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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 25, 2004 / 10 Mar-Cheshvan, 5765

In praise of inertia

By Jonathan Tobin


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Despite election hysteria, remember the real American revolution of 1800



http://www.jewishworldreview.com | With about a week to go before the Nov. 2 presidential election, the one thought that seems to unite many Republicans and Democrats is relief at the prospect that this nasty contest will soon be over.


The 2004 election will surely go down in history as one of the most bitterly fought in our country's history.


I'm enough of a student of history to know that other elections have been dirty. For example, the matchup in 1800 between Federalist John Adams, and his once and future friend — Republican Thomas Jefferson — was pretty awful; it featured false accusations that Adams was a monarchist, and smears that Jefferson had fathered children by one of his slaves. (Two centuries later, we've discovered that accusation was probably true.)


But of all the presidential races of my adult life, this one appears to be the most divisive, with the most apocalyptic rhetoric from both major parties. Why has this happened?

Maniacal extremes
On the one hand, most Democrats think the last election was stolen from them, and that the winner has launched an illegitimate war in the depths of the Middle East. On the other, many Republicans have come to view the all-out demonization of the president by the anti-war left as libelous, if not disloyal, during wartime as America struggles against Islamist foes.


These issues have poisoned the debate in a way that has reduced many otherwise sane and sober citizens to ranting nincompoops prepared to wildly accuse their opponents of everything from treason to grand larceny.


Democrats talk of President Bush as an idiot or a war-mongering tool of corporate interests who is about to turn America into a right-wing religious dictatorship.


Republicans speak of Sen. John Kerry as a leftist appeaser who would sell out U.S. security to a corrupt United Nations.


Those campaigning in the Jewish community have taken the debate over support for Israel and church-state separation to similar extremes.

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Some Democrats claim Bush will sell out Israel in his second term, and that Jewish rights will vanish in a Philip Roth-like right-wing religious dictatorship. At the same time, some Republicans claim Kerry will sell out Israel in his first term in order to curry favor with the anti-Semitic French.


It's gotten so crazy that in reading the volumes of orchestrated e-mail from radical supporters of both sides, you can often forget that there are serious choices to be made on Nov. 2.


For example, on Israel, Kerry's election will probably mean Washington will revert to the policies carried out in the Clinton administration to try and push through a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, while Bush will probably maintain the hands-off approach that has given Israel a green light to pursue its own vision of disengagement.


Bush and Kerry also have different ideas about whether or not faith-based charities would be funded by the government, as well as on other church-state issues.

The republic will survive
But for all of this, it may be worthwhile to take into consideration the fact that no matter who wins on Nov. 2, the republic as we know it will survive. Even if Kerry tries to imitate Clinton in the Middle East, the prospect of seeing Yasser Arafat returning to his familiar stamping grounds in the White House are virtually nil. A President Kerry may have sour relations with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, but he will be hard-pressed to rehabilitate the Palestinians. And despite his Europhile tendencies, a looming conflict with Iran may ultimately leave Kerry as disillusioned with his erstwhile pals in Paris, as Bush has been.


On Israel, Bush is no more likely to sell out Israel in his second term than he was in his first, which was won without much Jewish support. His convictions on this issue seem firm. And despite the alarmist talk coming from Democrats, four years of Republican control of the White House and Congress have not led to the repeal of the Bill of Rights — or even led to progress for Bush's faith-based charity initiative.


The point is, the genius of the American constitution is the inertia it creates. The obstacles our system of checks and balances places in the way of radical change are frustrating at times, but in tandem with the basic moderation of the American electorate, they also serve as roadblocks to extremism.


Which brings me back to Adams and Jefferson. The 1800 election bore little resemblance to anything remotely like a modern American election. Few direct votes for president were cast anywhere and after all, African-Americans and women couldn't vote, and in most states, neither could men who didn't own property. But it deserves to be remembered for reasons that have nothing to do with Sally Hemmings or Adams' predilection for suppressing dissent.

The test of democracy
Why? Because, the spirit of '76 notwithstanding, 1800 was the real American revolution. That's because it was the first time in American history that a peaceful handover of political power was accomplished.


When Jefferson won, the incumbent Federalists left Washington. They did appoint as many judges as they could in their waning days of power. But when his term ended, John and Abigail Adams packed up their duds and their accumulated grievances, and went home to Massachusetts.


Those who have followed the course of democracy elsewhere in the world know this is no small thing. Though they have been independent almost as long as their counterparts in North America, most of the republics of Latin and South America are still finding it difficult to maintain democracy. And throughout Africa and Asia in the postcolonialist period, the rule has generally been one man, one vote, one time.


So, when the results are hopefully finalized in the wee hours of Nov. 3, it's important that we honor the outcome, even if we're sore about it. Attempts to delegitimize the results in advance through wild and premature charges of fraud do nothing to preserve our freedom. Nor do we advance the cause of democracy when partisans feel free to say anything and everything about their foes in the last weeks of campaigning just because they can.


No election victory is worth compromising the integrity of the American system. That is the lesson of John Adams, who, disgruntled though he was, simply handed over the reins of power and gracefully accepted his foe's triumph.


That is a lesson this year's loser should emulate, whether his name is Bush or Kerry. It is even more important that their supporters prepare to do the same.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

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© 2004, Jonathan Tobin