The recent outbursts of anti-Semitism in our city have deeply shocked many of us to our cores. Viewing clips of hate crimes, and listening to the chants demeaning our people and calling for an end to our existence, has gripped many of us with trepidation and anger.
Perhaps “anger” is an understatement. Perhaps there is another word that better describes your angst, frustration or desperation in response to how the geopolitical situation in the Middle East is now playing out on the streets of our city in the ugliest way possible.
Regardless of the resulting emotion, the reactionary response is the same: blame.
Immediately after digesting the incidents, we start pointing fingers at a host of different characters: The governor, the mayor, mayoral candidates, the askonim, spokespeople for the community — truly a circular firing squad.
The nature of this reaction is not for me to comment further. Responding to or discussing the level of acrimonious and verbal tirades is not what will resolve the problem.
So, you may ask, what will? Very simple: voting. Yes. Voting. And I repeat again: voting. And before you vote, don’t forget to register to vote.
If you truly want to change policy, there is only one way to: voting. Unless all the couch potatoes that rant and rave on the internet regarding the varied problems in our city will get up and take action into their own hands, the only alternative is to vote.
You don’t like what you see as a lack of rule-of-law, or the new bail rules, then change them. The more you are a naysayer, and the more you don’t want to participate in the system, the more you deserve the onus of the blame for these problems persisting.
Now, I’ve written about this many times, and I don’t want to have to say it again. But this is not partisan. You can vote Republican until you’re blue — or red, in this case — in the face. However, in New York City, if you have no voice in the primary, you have abdicated your choice.
Because here in New York City, the determining factor for who wins the seat in January is who wins the primary in June. You do not have to vote for the Democrats in November, but if you do not feel the system serves you, it is incumbent upon you to vote in the Democratic primary. Thus, if this community wants to be potent and powerful, you must vote.
Next time there is an incident, don’t start pointing fingers to blame as your means of “taking action.” Reckon with your frustration. Vote.
If it takes hours to wait in line and vote, that means voter turnout in the community is high, and we are doing well.
Do not come up with excuses. Do not watch social media and waste your time talking about the problems. Just go and vote and solve them.
You want power? Take power and go vote. If we can properly represent our political prowess, politicians will come knocking on your door to find out what you want.
Disclaimer: Yes, I am a registered public relations consultant, which is often called a “lobbyist.”
However, whether you vote doesn’t make me richer or poorer. I just know from my position that when you vote, you are heard.
It is always easy to blame someone else and say if they did “A” or “B,” it would not have happened. Rather, if you did not vote and do not plan on voting, the blame lays purely on you. Go out and vote.
After these incidents, the handwringing begins. The deflection of blame makes people feel good as if they are doing something constructive. Let me tell you something, folks: Blame starts with you. Those who vote are responded and catered to first.
You want condemnation of elected officials? You want police to protect your community? You want to change the bail laws that allow dangerous individuals who perpetuate hate crimes to stay out of prison?
Go out and vote!
You may think that’s too simple, but I am telling you that’s all it takes. That is tachlis.
There’s an election just weeks away. Vent your frustration at the ballot box.
In conclusion, if in fact there isn’t a significant uptick in voter turnout, do not blame anyone except yourself.
The author is chief executive of The Friedlander Group, a public policy organization based in New York City and Washington.