The Good, the Bad and the “Deplorables”
By Gail Weiss
On Sunday, November 20th, more than 30 Jewish Republicans, most of whom had never met each other before, gathered in a Rockville restaurant to celebrate Trump’s victory over Hillary. We were all fervently hoping that he would indeed make America great again, but we also were reveling in finding a group of like-minded people where our political comments did not have to be filtered with each other.
It was great to be able to breathe again!
The attendees were men and women, (Yes, Virginia, there are Republican Jewish women !) retirees and those with young children in tow, from all around Montgomery County – Wheaton, Potomac, Gaithersburg and Bethesda, and places in between. One young man, who stopped in at the kosher restaurant after his shift at a neighboring store, saw some Trump stickers displayed, introduced himself and asked to be kept informed of future gatherings. Even though he evidently was, and described himself as being disabled, he was also proud to be a Jewish Deplorable.
The idea for organizing this group of Jewish conservative voters came from meeting several women while I worked to support passage of the non-partisan Term Limits ballot question. (In case you hadn’t heard, it passed with nearly 70% approval. Yes, we’re pretty happy about that. )
It appeared that the non-partisan status of Term Limits gave people from across the political spectrum license to support this initiative, including staunch Democrats, one of whom told me on Election Day, when I was handing out Term Limits flyers at his polling place, “12 years is more than enough!”
Since people who had never been involved in, or even paid much attention to local politics before, enthusiastically contacted the MoCoTermLimits website to request yard signs. a number of my conversations led to the discovery that yes, both they and I are Jewish Republicans in Montgomery County.
This gathering was pulled together with just five days’ notice, and attracted Jews from across the religious observance spectrum, from “what’s a brucha?” to Orthodox. A kosher restaurant that had the largest semi-private area I could find was reserved. But the gathering quickly exceeded our allotment of seats which happily suggests that there is a strong desire for many more Jewish conservatives in Montgomery County to come out of the political shadows.
We are sick and tired of feeling like we have to live a double life within our places of worship, or when talking with neighbors, or in the workplace or even within our own families. Those of us who are Jewish with conservative, or even moderate political views, are starved to be able to finally have a community where we can freely speak our political opinions without having to defend our sanity or our intelligence or our patriotism.
This group is so new we don’t even have a name yet; figuring that out is the first item on the agenda. Some people might utilize the group as a social network to do social activities with other politically conservative Jewish people. That would be such a wonderfully different experience from the norm of having to bite our tongues and measure our words in the liberal-centric microcosm we live in !
Hopefully some others will use the group for social advocacy efforts for everything from issues important to Jewish conservatives such as fighting against the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement against Israel, to fundamentally American non-partisan issues such as free speech, which Jewish political conservatives in Montgomery County have to fight to retain the right to every day.
Growing up in Bethesda, I remember my mother telling me that certain developments in Potomac with the big white walls at their entrance, as well as sections of Chevy Chase along Connecticut Avenue, were “Restricted,” meaning Blacks, Jews and Catholics were not welcome to live there. But that was a very long time ago, ancient history, or so I thought.
In more recent times I have felt that I wasn’t welcome in Montgomery County because of what I thought, as a conservative. Now I fear that I am in fact unwelcome in Montgomery County for what I am – a Jewish American.
Hillary made a big splash by calling Trump supporters “deplorables.” I’m not sure what actions trump the deplorable actions of saying, “We love diversity, as long as you’re not a Republican – or Jewish.”
If you are both Jewish and politically conservative, or if you know anyone who is, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to join our brand new and fast-growing group of Jewish political conservatives. This group is coming together so that Jewish voters who are not in lock step with the political left can still be part of the fabric of the community in Montgomery County.
Here is where you can freely speak your political mind. Repeatedly I’ve seen that Republicans are more democratic than Democrats are, and this group is a demonstration of that. From non-observant to Kosher and from Trump supporter to non-leftist, or even conservative-curious, all are welcome!