I offered a relative a ride last week to and from Methodist Hospital in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, N.Y. I had the choice to wait in the area or drive home and head almost immediately back. I chose to drive home.
In another era, I would have gladly stayed in Park Slope—a hip Brooklyn enclave of picturesque brownstones, quaint bookshops and organic-food markets. Over the years, I was happy to browse in Barnes & Noble, step into Starbucks or wander around Prospect Park. No longer.
I have now reached my threshold for overlooking the political and cultural drawbacks of a neighborhood in favor of its amenities. In fact, those amenities have now become anathema to me. Like much of New York City, Park Slope and its environs are awash in progressive dogma. This past election, 94.5 percent of the greater neighborhood voted for Biden. Several years ago, the BDS debate raged in the form of boycotting Israeli products at its iconic Park Slope Food Coop.
Not far from Methodist Hospital, the Park Slope Jewish Center, a Conservative synagogue, displays a huge sign picturing a tallit, inscribed with “Black Lives Matter.” A strange sanctification of a movement some of whose Marxist leaders denounce the “Western-prescribed nuclear family structure.” In the summer, BLM signs adorned the windows of its townhouses, to be replaced by Biden/Harris signs in the months leading up to the election. During the violent race riots, its City Council Member Brad Lander blasted America’s “structural racism” and admitted that it made him feel “implicated in white supremacy.”
All this has sucked the joy out of walking the area’s streets, recognizing the need to disassociate the area from its inhabitants. Somehow, I lost my appetite for attempting to “live and let live” in a neighborhood that has morphed into an Orwellian version of that same mantra that has long defined it.
It is no longer feasible to agree to disagree. The differences that divide the right and left in America have grown exponentially as the left shifts more and more to the extreme left. And extreme left opinions are springboards for increasingly threatening policies.
Park Slope is not a stand-alone urban metropolis of left-wing progressives. It is emblematic of big cities across America. Democrats have voted in leaders who have transformed their progressive agendas into facts on the ground. And suddenly my neighbor’s politics have come into my own backyard.
Ideology translates into policy and policy has consequences. Misplaced compassion in New York City’s political arena has transformed so-called criminal justice reform into a 97 percent increase in shootings and a 45 percent jump in murders.
Hammering away at “systemic racism” has resulted in violent riots and defunding the police. Together with the failed policies of homeless advocates, the factors that determine my quality of life have been taken out of my realm. I no longer feel safe walking the streets or taking public transportation.
Progressives dream of wealth redistribution in the form of higher taxes and expanded regulation. And with Democratic control of the presidency and both houses of Congress, those dreams can come true. Democrats are salivating at the chance to undo Trump’s wildly successful economic policies. In other words, my wallet will shrink.
The proliferation of affirmative action practically guarantees that my sons, as white males, will have diminished opportunities for graduate schools, should they decide to attend. And if they do, they will have to contend with PC claptrap in the classroom from professors who monitor ideas with the best of thought police and punish diverging ones accordingly.
They will have to fend off accusations of “privilege” leveled against them, aided by racially divisive falsehoods taught in schools, such as the “1619 Project” or California’s proposed statewide mandatory Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum—an anti-Zionist, anti-white syllabus that faults Jews for their “conditional whiteness” and “racial privilege.”
Social mores are drifting further and further away from biblical injunctions, seeping into and corrupting my religious domain—affecting schools, institutions, housing, places of employment. All under the guise of discrimination laws. And anyone who dissents is labeled a bigot. So much so that protecting our religious freedoms in the face of irreligious ones has to go all the way to the Supreme Court to seek redress.
With the possible exception of religion, there is nothing as personal or as intense as one’s political beliefs. They define a person’s essence. And as political divisiveness grows in tandem with the disparity between America’s two parties, political identity takes on much more than a worldview.
Full disclosure: Back in 1993, I voted for Bill Clinton to protest then-President George H.W. Bush’s anti-Israel stance. A quarter-century ago there wasn’t enough daylight between Democrats and Republicans to proscribe such an option. For someone who loves both Israel and this country, such a vote today would be unthinkable.
Against the backdrop of acute discord, the theme of President Biden’s inauguration was “America United.” In his inaugural address, Biden said: “We must end this uncivil war, that pits red against blue, rural against urban, conservative against liberal.” This, as Democrats maliciously work to “deprogram” the voices of 74 million Americans through Big Tech, the media, corporations, schools and universities, social media, etc. And as Democratic leaders enact highly controversial and spiteful impeachment proceedings against a departed president.
The new leader of the free world, who was allegedly complicit in hiding his family’s dubious connections with enemy countries, is not up to the task of unifier. And though the country desperately needs bipartisan rapport to pass legislation for the good of Americans, Republican officials should be wary of succumbing to Biden’s pleas. No compromise is worth sacrificing conscience. And no cooperation should come at the expense of the values they were elected to promote. If there is harmony to be achieved, it should be within the ranks of Republicans themselves so that they can better fend off the threats from the left.
As for me, I am not in the mood for unity with those whose political beliefs are aimed at swallowing up my own. I know a threat when I see one.
Sara Lehmann is a New York columnist and interviewer for Hamodia. For more of her writing, visit saralehmann.com.