I offer a personal perspective on recent events. As a member of the local Jewish community, the Pittsburgh murders break my heart and strip away a veneer of security. Yes, even here.
As a Democratic Party activist, I watched in disbelief as multiple pipe bombs were discovered. As a citizen active with the U.N. Association and the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council, and as a retired U.S. diplomat, I know the perils of isolationism, and have lived in countries with authoritarian regimes, where people surreptitiously seek reliable information, since the press is less than free.
So many of us of Ashkenazi Jewish background know entire branches of our families did not survive the Holocaust. We are here — I am here — thanks to grandparents and great grandparents who endured unimaginable hardship to reach this country. Imagine being so desperate that you are willing to uproot and move an ocean away.
I am just one person. But this much I know: We must work together to repair the world; we must stand up to hate and fear mongering; reach out a helping hand, listen and offer compassion and kindness. We must see everyone. Right now, that means voting on Nov. 6. And no matter the results, the work of weaving together, supporting community, and standing up for decency, democracy, our freedoms — and against hate, always against hate — must be a constant. Our lives, our children’s and grandchildren’s lives depend on it.