Speak Up Before You’re Shut Up

At a certain point in United States history, western expansion hit the Pacific Ocean.  Having built a country whose legends included families crossing the Atlantic in search of religious and economic freedom and sagas of thousands of ‘Pa Ingalls’ who kept moving west as previously sparsely settled areas were populated, this vast body of water presented a problem. Where could the rugged individualist now go?

I’ve got good news for those who dream of living back in the days when a man could grasp the reins of his life and determine his own destiny. Today, you don’t even need to leave your own home to do so.

Whether you went west on the Oregon Trail or followed the Gold Rush frenzy, one thing was always true. Even when embarking on the journey with a group, major decisions and responsibilities lay with the individual. Blind faith in an expedition’s leader was rare. Failure and success usually depended upon one’s own instincts, skills, hard work and family.

As America got older, that changed. Public schooling meant that parents didn’t have to teach their own, supermarkets negated the necessity for growing one’s own food and the wild success of the industrial revolution meant that most items could be bought rather than homemade. Political decisions too, migrated from community, to state, to Federal control.

All those developments, however, relied on a general trust in the infrastructure. While there were always shady characters in and out of government, in general, there was a feeling that the number of good people heavily outweighed the bad ones. That feeling is rapidly eroding.

It is becoming increasingly clear that many important elements of our livesamong them parts of government, the public educational system and large portions of the media—are no longer trustworthy. That is the bad news. The fact that the lies and betrayal are now blatant is the good news. It tells us that if we are being fooled, it is not the cleverness of the liars but our own decision to ignore reality slapping us in the face.

This past Shabbat, my husband was again the rabbi in residence for the Young Jewish Conservatives group at the huge CPAC conference in Washington DC. By arranging for kosher food, prayer services and other essentials, this group makes it possible for Sabbath-observing Jews to still attend CPAC.  It also attracts many who, although not necessarily Torah-observant in every aspect of their lives, are nonetheless eager to connect with other politically conservative Jews.

Each year we come away uplifted from these Shabbats. This year, however, more than usual, I sensed a palpable, vibrant activism bubbling to the surface. There seemed to be a recognition that, despite anti-conservative bigotry and hatred from professors, employers, family and friends, keeping one’s views to oneself was no longer a viable option. 

One of the speakers, who addressed the crowd at CPAC shortly before President Trump, was Brandon Straka. During the past few months, anytime I felt pessimistic about this country’s future, I would check out the #walkaway stories on Brandon’s Facebook page. In a movement he started less than a year ago, thousands of Americans have posted a video or written their story telling why they are walking away from the Democrat Party. Most of them voted for Barack Obama, a majority voted for Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton. Yet, since President Trump’s election these citizens have become aware of how the Democrat Party is choosing to foment hatred, violence and divisiveness. They have found the media lies, hypocrisy and prejudice impossible to ignore. And these individuals are choosing to walk away.

If you aren’t familiar with this movement, take a moment to look it up. Watch Brandon’s interview with Mark Levin (who spoke powerfully for us at the Shabbat gathering and whose wife, Julie, and her mother, Sylvia, have for many years been among the guiding forces and inspirational energy behind the Shabbat event). Forward one or both links to a good person in your life who needs some shaking up. Those leaving testimonials aren’t venturing into unknown physical territory like the early pioneers, but they are bravely asserting their individuality in a way that the pioneers of this country would recognize and applaud.

33 thoughts on “Speak Up Before You’re Shut Up”

  1. The Democratic Party is ridiculous and practices a pseudo-religious form of political correctness and identity politics that I find exhausting. The Republican Party is owned by the oil industry and other corporate interests, encourages dangerous deregulation that threatens our financial and environmental ecosystems. I have no patience with either of them. Obama wasn’t the answer. Trump isn’t the answer (how one could believe a spoiled, egocentric, adulterous reality TV star could help our country is beyond me). We need a third party, or a grassroots movement that demands so much more of our elected “leaders.”

    1. Jacob, historically, third parties do not win, though their ideas sometimes slowly move the identities of the dominant parties. I think that grassroots is what elected President Trump, as the elite in the Republican Party certainly didn’t want him to be president and I think the grassroots in the Democrat Party are moving it towards extremism and socialism now – something that makes their elites redundant. So, people do have a lot of power.

  2. There is consolation in our growing numbers, Susan. I’d love to make it to a CPAC convention…that’s a lot of positive energy!! Blessings.

  3. Dear Rabbi Lapin and Susan, Love your Ancient Jews Wisdom show and reading your posts! Thank you for your conservative stand, and knowledge of the ancient scriptures!

  4. Susan,
    How can you say that Trump is a great president?

    1. He supports his administrations policies (read: Steve Miller) of ripping children away from their parents. Separating them and not keeping records of where those kids have gone. They can’t reunite those kids with their parents because they didn’t keep track of where they sent the kids or the parents.

    Are those refugees coming from Mexico any different than our ancestors who escaped the Holocaust? Imagine if our ancestors had been turned away at Ellis Island. How man more of us would have died.

    2. He called those KKK marchers in Charlottesville, ‘good people.” Sorry, but Nazis are never good people. Not ever. Imagine if FDR had said the Nazis had ‘good people’ How more of us would have died?

    3. He’s rolling back many of the environmental policies that Obama enacted. We only have one planet. If we continue to poison our air and water, we will all die off. Anyone denying climate change is delusional. The science is clear and the evidence exists. It cannot be ignored. Trump puts us all in danger by ignoring it. As inhabitants of this planet, we have a moral obligation to protect and care for it, not destroy it.

    As a Jew, I cannot help but see all of the parallels between Trump and Hitler. How have you missed them? We all have an obligation to make sure that a Holocaust never happens again. The first step towards that goal is impeaching Trump.

    1. I have read the sources that suggest all the things you say. May I suggest that you read the sources debunking what you are reading? And, quite frankly, I think any comparisons to Hitler whitewash Hitler, demean the memory of his victims and minimize the Holocaust, something that many today are eager to do.

      1. 1. Over and over, President Trump said that it’s harmful and heartbreaking to have children brought over here by people who are using them as pawns, and in many cases it’s their own parents doing it. We are spoiled here in America, does Gill Lawrence know just how these people south of the border actually live? The border situation is deadly serious, especially for the victims of human traffic operators. Several George Soros funded caravans are wreaking havok so that people like Gill Lawrence will believe that President Trump’s administration’s policies are responsible for “ripping children away from their parents.” The so-called “refugees coming from Mexico” are wholly different from those who fled and escaped the murderous regimes where millions of people were being slaughtered, not only Jews, but many others. It’s disgusting of Gill Lawrence to compare these situations. Equally disgusting is the memory of Elián González’s mother who drowned to death shuttling herself and her son to America only to have her son sent back to the murderous, communist regime in Cuba. FYI: A couple of months ago, when I saw pictures and videos of these crowded caravans, it didn’t surprise me that not only were there not many children among them but that many of those there were men, and that none of the people in them looked like they were starving. In fact, many of these people actually had quite a lot of body fat. Gill Lawrence is ignoring these facts.

        2. The KKK was a very well organized group that did not exist during the recent Charlottesville marches, and neo-Nazis are not a sizable cult. Within these groups of pathetic loosers are also paid protestors. President Trump said that there was blame to be had on both sides during the Charlottesville marches. His real point is that there is a difference between lawful protests and hateful violence. It’s also clear that there are “staged” acts of violence. It’s dispicable that one can garner so much media attention using distractions. For example, Ralph Northam’s real crime: infanticide. The media swiftly swept that horrible crime under the rug and they’ve given his less significant crime of wearing racist garb a pass.

        3. I wonder if Gill Lawrence has heard that there is no scientific consensus of the actual dangers of “climate change.” Many world leaders would like to keep this ruse because it makes them money. They can capitalize on getting in bed with the businesses who profit off of it. Has Gill Lawrence heard of the following companies: Starbucks, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Tesla, CNN, MSNBC, etc? Most global companies are operating with all kinds of our national and global energy resources. The government’s regulatory policies hold back real innovation in our national energy sectors. People still die today from drinking poisonous water but it typically doesn’t happen here in our country. I’d like to add that when I see people drinking their Tall Mocha’s and their Grande Iced Caramel drinks from Starbucks all that I can think of is how amazing it is that a company’s leaders can complain about “climate change” with a straight face!

        It’s a good thing that not all Jews see parallels between President Trump and Hitler.

        Perhaps Gill Lawrence will tune in to watch Candace Owens describe the most dangerous place for black people to exist is in their mother’s wombs. Abortion is a real crime against humanity that has been permitted by the radical Left wing (which sadly exists on both sides of the political spectrum.)

        What would happen if President Trump’s impeachment results in his removal from office? Will we go back to the good ‘ol days of…

        1. Susan and my Rabbi,
          Your response to Rosalind was Greeeeat.
          I was wondering if you or my Rabbi had ever herd or read D’nish D’sussa? I probably misspelled his name, but I’ve learned more about American History from his books, speeches and films that I ever did in school.

          1. We have read Dinesh D’Souza and seen two of his videos. Like you, we think it is worth taking the time to do so.

  5. Thank you Susan, I think it was Ronald Reagan who said ” I didn’t leave the Democratic party, they left me” That’s how I feel. My wife and I switched many years ago.

    1. Vince, that’s exactly the sentiment that many of these people are articulating.

  6. Thank you for sharing. I can’t wait to look Brandon up and share with friends and family. This is good news indeed.

    1. This movement has made strange bedfellows, Lynn, something that I hope to write about in the future.

  7. Bravo, Ms. Susan! Our President is keeping every one of the promises he made to us, a thumb in the face of his relentless and mindless opposition. They are determined to hate him as a basic article of faith of their godless Progressive religion. But by virtue of their hateful responses, the President is smoking them out of their hiding places. And they have shown their true colors at last, by opposing every decent measure the man proposes to aid America. You hearten us with your report that masses of people are waking up to the monstrous deceit conjured by a party, a complicit and disingenuous news media, and a generation of government-school zombies.

    And well they should wake up! America is but one election removed from socialism, 90% tax rate, killing newborn babes, weapon confiscation from private citizens, Government-run health care, Sharia Law and open borders forever and ever, amen.

    1. James, these are frightening times. But that makes them times of great opportunity. It also makes them a time when each person must take a stand.

  8. Hi Susan,
    Once again, I wonder what world we are living in; Just about every person around President Trump have been arrested for criminal behavior but you continue to lift him up as a righteous person. The lies that he has told, I did not pay hush money, I did nothing to influence security clearance for Jarred and Ivanka, I have no ties with Russia (Trump Tower. statement he made with his own mouth and the world heard it etc. It seems strange so many people around him act and behave as criminals but it is nothing to do with him. Concerning racist statement, the list is too long list but S–t hole countries, the riot in S. Carolina are just a few. As far as your previous statement regarding people having control over their own life, was this to for Black Slaves ripped from their country. We are living in dangerous times when we choose to call evil good and good evil. Remember I am a conservative but at what cost. should I stand with wrong because I have decided that all democratic are painted with one brush, wrong and all Republicans/Conservatives with another brush, right.

    1. Rosalind, I don’t ever think I used the word righteous for President Trump. I don’t think I use it for many people. I do think he is a great president.
      I also believe that had President Obama been subjected to the type of scrutiny that President Trump is being subjected to, people would have seen a very different view of him. I think the Democrats are drawing the impeachment posters and then shooting every arrow they can think of until they find one that sticks. If the same scrutiny was done on Congress, I don’t believe we’d have more than a handful of elected officials left.

      I have also never suggested that America has no sins in her past, chief among them slavery. But there actually were Black cowboys and those who went west to improve their lives. One of the instigators of the Civil War was the question of the western areas. I think the freedom-loving attitude of the pioneers helped end slavery. That doesn’t mean that all pioneers were righteous, to use your word. There is much bad history regarding Indian tribes as well. But the fact is that Americans had a “move to new area” and “make my own life” attitude that wasn’t part of a European mindset. I think that is part of this country’s greatness.

      I think the evolving Democrat platform, including things like support for infanticide is worrying in a way that I am not worried about anything in the Republican platform. Having said that, I think there are well-intentioned Democrats and conniving Republicans. Individuals are individuals. But the parties increasingly stand for very different things.
      I don’t think someone who wasn’t a street fighter would have been able to stand up against the Clintons. So, I am enormously grateful to the President and I approve of most of his actions since taking office. You are certainly welcome to disagree.

      1. Well said, Susan. President Trump has to deal with 24/7/365 criticism and the Democrat Party moved farther and father to the left. Who can trust the media anymore?

        1. Brandon said something in his interview with Mark Levin that I found fascinating. His “conversion” began because one person he knows sent him a private message linking to a video debunking that the President ridiculed a handicapped person. For some reason instead of deleting her comment, he watched the video. He said that once his eyes were opened to the fact that the media was trying to make President Trump look bad and would manipulate footage to do so, he couldn’t stop seeing the examples. That led to his walking away.

          1. I, too, found that statement by Brandon impactful. We need to encourage people to seek for themselves the truth. I was a never Trump prior to the election. But then I started looking deeper. Just as Brandon did and found that many of the things I’d believed about President Trump were distortions of what had actually happened. The media are masters at manipulation. When you realize that you have jumped the first hurdle.

          2. When there is a big attempt to hide information, that tells you that what you’re hearing isn’t the whole story.

      2. “Just about every person around President Trump have been arrested for criminal behavior but you continue to lift him up as a righteous person.” – Rosalind Swift

        “I think there are well-intentioned Democrats and conniving Republicans.” – Susan Lapin

        I wanted to speak up about some truthful insight with respect to these two posted statements that I hope will help us to improve the process of communication.

        Rosalind’s statement is false and there is no point in spreading false statements because the so-called ‘news’ does this very well. President Trump has far too many people around for this claim to be true: “just about every person around President Trump have been arrested for criminal behavior.” On top of it, there is evidence showing the US Dept of Justice has covered up and is covering up for treasonous crimes committed by members of their departments as well as members of the Democratic National Party. But those people are part of the system trying to oust President Trump. Go figure!

        Susan, your statement calls for some clarification because I’m observing ignorance and apathy in those you have referred to as “well-intentioned.”

        I conclude that there are no saints around the political arena, there are some better and some worse individuals from both parties. Currently, we are observing real crimes being perpetrated on the American people and a very good piece was in the news today that makes me want to give it a shout:

        “Rep. Matt Gaetz: House Democrats’ harassment of Trump makes silence during Obama-era highly conspicuous”

        -Republican Matt Gaetz represents Florida’s 1st congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives.

        Hopefully, your readers will recall some of these problems that, years ago, were “swept under the rug” if they read the article. Another thought comes to mind, I really can’t stand the term “compromise,” instead, I prefer the word “cooperate.” I think it’s better to cooperate than to compromise generally.

        A final thought becasue Rosalind also brought up slavery: MANY WHITE GUYS WERE KILLED fighting and helping blacks gain their independence during America’s terrible Civil War. Additionally, the post-Civil War era was horrific for many reasons but again, MANY WHITE PEOPLE stood side-by-side for justice for black people. We are in no perfect country, but good luck finding one that is better! People are flocking to our shores becasue of our generosity. Now let’s wear our gratitude hats and offer President Trump some gratitude for standing up for innocent babies, minorities, American Civilians, and for individual freedom in the world! Amen.

        1. I had not heard Rep. Gaetz’ comment but it is certainly spot on. As are your other comments.

      3. I forgot to add that there were some scumbags in certain countries abroad who had sold their own people into slavery! The slavery practice is alive and well today. BTW: one of the #Walkaway videos that I saw was recorded by an immigrant, black man from a country that President Trump said was a “insert expletive” who was arguing that the President was correct about his country. Why would anyone bother to come here if our country sucks so much? I have asked this question recently, and it seems to stump some people.

        1. Adding to the slavery discussion, the city of New Orleans was built largely by free blacks who came from Haiti. When Louisiana was still French territory, many of these blacks became quite wealthy as slave traders! They also owned slaves. So let’s not pretend that all blacks were “righteous” or “victims” and all whites were “evil” or “perpetrators.”

          1. Thank you, Jean, for your contribution to acknowledging other truths about the “Slave Trade.”

      4. Good morning Susan,
        I can agree with the improvement of the economic situation and agree with some of his policies on immigration but not to the point of shutting down the government. I am basically talking about President Trump character and integrity and his constant lying. Why can’t people say when he is wrong instead of pointing out the wrongness of the other side. You did not give your opinion as right or wrong on any of the specific things I mentioned. I believe those of us that want what is best for the country would believe one or the other side can be trusted if they do not always agree along political lines. It would be refreshing to hear on both side of the political divide to state what they believe to be right or wrong regardless who is stating the facts. Sad but true both parties are guilty of only holding up what is good or is their particular belief and not speaking out when something is wrong with a statement made or action taking by their choice of political party. Yes we can chose to disagree on whether he is a good president; time will put his Presidency in its’ proper light.

  9. Mark Levin is a National Treasure! I’ve been following Brandon since he first came out with his waking up declaration. Marks interview with him Sunday night was very good and worth watching. One of these days I hope to make it to CPAC!

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