They have never met a Jew and want us dead. Yet many young Jewish voters want a president who will appease their interests. We are taught to be competitive, get into good schools and get great jobs, yet why are we ashamed of our country that is just as competitive? Striving to be the best has made our lives in this country great. I do not know why we would be ashamed of it.
If you were a football coach and a kid came out of nowhere and told you to put him in as the quarterback, would you listen? What if it was for the Super Bowl? Chances are no. But it is the same with Obama. He comes out of nowhere and tells us all his ideas and hopes, but there is no true way of knowing what he can or will do. Too many times in history, people — especially young Jews — have gotten onto the bandwagon because it was different and the times needed “a-changing.” The lessons are still felt today. It is a matter of education. I would never make a decision without studying the facts. I know what the other candidates can and will try to do, but I do not know what to expect from Obama. When it comes to the most powerful position on earth, it is sad to say that young Jews are voting for one person because he seems, like Paris Hilton, “hot.”
Too many young Jews are busy watching their TiVo-ed shows or worrying about where they are going out that night. All I ask is that you get informed and get involved. I do not think we all understand the impact of this election. Young and old, make sure to ask questions, because if not, the consequences could be dire. Get informed and vote wisely.