In recent weeks, a small but growing number of lifelong Democrats disgusted with their party’s progressive leadership and its attacks on traditional liberal values has decided to #WalkAway. Most of those walking identify with one or more of the minority communities that have long given disproportionate, automatic support to the Democrats. America’s Jews should pay attention.
Brandon Straka, the man behind the hashtag, is gay. Until fairly recently, the gay rights movement represented people who sought to live their lives in ways that conflicted with traditional morality without governmental restrictions, without crippling discrimination, and without asking anyone else to alter their own lives, families, or lifestyles. Many—almost certainly most—gay Americans still believe in that traditional notion of freedom. To the progressive leadership of the LGBTQ movement, however, traditional morality is little more than a smokescreen entrenching a structurally racist, privileged, gender-binary patriarchy.
The message to gay Americans is clear. If you want to impose your beliefs on those who don’t share them, stick with the progressives. If you embrace a live-and-let-live view of the world, #WalkAway from the progressive LGBTQ leadership. They don’t represent you. Don’t support them.
African-American voters have also begun to #WalkAway. Their exit reflects a longstanding debate between colorblind integrationists like MLK and black nationalists like Malcolm X. Today’s progressive black leadership pays lip service to King while championing a black nationalist agenda. From its demands for reparations and segregated dormitories to its embrace of Nation of Islam acolytes, today’s progressive black leadership fears a society in which content of character is all that matters.
The message to black Americans is clear. If you see yourself as a victim in need of a revolutionary national uprising, stick with the progressives. If you share King’s dream, #WalkAway from the progressive black leadership. They don’t represent you. Don’t support them.
I write as a Jewish American who spent many years as an active Democrat, a proud part of the 1990s center-Left. I worked with the National Jewish Democratic Council and the Democratic National Committee as a volunteer for the Gore and Kerry campaigns, and later served on the Bay Area Jewish Community Relations Council. I watched firsthand—and up close—as America’s Jewish leadership refused to fight for Jewish interests.
I don’t think my politics are outside the mainstream. As an American, I want leadership that demonstrates: the willingness to confront and defeat the Islamist threat to Western civilization; an understanding that economic growth is a prerequisite for positive social change; and a commitment to civil rights and civil liberties. As a Jew, I prioritize: support for Israel as a secure Jewish state; opposition to anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, and all forms of Jew hatred; and preservation of the freedom to live in accordance with the teachings of my faith.
Today’s progressive Democrats stand openly, explicitly, and proudly on the wrong side of three of these issues: Progressives are more concerned with a fictional Islamophobia than with a real Islamism. Their economic programs tout redistribution rather than growth. And they embrace a “Palestinian struggle” opposed to Israel’s security. Their approaches to my remaining issues are subtler: Progressives have redefined civil rights, anti-Semitism, and freedom of religion to pretend that they stand for justice rather than against it.
I walked away from the Democratic Party when the DNC handed leadership to Howard Dean and his progressive followers. I didn’t join the GOP until five years later.
Much of America’s Jewish leadership moved in the opposite direction. It jettisoned Jewish interests to embrace the progressive agenda. Far too many leading Jewish organizations collect sizable donations to fight Jew hatred, support Israel, and preserve religious freedom—then hand it to progressive politicians and groups that work against all three causes.
While that situation may cheer progressives who happen to be Jewish, it should dismay every American Jew concerned with the future of our community—regardless of beliefs about taxes, abortion, the environment, or anything else.
If you’re part of that group, speak out—with your voice, with your donations, and with your vote! Say to our communal leaders and the politicians they support:
If the Women’s March backs Hamas and the Nation of Islam, #WalkAway from it or we will #WalkAway from you.
If Black Lives Matter incorporates Jew-hatred into its platform, #WalkAway from it or we will #WalkAway from you.
=If your alma mater gives free rein to anti-Zionists who terrorize Jewish students, #WalkAway from it or we will #WalkAway from you.
If intersectionality compels you to deny, question, or qualify the Jewish right to self-determination in the Jewish homeland, #WalkAway from it or we will #WalkAway from you.
If the Congressional Black Caucus welcomes virulent anti-Semites like Louis Farrakhan or Jeremiah Wright, #WalkAway from it or we will #WalkAway from you.
If a politician, organization, thinker, or publication supports an independent terrorist Palestine or a nuclear genocidal Iran, #WalkAway from it or we will #WalkAway from you.
You don’t have to embrace the opposition to stand up for yourself. #JewToo can #WalkAway.
Bruce Abramson is a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and a Contributor to the news and public policy group Haym Solomon Center.