Political Hatred Is Not Welcome Here
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OpinionEditorial

Political Hatred Is Not Welcome Here

AJT's Editor and Managing Publisher Kaylene Ladinsky speaks out against "political hatred" and urges readers to be respectful of others despite differing political beliefs.

In addition to being the AJT’s managing publisher and interim editor, Kaylene Ladinsky is the president of Americans United With Israel.

Have you ever been subjected to political hatred? I have been personally, and the AJT has been getting bashed on social media for covering both sides of the news regarding the election. As editor and managing publisher, I take this very personally, as does the AJT staff. The truth is that it hurts very much. But I suck it up and hold my head high. I know that I make plenty of mistakes in my work and I am learning as I go, but I promise that I take my work very seriously and that the AJT staff works very hard, some 50 to 60 hours per week, and we are all here because we want to serve the community. We want to be a part of Keeping Jewish Atlanta Connected.

The Atlanta Jewish Times is a bipartisan and non-denominational communication hub for everyone in our community, whether you are a Democrat or Republican, Reform or Orthodox. We are here to share news, feature stories and community updates.

When I took on this position it was important to me to make the paper more diverse. I want to publish more stories about our community’s Jews of color and our LGBTQ members as examples. It’s important to our mission to be inclusive.

This is a very big election year for everyone. Jewish Atlanta is very engaged in this election and is actively participating. This is great. We recently published a story about how Jewish organizations are protecting voting access around the country, organizations such as the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. These groups are mobilizing legal teams to report voter suppression, educating voters and helping people sign up. Several organizations say they are united in fighting minority disenfranchisement. We should all support and encourage our community to vote.

There is no place for political hatred in our community. It’s wrong. It does not matter whether you are a Republican or Democrat, this polarizing political hatred must stop. We all realize that there are many people who dislike President Trump. There are many reasons why that is understandable. But it’s not worth hurting others publicly and starting a hatred train of comments.

According to U.S. News & World Report’s political writer Susan Milligan, “America has always known political polarization. But now the divide is driven more by hatred of the other side than devotion to one’s own.” She added, “This campaign year, the unofficial theme is fear – of the other side, other races and ethnic groups and, most of all, the person running in the other party.”

Screenshot and example of political bullying over an opinion piece that was posted in favor of President Trump, “Deeds Versus Words: Why Jews Should Support Trump.” The Facebook post is prefaced by the statement: “This is the Rep. op-ed by Chuck Berk in the political Dem./Rep. side-by-side. To see the Dem. op-ed, please visit here: www.atlantajewishtimes.timesofisrael.com/why-jewish-voters-should-support-biden.” Of course, the op-ed for Biden was posted at the same time. They were posted side by side in the print issue.

Hate speech in the United States is not regulated due to the robust right to free speech found in the American Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that hate speech is legally protected free speech under the First Amendment. According to the Pew Research Center, political polarization is the vast and growing gap between liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, and is a defining feature of American politics today, one that the center has documented for many years.

Our community needs to come together and stop being a part of this unofficial election theme –“Fear.” We need to stop the political bullies and make an effort to not participate in their hatred. We can say, “Stop being a political bully!” I understand that there are a lot of emotions invested in our votes this year. It is fantastic that the majority of our community is invested in this election, but we need to use this energy to report voter suppression, educate voters and help people sign up to vote.

Don’t be a part of the fear mongers’ hate; don’t be a part of the political bullying on social media. Whether you dislike Trump or Biden, be respectful of someone else’s opinion and don’t bully others and create fear over their choices. It is one thing to debate your thoughts and ideas, and it’s another to bully, cause fear and spew political hatred against someone in our community.

Be kind to one another and respectful. Appreciate our differences and encourage our community to VOTE.

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