Vote for Nader? Naw...

There there are Jewish readers who send me hate mail. They feel that I have turned into some sort of enemy of the Jewish State, because I just don't get it about the rationale of Bush and company being the 'best friend' of Israel.

Arlene Peck

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Ever since I can remember, I have tried to be a 'good citizen' I registered to vote when I turned twenty-one and do not think I have missed an election since then. Later, I remember taking my three small children into the voting booth with me and showing them what they were supposed to do when they got older. And, truthfully, there were many times when there were candidates and elections that discouraged me. However, never in my memory can I recall the conflict and hostility that I have encountered in the Bush/Kerry election.

Normally, the meanness and hate-filled election spin would be tolerable. However, this election has put an added burden on an American Jew who might consider themselves a strong supporter of Israel. What to do when every day you are burdened with a stream of constant, hate-filled emails about how you, as a Jew, would be turning your back on the Jewish Nation if you foolishly considered voting for anyone other than George Bush?

Now, folks, I have my doubts. And, frankly, as a journalist, I am really concerned that it is not even wise, to let my 'druthers' be known. Maybe I'm old fashioned. I remember when the job of a journalist/reporter was to report the news and not make it. I happen to be a columnist also, so when I write, usually, it's my opinion. That, in the past, was a good thing.

I felt free to write about what I observed and what I thought. Then, I began to notice a subtle change. The political cartoonists began to be dropped from the newspapers because they were politically incorrect. The last I heard, the count is now eighty from almost two hundred over the past decade. Although sometimes they were carriers of hate instead of political satire.

Newspapers no longer are the free and balanced entities that they are supposed to be. Even I was fired, after thirty years of writing for the Jewish Post & Opinion because I wrote "mean things about the Arabs," and they only wanted "happy news". I did too much 'racial profiling' in my columns and it wasn't acceptable. They insisted on screening everything that I wrote, to take out what might be considered offensive. I could not work under a management I felt had become the Thought Police.

Being the free spirit I've always been, I was gullible enough to believe that I could actually have an unpopular thought, write about it, and my publishers would publish it. Not so. I first found out about the new rules when, a few months ago, I wrote a column that was less than favorable about George W. Bush. I was cheered by the 'liberal' readers, but told in no uncertain terms that I was no longer welcome in "Bush country" publications. Shortly after, I found out that my unpopular thinking was not welcome among John Kerry supporters, and that I would be no longer welcome in their newspapers. This, because I questioned Kerry's leadership the same as I had for Bush. It seems today that if you don't write for the 'party line', you find the list of publications that want you will be shrinking.

Worse, there are Jewish readers who send me hate mail. They feel that I have turned into some sort of enemy of the Jewish State, because I just don't get it about the rationale of Bush and company being the 'best friend' of Israel. I won't list my concerns relevant to the American public - such as the danger signs that I see as far as economy, environment, Roe vs. Wade, abortion rights, gun control, Halliburton, social security and our lack of health care, open borders, outsourcing, and finally, the mess in Iraq. But I will here question how Bush can be desirable if he openly brags that he was the first American President to push for a Palestinian State.

He cut the small aid that Israel gets because he was 'unhappy' with the security fence (which is working). Or there's the fiasco with the Roadmap to Hell, in which he arranged for three anti-Semitic entities to work along with him on their version of "Peace for the Middle East". I also can't see those scenes of George riding around the ranch with his good friends the Saudis and "understand" because he and Dick Cheney are oil boys from way back. That friendship hasn't seemed to help us too much, though, since our oil prices are going through the roof. I am leery about James Baker, who was Bush's father's hatchet man when it came to Israel, waiting in the wings to once again solve the problems in the Middle East caused by "the... Jews".

However, I found out that I couldn't question Kerry and his very strange wife Teresa either. All hell broke loose when I wrote that I was wary of Mrs. Kerry's donations to Islamic charities to the tune of three-and-a-half million dollars, as those so-called charities supported terrorism. Nor was I thrilled when Kerry spoke to an Arab audience about his displeasure at the security fence. He's been too quiet with his thoughts about Israel and I wonder, quite frankly, about who is going to be the least dangerous.

I've noticed, though, that, as of late, Kerry is out stumping to more Jewish audiences and telling them, as he did at a recent rally in Florida, that he would do a better job protecting Israel than Bush and make sure to stop the terror funding by Arab countries in the region. I just hope it's not too little, too late.

Maybe he should start with his wife's donations to her favorite charities. Oh, and does Kerry actually realize that the United Nations has turned into a cartel of 'silent partners' of terrorism, and that at every vote condemning terrorism, the Islamic states refuse to vote against it? Is Kerry aware that the United Nations in no way can be trusted with either America's or Israel's security? Nor can the anti-Israel bias rampant in the European Union be counted on to be the basis for a "Palestinian-Israeli Peace" conference, which Kerry has mentioned he might favor. They would sacrifice Israel in a heartbeat for Arab oil or to appease the growing number of Arab votes on the continent.

In other words, as columnist, I question, I debate, and try to make my readers think. However, I've found out the hard way that columns like this will never see the light of day with some of my former newspapers because I am not following their pattern of reporting