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Liberal Bashing at the shabbos table

I was recently off in the central time zone for a weekend somewhere and when it came to light that I was living in Northern California, the conversation turned to bashing liberals. I haven’t been at a meal where the conversation was liberal bashing for sometime, in my Rochester days, pretty much every meal was devoted to liberal bashing for no other reason than “they are wrong and immoral” and “we are right and moral” or something along those lines.

For the record, I am far from liberal, but anyone who only hangs around frum right wingers would probably call me such – so I won;t start explaining all of my uninformed ideals now. I do, however, dislike people who only look at one side of the story as is frequent with both sides of the extreme. Last thanksgiving I got into a whole argument with my father and his father in law about looking at the other side. My argument was that you can’t just go on listening to people you agree with, watching right wing TV and reading right wing books if you are ever to have a truly informed opinion. Their argument back was that they would never look at something they didn’t agree with and I think many folks are like this.

I tried to explain to my hosts that northern California, while being quite liberal, is not as noticeably liberal as they think. Sure, if you go to the Castro you will see some pretty extreme stuff, but if you’re just wandering around, northern California isn’t necessarily anymore liberal than New York City which is quite liberal – unless you live in one of the Jewish ghettos.

No matter how extreme political the shabbos table may be, frum folks in northern California simply don’t discuss politics at the shabbos table. I should commend the Bay Area for that, I have not once been at a table where there was conservative or liberal bashing, while every time I go to New York that’s what ends up happening and since everyone usually agrees to hate on the libs, there is only one side being discussed. I don’t think shabbos is for politics, which is funny, because I used to think that’s what shabbos was for – you get together with your friends – drink booze eat hearty food and discuss how stupid the liberals are and how they are taking society into the fiery depths of hell. Although it does get interesting when there is a frum liberal, quite a rare thing, sitting at a shabbos meal – frum liberals are a unique breed and if you find one send them my way (I’m not talking modern orthodox here)

My favorite thing is when people say really stupid uninformed things about San Francisco because they heard it on Micheal Savage, now I love Savage, but he is living here for a reason – as do most – the San Francisco area despite being so left wing is probably the most beautiful place to live in the country and the homeless people don;t stick you with needles when you’re walking down the street. Just steer clear of the Tenderloin and Bayview and you should be cool.

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  • talking stam

    Totally agree that people only like to hear opinions that they already have. That is true for both right wingers and liberals and everyone in-between.
    As far as Frum Liberal, how do you define liberal?

  • Wolfman

    “they would never look at something they didnt agree with”

    How do they know they agree with ‘something’ until they look at it?

    How do they determine the ‘something’s that they agree with?

  • Anonymous

    I hate when people call themselves “conservative” but are then on every government program in the books, which I find a lot when talking to jews. They really mean they are “socially conservative” and “fiscally liberal”, they aren’t really fully conservative. I on the other hand am a libertarian, meaning I am socially liberal (anyone can do whatever they want socially as long as they don’t bother other people, meaning pro gay rights (even letting two brothers marry each other – why not, they are consenting adults and the whole argument to ban incest doesn’t work with a homesexual couple.), pro legalization of drugs to a certain extent, etc) and fiscally conservative (people should work, earn a living and contribute to the economy, and not live off the government [i.e. taxes of people who work and contribute to the economy]). Obviously taken to the extreme it doesn’t work, the same way any polical philosophy doens’t work when it is taken to the extreme (yes, even capitalism won’t work taken to the extreme) so people have to be flexible, but the problem with religion us that it doesn’t allow flexibile so people who are socially conservative because of religion are hardcode and not flexible and don’t realize that it doesn’t work like that.

    • Let’s be friends!

      I’ve written about that phenomenon before, by the way – the “I-vote-Republican-and-say-I-hate-big-government-but-collect-food-stamps-and-Section-8-and-TANF-and-God-knows-what-else” phenomenon.

  • Moi

    1) People who define themselves by the supposed shortcomings of others are usually just projecting.

    2) I find it quite ironic that Orthodox Jewish “conservatives” tend to live in mostly liberal bastions like LA, NY, Miami, and Baltimore, along with their favorite radio hosts. I tend to judge people by what they do, not by what they say, and choosing to live in a place you claim to despise is telling.

    3) The reason many Orthodox Jewish “conservatives” live in liberal strongholds, is precisely because of its liberalism. It’s no secret that the very same people bashing liberals while fressing on cholent, are far more likely than their imagined liberal enemies to be paying for the hearty dish with Foods Stamps, and getting their heart medication shortly thereafter with Medicaid.

    • Geoff

      No, all they don’t live in liberal areas because they are liberal. It is a correlation, not causation. Jews of all types tended to be concentrated in urban areas for many reasons since they started immigrating to the US. Nothing to do with the political leanings of cities.

  • yankelyoffen

    I was on a date with a girl , and she told me that she doesn’t like taking the train to work in the city because of the “disgusting” homeless people on the train. She continued with a rant about how much she hates homeless people who leech off society etc. I pointed out to her that a high percentage of homeless folks have moderate to severe mental disorders, and many are addicts of some sort, so hating them is really kind of mean, perhaps pity is a better way to feel about them .
    She looks at me a little strangely. After a moment of contemplation she asks, “well why dont they get jobs?” to which i replied, ” I have friends with degrees and years of experience who cant find jobs, you think a smelly homeless guy can find one?” She countered with “well why don’t they stay in shelters,” to which I replied ” I actually asked a homeless fellow why he doesn’t stay in a shelter. He explained to me that they are extremely violent , dangerous places, where knifings and rape are common.” She looked at me quizzically for a moment , then suddenly broke into a huge smile. “I get it, YOUR A LIBERAL!!!!” And that was it. No discussion, no debate, everything I now said irrelevant.

    Such is the way of the “conservatives” in the frum community. Not only do they not even know what real liberalism or conservatism is, they can’t even accept a simple logical argument if it doesn’t fall squarely in line with what Rush, Savage or the Yated has told them.

    I used to enjoy going to meals and saying that I think Michael Moore is a wonderful man. After the shocked silence, I was lucky if I was allowed to stay at the meal. Now, doing this just makes me sad. While I don’t agree with everything Michael Moore says, I am still amazed at the anger and hate directed towards him.

    • Anonymous

      Excellent comment.

    • daniel

      thanks. that laid it all out very well!

    • 🙂

    • Shlomo is at Shul

      These so called frum conservatives are generally people with very little real life experience beyond the confines of their frum community. As a result, they have little or no understanding of the plight of others and little or no intellectual curiosity. The person you were on a date with doesn’t exhibit any of the values that should be associated with Judaism, but rather is a scared and narrow person who doesn’t understand much about the world.

  • Guest

    I remember shabbos meals with various chassidic families in Jerusalem where all we would talk about was Torah. It was always lively and even entertaining. It’s depressing for me to see these shabbos meals here in the States where people talk about politics.

  • savage?

    Michal savage is NUTS

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  • Joe

    Well lets see most liberals love Muslims and hate Zionists (which is just code for anti-smites), now where do you expect frum people to fall into? Everyone should and must bash ‘liberals’ AKA terrorists lovers, because they would love to bash us all (literally).

  • Well, Joe, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you’re a troll. My best friend IS a Muslim. She has plenty of Jewish friends… as well as some Israeli friends. Quite frankly the Muslims I’ve met have been far more open-minded than most of the Frum Jews I’ve met.

    Also: Liberal, non-Zionist (not anti-Zionist), Muslim-loving Midwesterner here.

    • Joe

      I love when liberals just ignore the facts that almost all terrorists are Muslim (yes yes read again), and instead start babbling about some random Muslim friends of theirs who treated them nicely.

      • daniel

        joe: do you know any muslims yourself? and where do you get your facts? yes, there are the extremes in hezbollah and al qaeda, but there are terrorist organizations in many religions. one thing you have to take in mind is that islam has so many followers and factions that they aren’t as tight-knit as the jewish community, and most of them here in the united states don’t have anything to do with the syrian/saudi arabian/iranian governments like we’re all up in israel. bottom line, most of the muslims in the US are G-d loving law abiding citizens and are being discriminated against and being mistreated because of their religion in common with the terrorists. honestly we have more in common with most of the american muslims than we do with (conservative) american christians.

        • Elchanan + Daniel: Muslims align themselves with Islam, and if Islam is perceived as a threat, the less threatening Muslims will be classified as dangerous. R’ Becher quotes from Why the Jews? by Telushkin and Prager, and it makes for a very good argument against your premise that so many American Muslims are being discriminated against because other factions within their ranks are the rabble-rousers.

          Having friends who are Muslims is irrelevant anecdotal evidence. I have quite a bunch of Muslim friends, but I find them to be ignorant of their own religion — maybe your friends are similarly ignorant of their own religion, much like most Christians are ignorant of their own religion and most Jews are ignorant of their own religion, and most “conservatives” are ignorant of their proposed base of ideology.

        • Joe

          Yea Daniel keep up the victim mentality, bend over and spread the Vaseline… “all Muslims are nice” dont treat them bad cus like one Muslim did something bad.. Yes bro read again “Not all Muslim are terrorists but almost ALL terrorists are Muslim”.
          You little sissy pretty boys with your victim other cheek attitude are going to bring down our great country along with your fagot president.

          • Anonymous

            Joe, Atta boy!

            • kim

              Just consider the amount of planning and money that had to go into the September 11th attacks – like paying for flight training for 19 men, and how they knew where to strike the towers to cut off all the elevators. They were funded by Islamic states like Saudi Arabia. (not just little gangs of random extremist people)
              And, consider the recent attack on the Jewish Fogel family in Itamar, Israel. Muslims killed little children age 11, 4, and 3 months. Terrorist Muslims base all of their activities on the Quran and the teachings/life of Mohammed. The Quran bluntly says to kill and fight against people who do not believe in Islam all through its pages.
              There are Muslims who do not understand Arabic or study the Quran, and even people who disagree with their religious leaders, but Islam has those people by the throat. They will not rise up against it out of fear for their own lives. American Muslims are more likely to be peaceful people because they are still a small minority, and most of them are recent converts from Christianity and other American religions. They have not learned Arabic, they can recite quranic verses but have no idea what they mean and they continue to live like Christians and Jews or whatever they were before.

          • B.BarNavi

            The official religion of the IRA is no longer Roman Catholicism, but now Islam! Same for the Tamil Tigers, the PRC, Tim McVeigh…

  • Anonymous

    As to the point that “Not all Muslim are terrorists but almost ALL terrorists are Muslim”, I can only say, correlation and causation. Muslims are an enormous population so even if a minuscule percent of Muslims are terrorists it seems much larger. In addition such attacks have come from the middle east (by the way a majority of Muslims live outside of it) which is a poor region with a lacking system of education. Islam should not be judged by the number of terrorists it produces but by the percent of Muslims who engage in terror, which you will find is low indeed. And Muslims do NOT constitute a majority of terrorist, from maoist rebels in India to the Tamil tigers of Sri Lanka, many groups participate in terror.

  • unpopular

    Wasn’t it the Irgun who really worked out the tactics of terrorism and asymmetric warfare? Why don’t Jews like to remember this?