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Idol Chatter

This election process has been a vicious one: but you don’t have to be a racist, a sexist, or have a backwards “B” carved into your face to know that however it turns out when all the votes are counted, there are going to be some angry Americans.
Personally and professionally, as a blogger, I’ve refrained from declaring any political preference or affiliations in this election (although I suspect readers know my true leanings). And I have not come to fisticuffs with anyone, Republican or Democrat or even other, over this race.
But in many families (and in some marriages, no doubt), there are members who have vastly and vocally different political inclinations. For instance, in the Christian Science Monitor, there’s this article by self-proclaimed Democrat Susan Johnston, whose brother has been involved in the McCain campaign. She’s proud of him and what she’s accomplished, but is uneasy about coming to see it for herself, and whether that is a de facto nod of approval toward a position that she finds not to her taste.

I wondered: Where’s the line between supporting him and supporting his party? If he ever ran for office, would I put my political views aside and hop on his campaign bus? Can you really love and support someone without fully understanding that side of them?
When it comes down to it, Democrat or Republican or Independent, he’s my brother and I’m proud of the person he’s become. Beneath his navy-blue blazer with a gold McCain pin at the lapel, I see the little brother who costarred in my home movies and comforts me at funerals. He’s the kind of guy who is never too busy to answer my phone calls and who always follows his conscience.

For Johnston, relationship trumps politics, with an “agree to disagree” approach that may make family reunions a little easier. And this healing process that begins for families also may see an echo process in faith communities: in Los Angeles, an organization called LimmudLA — which provides Jewish learning opportunities for the entire range of denominational observances — announced a plan for a “Healing Havdalah” service the Saturday night after the election. The term “havdalah,” meaning separation, is a ceremony that ends the Sabbath by separating between the designated day of rest and the return to the rest of the week. This service is designed with healing in mind and accompanied by the tagline: “We are Democrats. We are Republicans. But we are all Jews.”

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