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July 14, 1995 - Image 135

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-07-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Give someone another golden clay .. .

Will Newt Take The Center?

Presidential candidate or not, the Georgia Republican could steer
America into a new era of tolerance or xenophobia.

JAMES D. BESSER WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

ouse Speaker Newt Gin-
grich continues to play an
evasive game in respond-
ing to questions about his
presidential ambitions. But with
the primary season fast ap-
proaching, even a coy Gingrich
is far more interesting than the
ever-growing field of Republican
candidates.
And the organized Jewish
community is watching closely,
realizing that it has more to lose
than most groups as the nation
adjusts to the new realities of the
1990s.
An unquestionably intelligent
man with the undivided atten-
tion of the nation, Mr. Gingrich
can play a major role in finding
a middle route of this new and
limited era without blowing
apart social and political insti-
tutions, and pitting groups
against one another.
Or he can add to the momen-
tum of the extremists, who
thrive in an atmosphere of in-
tergroup conflict. Jews, tradi-
tionally the preferred scapegoats
for societies under stress, are
particularly at risk.

developing workable policies, in-
creasingly shape the national
debate. And our elected leaders
cringe at the thought of criticiz-
ing pro-gun organizations that
support — at least indirectly —
subversion of the democratic sys-
tem under the guise of patriot-
ic zeal.
Along the way,
immigrants and
refugees have be-
come targets of an
angry public and
the political leaders
who cower before
them. The civil
rights advances of
the past 30 years
are under attack.
These trends
could promise a
new era of inter-
group conflict, an
American version of
the tragic divisions
that are turning
other areas of the
world into slaugh-
terhouses.

ties of all types are open to po-
litical attack as the nation works
out its frustrations over a chang-
ing world.
Jewish vulnerability is re-
flected in the campaign of colum-
nist Pat Buchanan, the
conservative GOP candidate for
his party's 1996 nomination. His

Shifting Crossroads

Taking
The Stage

In today's political fighting, De-
mocrats defend the compassion-
ate side of government, but too
often ignore the harsh numbers
on the federal balance sheet —
a deficit that guarantees that,
one way or another, our concept
of government activism is going
to change.
Republicans often use these
economic realities to provide cov-
er for a bitter social agenda that
can only deepen the divisions
and increase the inequities that
are tearing at the fabric of our
democratic society.
With a constricting economy,
paying for the sweeping social
programs that began with the
New Deal may no longer be an
option. At the same time, a nar-
rowing personal financial base
is throwing more people onto the
uncertain mercies of the social
service infrastructure.
Internationally, we no longer
can support a vast military ma-
chine. But the rise of new and
virulent regional and ethnic con-
flicts — heightened by an
unchecked spread of chemical,
biological and nuclear weapon-
ry — demands increased Amer-
ican leadership in the world.
Further, venomous talk-show
hosts, sniping from the outside
without any responsibility for

It doesn't take any
special acuity to un- Newt Gingrich: Which direction will he go? Newt
derstand that the Gingrich's influence can curb the spread of extremism or
nation is at an im- accelerate the retreat from democracy.
portant crossroads.
calls for a religious and cultural
war seem to be resonating with
Enter Mr. Gingrich.
More than any other person, many GOP voters in key prima-
the House Speaker can help ry states.
And it's mirrored in the dra-
manage this conservative shift
in a way that preserves our free- matic revival of conspiracy the-
doms and our commitment to a ories, many of which portray
compassionate use of govern- Jews as a primary cause of our
nation's woes.
ment.
Mr. Gingrich, with his ties to
But, if he succumbs to the al-
lures of political expediency, he the Jewish community, can use
will add significantly to such his remarkable new position
changes becoming a collective to forcefully reject the extrem-
ists even as he promotes a con-
spasm of pent-up rage.
servative economic agenda.
Without compromising his
core ideals, he can do more than
anybody on the political scene
today to curb the spread of out-
rageous, anti-democratic scape-
goating.
Or he can use his pulpit to
manipulate the fears and angers
of the American people for his
Mr. Gingrich, a committed in- own political ends. If he chooses
ternationalist, can forcefully that route, he will become a
resist his party's rising isola- major threat to Jewish security
tionism — or he can give in to it. and to the security of every
In the,latter scenario, he would other minority. And he will
help render the United States accelerate the frightening
powerless in critical regions like retreat from democracy that
seems to be the hallmark of our
the Middle East.
minori- era. ❑

Jews, traditionally
the scapegoats for
societies under
stress, are at risk.

majestic sand castles . .
sparkling waters .. .
another chance.

Please give blood.

American Red Cross

Blood Servi..- e,
SoutheacIern Michigan Region

Your United Way
Contribution
Has Made Lots Of
Homeless People
Feel Warm
All Over.

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