I read the letter from Randi Berger in this week’s Indy regarding reactions to political propaganda distribution at the Laguna Beach Hospitality Night on Dec. 3. I do not know Berger. She may indeed have a strong affinity for pet rescue, and as a 40-year serial adoptive parent of Golden Retrievers I wish her well in this endeavor.
That said, hiding human hatred behind animal love is hypocritical at best, and sad and upsetting at worst. While our First Amendment guarantees everyone the right to believe and broadcast support for those who embrace hated and divisiveness, it is shameful that such people pretend to espouse “unity” and “love for all” while championing those whose beliefs and actions are clearly the opposite.
Of course, those who actually embrace human kindness have an equal right to state their case. As a lifelong Conservative Jew, I found it disgraceful to see Berger’s Trump regalia spread out at a non-political community event, intermingled with Jewish symbols. The photo below shows a collection of MAGA toys, alongside Israeli flags, Jewish Stars of David, and hats that spell “trump” in poorly transliterated Hebrew (in case some Indy readers are not fluent in that ancient language…)
This display was especially galling to many of us because the lies and hatred spread by Trump/GOP cultists are diametrically opposed to the teachings of Judaism. These teachings form the core of Jewish morality and ethics: caring for one’s fellow human beings, welcoming the stranger and foreigner among us, and most importantly “Tikkun Olam,” which in Hebrew literally means “repairing the world.”
I speak only for myself and my extended family, but it would have been a much better message to see those red hats carrying a message of Tikkun Olam, rather than displaying the divisiveness and disunity that Trump regalia symbolizes at a community, non-partisan event. It also would have been considerably more civilized to avoid displaying a banner with a blatant skull and crossbones symbol and a caption that reads “The Second Amendment is our nation’s original homeland security.” We all know that dog whistle!
Berger is entitled to her opinion, but she should not hide behind a message of pet love while promoting symbols of hate. And she might do well to read up on the Biblical and Talmudic teachings of Judaism.
Michael Schneider, Laguna BeachView Our User Comment Policy