A few weeks ago, as the solemnity of the High Holidays was front and center in our consciousness, we prayed sincerely and devoutly for a good, successful, healthy and peaceful year. Now that period is in our rearview mirror. Or perhaps not. In about a week we will be having a very important election in our country. While we will not be approaching this day with the same spiritual solemnity as we did our recent Days of Awe, we should very seriously think about the present state of the country in which we live.
The leadership of our government, all belonging to the same political party, has significantly altered the course of our nation in just two years. We’ve gone from a steadily growing economy with a very low rate of price increases to a stagnating one in which prices have been accelerating at a rate unseen since the late 1970s. Whether shopping in a local supermarket or filling our cars with gas, the prices we pay now as contrasted with what we paid two years ago is jarring.
And although the war in Ukraine has added to this problem, the inflated prices we are all seeing began way before that. Because of an administration determined from the day it took over our government to crush the oil and gas industry by seriously restricting the use and development of fossil fuels due to fears about climate change (for which there is little evidence), fuel prices began to skyrocket. Truckers had to pay much higher prices for gas, which adversely affected many trucking companies, making it less profitable for them to do business; a shortage of vehicles to transport goods ensued. This resulted in a shortage of many products, even essentials like baby formula. Therefore, prices for many products besides energy shot up.
Over the past two years we have also seen our country allow virtually anyone from anywhere in the world to enter it, despite an ongoing pandemic and its serious consequences. So while an open-border policy was implemented, the citizens of our country were restricted by many government-imposed rules as to where we could go and under what conditions. Additionally, poisonous drugs being smuggled into the U.S., destroying the lives of many innocent legal citizens of our country. I will leave it to the judgment of the reader why this open-border policy was instituted. But it has caused much damage … and it continues.
Closer to home, incidents of antisemitism have sadly been increasing. This is at least in part due an overall increase in crime around the country. The policies of the party in power have largely removed disincentives to criminals, especially in large cities like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles, all cities replete with Jewish people. This is also because soft-on-crime district attorneys have been elected in these cities due to their being funded by George Soros, one of the main benefactors of the party in power.
What about our children? Many are being taught in school about subjects for mature audiences only. “Inappropriate” would be an understatement. Yet when parents complain, they are threatened by our government and labeled as extremists. Do we really want this to continue?
Nobody here is a fan of Vladimir Putin. He is an autocratic bully and has done his country and the world very little good. Yet, our government sees fit to antagonize him to a point where he has vaguely suggested use of a nuclear option. It would be the end of civilization as we’ve known it. Because of these implications, a few congressional Democrats recently wanted to pave a path towards peace in that war-torn area. Their reasonable idea was excoriated by most of their fellow Democrats in Congress and the White House, and they were forced to apologize for their noble suggestion. Nuclear war is no longer an abstractly frightening idea but an emerging possibility. Who would have thought?
All this adds up to a country whose stability, safety and morality have undergone a serious and ominous change in just two years. And these are only a few of the major ones. Time and space do not allow me to list nearly all of them.
Therefore, just like a few weeks ago when we had a chance to beseech Hashem for a good year and to help us make the changes to earn it, we have an opportunity next week to send a strong message that our country has been mismanaged and significantly hurt by policies implemented over the past two years. Next week is our chance to begin to turn our nation around and hopefully start heading in the direction most of us desire to help promote our success and prosperity. We need to seize this opportunity. It is Neilah time and there is much at stake, as there was a few weeks ago when we were davening for many of these same things.David Hes