Published On: Sun, Oct 28th, 2018

Opinion: The Fabric of Our Civil Society is Being Pulled Apart by a Polarization of Political Views

By: Robert S Weinroth

Not since the Civil War has the United States been so polarized!

Families were torn apart as brother was turned against brother, state against state and the very existence of the United States of America was put into jeopardy. Today, we are seeing such polarization of political views that building consensus has been viewed as weakness. Embracing the ideas of “the other side” on an issue, no matter its logic or support, is viewed as political suicide.

The events of the last week should be seen as no less than the canary in the coal mine. Right now, that canary is  gasping for air!

Pipe bombs to our civic leaders, a massacre of innocents in a Pittsburgh synagogue. The fabric of our community is unraveling as political discourse dissolves into violent acts and death. Civil disagreements cannot be allowed to become the basis for hate and murder. We are a civil society! #PrayForPittsburgh

 

The following, posted by Temple Beth El of Boca Raton’s senior rabbi, Daniel Levin, says it so eloquently:

“Words. We grasp for words. What words can be found to express what has happened? What words can be found to express the meaning of what is happening? Words fail us.

In the beginning the Holy One fashioned a tool for the creation of the world. And that tool was words. ‘Baruch SheAmar V’Hayah HaOlam – Blessed is the One who spoke and the world came to be.’

Of all that God could have employed to bring the world into being, God chose words. And having formed and shaped our world, in the last act of Creation, the Holy One gave that tool to us. By giving us words, God made us holy, a little lower than the angels, a partner to complete the work of creation.

From the beginning we knew not what we were given. We first used language to come together to build a tower at Babel. Instead of using words to become all we could be as human beings, we sought instead to use words to try to overthrow the Holy One. And so God confounded our language, and scattered us over the face of the globe.

We speak so many different languages. And in each of those languages are different dialects. Language is how we express who we are, what we believe, what we feel and experience. All language is interpretation. Words express what we think we know and what we choose to believe.

Words carry the power of Creation. And the words we utter have the power to transform our world. Words can inspire and motivate. Words can hurt and denigrate. Words can unite hearts in love and understanding. Words can divide in hatred and fear.

Words can bring about death and destruction. Words can bring healing and peace.

We were given such a powerful tool – and we are so careless in how we use it.

 

We write and speak without thinking. We compose messages for immediate gratification without considering their long-term impact. We deal in calumny and half-truths, we channel conspiracy theories and cheap lies. We turn language into profanity, for we employ it solely for our selfish, gluttonous craving for power.

God used the power of words to create the world. And we are using the power of words to destroy it.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Just as every time we open our mouths we can choose what comes out, so can we decide, today, that we will use the holy power of words for good.

We can choose to stop using language that insults, demeans, and divides, and instead use language that elevates, uplifts, and heals.

We can choose to stop using language that hides and confuses and twists the truth, and instead use language that clarifies, that illuminates, and that is honest.

We can choose to stop using language that enrages and riles us to hatred, and instead use language that soothes and inspires us to love.

It is time. It is well past time. It is far past the time to be more humane in our language. It far past the time for us to be more humane.

Dear God, don’t let words fail us now. Put the words in our mouths and our hearts that we may do what we must to redeem our hate-filled and broken world. Give us the courage to say what You need us to hear. Give us the wisdom to know when we should say nothing at all.

May God shelter the souls of those slaughtered this Shabbat. May God comfort those who have been made to suffer from the hand of wickedness.

May God help us to find the words to repair the brokenness, and teach us how to speak a message of consolation. May God inspire us to compose the words of a new song – a song of love, of holiness, and peace.”

To paraphrase a prayer recited by Jews throughout the world every shabbat, “Let all who dwell on earth simply acknowledge the truth of truths: that we have not come into this world for the sake of quarreling and war, nor for the sake of hatred, jealousy, anger, or bloodshed; rather, we have come into this world only to know You—may You be blessed eternally! AMEN!”

 

About the Author

- Robert Weinroth is a 27 year resident of Boca Raton where he is an attorney, businessman, former member of the City Council (where he served for four years) and currently serves as an elected member of the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners. Commissioner Weinroth went to Boston’s Northeastern University where he earned a BSBA in Management. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor at New England School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the Supreme Court of the United States. Weinroth served as president and general counsel of Freedom Medical Services Inc, an accredited medical supply company in Boca Raton. FREEDOMED® represented the realization of an entrepreneurial dream. Weinroth, and his wife Pamela operated the company for 16 years, eventually selling the business in 2016. Weinroth takes great pride in his past work as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem for the 15th Judicial Circuit, advocating for the needs of abused and neglected children deemed dependent by the Court. After serving on multiple community boards and committees, Weinroth was elected to the Boca Raton City Council in 2014. During his tenure, he served as CRA Vice-chair and Deputy Mayor and was appointed to a number of county boards including the Boca Raton Airport Authority, the Palm Tran Service Board, the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency, the Treasure Coast Planning Council and was elected a board member of the Palm Beach County League of Cities. As a newly elected County Commissioner, Weinroth has been appointed Vice-Chair of the Solid Waste Authority, a board member of the PBC Transportation Planning Agency, and alternate representative on the Treasure Coast Planning Agency and several other county and regional boards. Robert, Pamela and their two dogs, Sierra and Siggy, are proud to call Boca Raton home.

Displaying 1 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Gary Bauer says:

    Not true. The polarization of this nation is caused by the haters who embolden the hater in Chief. Hate espoused by the leader of a nation that was once great because it had a heart has caused the worst of its citizens to be emboldened. The cause of the Civil strife has been created by a foul mixture of Darkness from certain confused individuals based on a false interpretation of religion and the false interpretation of human society as a closed one devoted to one ascendant race

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>