Time to unite our country

The election of 2004 is over and George W. Bush won, fair and square. We congratulate the president on his victory, and we wish him well in his second term.

Certainly, his job won’t get any easier. The challenges facing America today are daunting, and much of the president’s foreign and domestic agenda will have a direct impact on the Jewish community.

Despite a yeoman effort to woo Jewish voters, Bush won 24 percent of the Jewish vote nationally, up only slightly from 2000. Here in California, he won less: 19 percent.

This suggests that for most American Jews, doubts linger about the administration.

So to help Bush strengthen his connection to the Jewish community, we offer a few suggestions and observations:

First, we are confident the president will maintain his long-standing commitment to Israel. As Yasser Arafat exits the world stage, we hope Bush will dedicate himself to finding a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The time has come.

In Iraq, we hope the president will neutralize the insurgency, stabilize the country and help that battered nation regain its footing. Many have criticized the administration’s handling of the war, but what matters now is steering events toward a positive outcome. The president surely wants that, and will work hard for it.

In this country, we hope compassionate conservatism is more than a campaign slogan. The president must show more concern for the poor, the unemployed and the elderly. If he shores up Social Security, reduces the deficit, protects the environment and oversees a job-creating economy, he will go a long way toward that goal.

We remain concerned that Bush is so closely allied politically with evangelical Christians. As we see it, their efforts to blur the line between church and state, and to legislate their own version of morality, is not in the best interests of Jews. While it is a good thing that Bush is guided by religious principles, we hope he remembers he is president of all the people, Christian and non-Christian alike.

To Jews who voted for Sen. John Kerry, we hope that once the sting of disappointment passes, you will rally behind Bush. He has a big job to do, and as divided as this country has been, we must find a pathway to unity.

The frenzy of the campaign is behind us. The bunting has gone back in the trunk, and the stump speeches are over. Let us hope that the government and the people it serves can now work together to make a more just society. This is all we as Jews and as Americans have ever wanted.


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