A Statement from JSPAN on the Presidential Election

Mr. President-Elect: Lift Us All Together

 The Jewish Social Policy Action Network (JSPAN) advocates on behalf of social justice from the perspective of Jewish tradition and the Jewish people’s historical experience.  Our mission is “to advance equality and opportunity for all women and men in our pluralistic democracy; to protect the Constitutional liberties and civil rights of Jews, other minorities, and the weak in our society; to secure for ourselves and society the benefits of Jewish learning and culture; and to carry out the goal of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world.”

     We are disheartened by the positions taken by President-Elect Donald J. Trump during the campaign, his demeanor towards those who disagreed with him, his incitement to violence, and the general lack of civility with which his campaign was conducted.

     Our organization stands for respect for the inherent dignity of every human being and the right to live free from fear.  We believe that each person deserves equal treatment before the law, irrespective of race, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion, ethnicity, economic status or other arbitrary, prejudicial distinctions.

     We stand for freedom of religion, for all religions, and for freedom of the press as essential elements of our Constitutional guarantees as Americans.  

     We believe that economic justice, freedom from hunger, and the availability of quality and affordable healthcare for all, are fundamental elements of a just society. 

     We support the right of working men and women to have dignity at their workplace, which includes having a voice at work, being paid family sustaining wages, and having reasonable access to family sustaining benefits.

     We believe a quality educational system is fundamental to a free society and must be guaranteed to each child.

     We advocate for immigrants and refugees.  We seek fairness for those who live here honorably, and we advocate for a path to citizenship for them and their families.

     We advocate for women and support each woman’s right to reproductive freedom, whatever her choice.

     We support the LGBTQ community in its quest for dignity and the essential rights of every citizen, including the newly won right of marriage equality.

     We believe that protecting the environment and working to correct the dangers to our planet from human-caused climate change are essential for the future of our planet.

     We believe that the criminal justice system must be fair and equal for all.  We favor common-sense regulations to reduce the incidence of gun violence which threatens our society.

     We affirm the fundamental fairness of our electoral system and will advocate to protect each citizen’s right to vote, and for that vote to count equally.

     In every one of these areas, the President-Elect has either advocated policies that are at odds with our values, or incited others to act in ways that are inimical to them and to societal decency.  His campaign has brought to the surface, and made acceptable, public expressions of racism, misogyny, homophobia and xenophobia not seen in recent years in America. 

     Since the election, in the Philadelphia area and in other parts of the country, we have witnessed disturbing examples of hate-speech and action. Swastikas have been scrawled on storefront windows. Anti-gay slurs, intimidation and taunting of foreign born individuals and people of color, often accompanied by Nazi-era symbols and language have occurred in public schools and on college campuses.  The offenders often explicitly associate the name of the President-Elect with their despicable actions.

     We urge the President-Elect to unequivocally repudiate these actions as inimical to the foundational principles of our democracy.  We urge him to adopt a different stance in the future.  We urge him to embrace rhetoric that demonstrates respect for each human being in our society, and for his role as the President of us all.  We urge him to adopt an agenda for America that will lift us all together, not one that elevates some by diminishing others.

     We want President-Elect Trump to know that we will always raise our voices on behalf of the ideals we cherish as Jews and as Americans.  We will stand with those who are the object of societal injustice, public scorn and derision.  We will work with those organizations that share our values.  As a Philadelphia based organization, we will make the cause of those who are marginalized in this region, our cause.  Among other strategies, we will continue to work through the courts to uphold the rights of each person to live in dignity in America as guaranteed by our Constitution and the values on which our nation was founded. 

     We will be vigilant.  We will not be silent.