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Voting for America

As I learned from my mother, the greatest gift government can provide for the poor is employment opportunities and education.

Having been born and raised in America, and having lived in Israel since the age of 21 – some 40-odd years – I have spent my life juggling my American-ness and Israeli-ness.

Sometimes, they overlap. The can-do attitude of the Yankee Doodle Dandy image I grew up with, the resourceful, smart, hardworking and successful American who needs and wants nothing more than opportunity to better his life, is also a very Israeli image. The tank commander who finds himself alone behind enemy lines and invents a formidable “Force Tsvika” to fool the enemy, for example. Or any number of the “seat of the pants” ways in which the early Israeli pioneers created a country.

As an American, nothing was clearer to me growing up than that no obstacles stood in the way of my becoming and achieving anything I wanted, not poverty, being an orphan, or lack of connections; and that nothing was worse or more demeaning than to be cared for by any government program.

When my mother was widowed and left with three small children whom she could not yet leave to go to work, she had no choice but to apply for welfare. Government-subsidized low-income housing, which we had had no choice but to apply for during our father’s illness, put a roof over our heads. It was in Rockaway Beach, a horrible housing project of faceless red brick buildings with chains around the grass.

And when my father died, I remember the Housing Authority official, a young, officious-looking woman wearing a smart black suit with a red flower (incidentally, she was black, which I mention simply to upturn any stereotypes) told my mother that since she was widowed, she now needed to move into a smaller apartment, giving up her bedroom. “Since you don’t have a husband, you can sleep with one of your kids,” she said.

I will never forget my mother’s humiliation and helplessness as we packed our things for the move down the hall. With her checklist of bureaucratic regulations and heartlessness, this government official made it clear to me that you never wanted to be in a place where you were dependent on government programs, no matter how well-meaning and benevolent. The housing might have been subsidized, but the price was inhumanly high.

My mother could have remained on welfare and in government housing her whole life if she had wanted to, but instead, she got a job as soon as she could. She got off welfare and out of the projects, moving us to a lovely two-family house in a leafy street named after the writer Charles Dickens. She worked as a senior secretary until she retired, enjoying every minute, supporting her family with no help from anyone. In her later years, what she enjoyed more than anything was putting small bills into the white envelopes that came with the dozens of charity solicitation letters that reached her every year.

Listening to the speakers at the Republican National Convention that took place in Florida last week, I was moved by how many of the speakers told similar stories.

Marco Rubio, the junior senator from Florida, told how his Cuban immigrant parents had arrived penniless to the US from a country no longer free, and how America had allowed them the opportunity to work hard and dream hard.

“My father worked as a bartender in the back of the room so that I could stand at this podium in front of the room,” said Rubio.

Again and again, I was moved by the celebration of loving, hardworking parents, loyalty to wives, commitment to raising families, and the love of God. It was a reaffirmation of the America I once knew, a place where people worked hard, saved, and strove through education to better their lives. No one wanted, or expected, handouts or quick riches. No one wanted, or expected, the government to become part of their life, unless they were very, very unlucky, unthrifty, lazy, ill, or had suffered tragedy.

President Barack Obama, speaking in Omaha on September 1, characterized these ideas as a “rerun of the same old policies that have been sticking it to the middle class for years.” Yes, ideas that I grew up with in the Fifties, ideas that turned America into the most prosperous and most powerful country in the world. As Marco Rubio said, “the only change [brought about by Obama] in the last four years is that hope is hard to find.”

As I learned from my mother, the greatest gift government can provide for the poor is employment opportunities and education. Or as Mitt Romney said: “What America needs is jobs, lots of jobs.”

Obama – quite aside from his disastrous policies toward Israel, which after four years of “talking to Iran” now leave us facing a nuclear-armed, genocidal regime that continues to publicly declare its intention of wiping Israel off the map – is destroying the best things about America, my birthplace.

When my great-grandparents emigrated to America from Fastov in the Ukraine in 1909, they came to get away from the all-pervasive influence of government that restricted and embittered their lives and economic activities. They came because America was a new country with new ideas; a country that gave people not streets paved with gold, but opportunities to use their creativity and labor to build something of their own. Many immigrants did build businesses of their own, most of them mom-and-pop shops, that paid the taxes that built the roads, not the other way around.

Listening to Mitt Romney, who built something of his own with his creativity and hard work; to Paul Ryan, whose parents did the same, I was flooded by the memories of the America I had been born into, and the values I had been brought up with.

But something has happened to America in the past few years. I don’t know how to describe it except to give you the following example. Years ago, I was on a flight from one American city to another when the boarding-pass machine broke down. After waiting patiently for more than two hours, we were still told no one could board until the machine was fixed.

I remember thinking to myself then: if this were Israel, some former tank commander-turned-airline employee would be writing out boarding passes by hand by this point and getting this show on the road. The Americans seemed truly paralyzed by this situation. The passengers made no demands that airline employees get their act together, and seeming to regard the mess as an act of God.

This is the attitude I see in many of Obama’s supporters, who after the dismal failure of the past four years wish to elect him for another term. I find that not only inexplicable on a rational level, but anti-American in the deepest sense, going against every American value I cherish.

As an Israeli, there is no question in my mind that Mitt Romney, who spoke of Israel with such warmth, and who believes a free world is a more peaceful world, will not be bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia, or making a dear friend out of Turkish Islamist Ergodan when he is elected. But the reason that I will use my overseas voting ballot to vote for him is not because I’m Israeli, but because I am an American.

I will vote for him not because his ideas are new, but because they are the same solid, unchanging ideas that are the bedrock of America’s greatness. His promises – to make use of America’s own energy sources to make her energy independent; to forge trade agreements with consequences for countries that don’t play fair; to cut the deficit by spending less; and to show America’s friends more loyalty – may not be new, but they will make America a better, more successful country.

Most of all, I believe him when he promises to get America working again, ending the heartbreak of 23 million unemployed Americans. It’s a promise his opponents will no doubt make as well. But unlike the incumbent, a law professor with no experience in business of any kind, Romney is a successful businessman with actual, real-world experience regarding how such jobs are created. He is also a person grounded in tried and true American values. He is someone I understand as I never have understood Barack Obama, and still don’t.

Rededicating Americans to the ideas that once made their country the most powerful force for good in the world may not be trendy or new, but it is the best way forward for America, for Israel, and for every decent person hoping for a better life everywhere in the world.

This article was published in the Jerusalem Post on 09 September 2012.

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44 comments on “Voting for America”

  1. MarionL

    I’m a 1969 Jewish feminist graduate of Far Rockaway High School and one of my closest high school friends also grew up in a project with “chains around the grass.”
    Naomi Ragen’s endorsement of Mitt Romney is inaccurate, misleading and sad. Naomi Ragen, who writes so beautifully about the issues facing women: domestic violence, rape, and the dangers of extreme fundamentalism among others – wantes us to vote for a Republican Party candidate running on a Republican Party platform that would cut funding for domestic violence programs and rape crisis centers, along with criminalizing abortion even in cases of rape and incest.
    Peel away all of the Republican Party’s bootstrap rhetoric and you will find mean spirited men like Chris Christie of New Jersey who demonize teachers, demean women like Ms. Ragen’s mother, and have no problem increasing welfare for wealthy corporations while slashing it for women and children in need.
    Mitt Romney does not care if secretaries like Ms. Ragen’s hard-working mother pay more of their income in taxes than their bosses. Indeed, that is the tax policy he embraces. In sum, Mitt Romney is the candidate of the wealthiest 1% and, as one of his taped appearances revealed, he has nothing but snobbery and contempt for the working poor and middle class people who comprise 47% of the population.
    President Obama is not perfect. However, as a Jewish feminist I will proudly vote again for the President who signed the Lilly Ledbetter Act, eliminated discrimination against gays in the military, supports marriage equality, and made it possible for my daughter to have health insurance under my husband’s plan through age 26. That is what I call Tzedek, Tzedek, Tirdof in action!

  2. Surak

    Reading the comments on this beautiful, intelligent essay by a beautiful, intelligent patriot and Zionist has been a depressing experience. What type of madness infects my people? They hysterically shriek their exaggerated, apocalyptic fears of Israel’s best friends, while adoring our enemies. Why do Jews find it so difficult to come to grips with reality? Why do we hate our protectors and love our enemies? It is certain that the majority, although not all, of the 0bama-bots cannot stand Judaism, or else have perverted it by replacing the Torah with the Communist Manifesto. Those who reject the Torah will be cut off from their people; those who defend it have a share in the World to Come.

    • MarionL

      The madness is in any Jewish citizen who would abandon the ethical imperatives of seeking peace and pursuing justice to vote for a candidate and a party – the Republican Party of Mitt Romney – that panders to racism, wages war on women’s rights, and cares only for the wealthiest 1% of the population.
      President Obama is not perfect. However, as a Jewish feminist I will proudly vote for him again because he supports equal pay for equal work, reproductive freedom, and (contrary to all of the extreme right wing propaganda) a safe and secure Israel.

  3. Pingback: My Fellow Jewish Americans, is This Your Grandparents Democrat Party? | Tribble News

  4. J.S.

    Naomi, you have so eloquently expressed (given words) to what I’ve been feeling. As an American living abroad, I, too, suspect there’s something gravely amiss with the latest generation of Americans. (One of the most awful, awful images was seeing some young Americans at an “occupy Wall Street” protest doing a “call/response” routine. it was so creepy. I cannot imagine my own generation, back in the 60s, even during the most fervent protests, allowing themselves to mindlessly, idiotically, robotically repeat chants after “dear Leader” — where’s the independence of thought? the freedom of individual expression? Now it’s all about “group think?” I can’t get over it — no self-respecting American should be caught doing such things. They should be embarrassed and ashamed of themselves. But, of course, they’re not. (Also I cannot believe how blind the Obama-bots are — what is it about *bankruptcy* that they don’t understand? What’s Obama’s plan, other then spend, spend, spend with borrowed Chinese money — his plan? hire more teachers and build windmills?? Or billions more to be squandered on ridiculous crony projects to keep his “friends” happy or how Medicare is going to be radically depleted by Obama so as to fund his plan for the expansion of health care (and beyond a doubt free medical care to all the illegals he’s also now allowed into the country via executive fiat)? I shudder to think what America will look like after another 4 years, if this, this individual gains re-election.

  5. Nancy H.

    You need to read Obama Care. It is Obama who has raided Medicare to pay for Obama-Care, taking more than 700 billion dollars out of Medicare provider payments which will make Medicare reimbursement worse than Medicaid within the next few years, starting with higher Medicare premiums and lower reimbursement in 2013. The Democrats have no plan to save Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security which are on the way to bankruptcy, if not reformed. The most recent version of Ryan’s plan leaves current seniors and those 55 and younger in the current Medicare System and preserves that option for those younger than 55 as well, but the younger citizens will have the option of using the premium support or traditional Medicare. It saves it rather than letting it die. Obama-Care has 1)raised health insurance premiums due to the mandates on insurance companies,2) burdened doctors (like me) to spend thousands of dollars on instituting electronic medical records or face fines, and 3) will likely cause millions of Americans now receiving health insurance through their employers to lose their insurance in 2014 when the employer mandate insists that employers pay 80% or more of the inflated premiums or pay a fine which will be much less expensive.

  6. Naomi R

    Excellent as always and truly from the heart. For the past four years we, both Americans and friends of, have been subjected to the Barack Obama policy of “Hope & Change.” The hope that things don’t get any worse and the change from true democracy to more and more government control. Now he wants us to go “forward,” towards Islamization perhaps. The Romney/Ryan ticket is our best hope. Not just for continued freedom in the US, but ultimately the continued survival of our Jewish Homeland.

  7. Emily Panzer DeRosa

    Doesn’t anyone remember if you forget the past you are doomed to relive it? Antisemitism is alive and waiting to rise again. Any Jew who votes for obama is buying HIS propaganda. Please don’t vote for a man who loves the enemies of Israel. If you are pro choice in Iran you will be stoned. If you profess to be homosexual you will be hung.Obama was not for gay marriage until his daughter flip flopped him. Whatever will get him elected he will do. I too spent some years in a housing project in NY, till I married and got my mom out of there also. And she had a full time but she was a widow who didn’t make enough money Unfortunately, many people have been dwelling there all of their lives and receiving welfare for just as long. I don’t want to surprise anyone but some of them are cheating the system!!! Something is wrong with that. Millions are on Medicaid,
    people who work are lucky enough to have medical benefits, and the remaining are in need. But should we have to pay for the undocumented? Jobs are the answer.

  8. Stuart T

    Your comment that President Barack Obama, speaking in Omaha on September 1, characterized these ideas as a “rerun of the same old policies that have been sticking it to the middle class for years…” The comment was immediately after commenting about Republican “…loving, hardworking parents, loyalty to wives, commitment to raising families, and the love of God. It was a reaffirmation of the America I once knew, a place where people worked hard, saved, and strove through education to better their lives.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Your comments imply that these attributes are held only by Republicants! AND they are wrong, because the President was commenting on real policies and plans that the Republicants speak of…not those quoted above. SO NAOMI YOUR COMMENTS ARE BLASPHEMOUS AND WRONG! Write what you want but talk about facts. Don’t mislead, and don’t imply honorable ways of life are held only by 1 party because they aren’t…PERIOD!!

    • Wendy Edelson

      they may have been held by both parties in the past, in another incarnation of the Democratic Party but as evidenced by the absurd chaotic throwing out of G-d and Jerusalem from the platform and then, after 3 attempts, finally being shamed into deeming them back in…this current version of the Democratic Party is actually the one deserving of the “Blasphemous” moniker.
      also, while I am Jewish, I was still offended at the hundreds of Twitter and Facebook suggestions to Father Dolan that he commit unnatural acts on himself, after his benediction at the end of the convention in which, against the DNC platform, he maintained his support for the sanctity of life.

      These are Obama’s faithful and he does nothing to quell the hate.
      If America re-elects Barack Obama, they will get the government they deserve… longer will the Democrats be able to blame Bush.

  9. Kim Segar

    I see your heart Naomi. I remember telling you who and what obama was. at the time you told me not to go spreading those lies around 🙂 It was a relief to see you found out truth. IF people would listen to obama talk, like old people to sacrifice ..they accuse the Rep of throwing gramma off the cliff, we should realize it was their add and they will send all of them 70 and older off the cliff. Scripture tells us what G-d has to say about wickedness in high places. warning for Genesis 12:3 who is cursed. The dire warning of deviding His land. I see no difference of either Rep or Dem ..the global warning is a lie, but it is in scripture describing what G-d will do to those in disobeidence. I am a STAND with Israel lady. in every way. Both sides put all the money we paid into SS etc, spent it like tricks out of a box, and both sides is together on most things. Bush and obama , friends of Saudi’s.. now the US is fool of them..Shalom..Israel will stand forever..that is the good news..

  10. oldfather

    Glad you have only one vote…evidently you did not listen (or chose not to hear) when the Prez acknowledged that the mess of his predecessor had taken longer to turn around that he (or anyone) thought. You probably did not listen (or chose not to hear) when the opposition leader, rather than seek compromises that would have helped put the USA back to work instead uttered his famous “My goal is to make Obama a one-term president.” Obviously, you like the unanimity of the nodding heads of the GOP vis-à-vis dissent, discussion decision by the Dems. Obviously you did not listen (or chose not to hear) the words of your savior, Mitt, when he suggested “Let GM sink.” Mr. Romney’s statement over the past 10 years have shown him to be the biggest changeling since Boy George’s Karma Chameleon. FYI – After the other George (W, that is) got us entangled in Vietnam of the Middle East while searching for the non-existent WMDs, the taste of another war (with Iran) is not a happy flavor on the tongues of most Americans. Oh, yes, wasn’t the flushing and offing of one Osama bin Laden accomplished under THIS president’s watch? And were not the ousting of authoritarian regimes in Tunisia and Libya achieved without ONE American soldier on the ground? And did you know that US Corporations are sitting on billions of $$ in cash, holding off hiring until after the election (can you guess why)? And where in the universe can the claim of Mitt Romney donating $30 million a year to charity be substantiated?

    If you like Romney because you are wealthy and believe he will help you preserve and grow your assets, kol hakavod? It is certainly your right to state that you like Romney because you perceive he will be a better international promoter of Israel’s security. If Romney is your man because you think he has a better plan than the current president for solving our economic problems, good for you. But, remember, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. For every Rambam edict, there is a equally accepted view elicited by Ramban. State your opinion anytime, but don’t confuse it with facts.

  11. John Ladd

    Reading the letters in response to your thoughtful article I was amazed to read the ignorance of so many who thought you had gone astray. I am on medicare and 78 years of age and have no fear of losing it under a Romney adminstration but with inteligent confidence that an additional term for Obama would see the end of medicare among many other things we worked for. Those who seem to think the democrats are for the old and infirm have forgotten that the democrats were the party of the KKK and it was the republicans under Lincoln which freed the slaves. The democrats gave us the income tax and the IRS plus the loss of real money and the federal reserve to replace it.

    • Jim

      Because he’s sparing those over age 55 to get the elderly vote. Everyone under 55, however, will only get a voucher with no guarantee it will cover one’s health expenses. The guarantee of Medicare? Poof! Gone.

  12. Talya R.

    Dear Naomi,

    Thank you for writing so eloquently. You are absolutely correct.

    I will never forget the sound of the boos against Israel, Jerusalem, and God at the Democratic convention. I hope that the sound of hate sounded the alarm for my fellow Jews on the left.
    The Obama’s presidency has been driving, supporting, and fueling a very dark and hostile agenda toward Israel and Judeo-Christian values. It has opened the gates to people who are anti-American/Western civilizations and Israel/Jews. This president hopes to create a huge welfare society that will depend on his administration from cradle to the grave and therefore keep him and the Democratic party in power. America under President Obama is on its way to become, like Europe, an abyss of never-satisfied parasites who expect more and more from the government and less and less of themselves.
    I am Jewish and never shared nor bought President Obama’s “hopes and dreams” to fundamentally change America. The America that I love, like Israel, is full of brave, every day heroes, hard working and decent people who create, invent, innovate, give generously, love and cherish their freedom, and dream big. So, yes, like you, I will vote for America, God and the unity of Jerusalem, capital of Israel.

  13. R Gold

    You have a right to prefer Mitt Romney for U.S. president, but to disparage all Obama supporters as
    “anti-American in the deepest sense…going against every American value” is mean, irrational, and arrogant. You are entitled to your righteous opinion, but this does not give you the right to attack and slander the millions of Obama supporters who are also patriotic Americans,and who also care about this country and its values. Granted you are a U.S. citizen who loves America, but as an Israeli resident I don’t think you should be telling U.S. residents for whom to vote, just as I in America would not tell you how to vote in an Israeli election.

    • Stuart T

      I completely agree with this poor use of the power of the press…unfortunately typical of right leaning thinkers. Why is that way of disparaging others found so acceptable?

  14. Richard Roberts

    Naomi — I am an American Christian who spent four years in Israel. You hit the ball out of the park with this piece. Brilliant — every American should read this. Your rendition of what is going on in America today and the differences between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are right on the money. Obama’s secular ” postmodernism” world view where relativism, not truth, rules the day has taken hold in many quarters, and frankly many others seem have no idea what this man is doing to this Country as they continue to swallow traditional Leftist fear arguments in making their voting decisions. For example, in regard to support for Israel amonsgt the growing Middle East Contagion ( forget Arab Spring ), look at how many DNC delegates showed their contempt for Israel during the now infamous Jeruslaem vote. Dear Lord what’s happened here? Didn;t folks see that? With regard to the American Economy and jobs look at the abysmally small GDP growth rate ( another recession could easily occur) and how the workforce particpation rate has fallen to an all time low of only 63% from approximately 69% in last three years. If you understand how the powers that be calculate the unemployment rate, it means its closer to 15% not 8 plus% of the work force. Look at yearly deficits and our national debt ( cumulative deficits) and understand this nation is on the brink of bankruptcy under Obama’s leadership and he has no plan other than to increase spending and increase taxes on the so-called rich which will serve only to make things worse. :ook at Obamacare which will destroy Medicare for seniors and many still do not understand that Obamacare in fact takes over 700 Billion from Medicare,and this adminstration still attempts to persuade seniors that it does not. It does! Hope and change has now become depair and doom for many Americans. This man Obama failed and he needs to be fired in November. We do not all belong to the Obama Imperial Czarist Government. In America the government belongs to ” we the people” and it soon wil again. God Bless you!

  15. Andrea

    To all – pro Obama, pro Romney, pro Israeli, pro life, pro choice, pro America – passionate folks all – you and I wouldn’t be here if what is happening in this world, and in particular to the very vulnerable Israel, was not important to us.

    As thinking adults we have the capacity to change our views and for that reason I am attaching a video and challenge each of you to watch it and put yourself into the video and answer the questions posed to the young people in it.

    Please do not be put off by the fact that at the beginning it just looks like one of those videos showing how dumb young (American) people can be. It is so much more than that and it definitely goes to the question of voting in America. Thank you and my God bless the passionate.

    • magesg

      I found the youtube video recommendation to be extremely inappropriate. The content is religous propoganda and politically motivated.

  16. Hallie Lerman

    Clarity is how your write. Today, this Transformative President has given us a devasting economy, (Read Mort Zuckerman in The Wall St. Journal (9/8/12) dangerous policies abroad that perceive us an weak and incompetent, as he makes off-mike promises with hidden agendas, a disrespect and contempt for Israel and Her Elected Leaders. The Jews in America are asleep. This was demonstrated by the hard/core Left Wing Base, by mean and distorted, angry faces that revealed an antipathy during the Jersualem debacle at the DNC. “Words in Charter just do not walk off the page.” There is no public discourse of ideas. But, from the Left a vicious attack on the personalites, because Obama has a dismal record to run on. They create vicious lies without understanding Romney’s policies. 99% of what Romney is accused of, he never said nor believes. Liberal Jews fell in love with a dream but that dream has been shattered by a man who possesses a philosophy that is dangerous and disingenuous. See the movie 2016 to grasp this. Obama was never a Professor at The University of Chicago. He was a contract Lecturer who, in his twelve years, published nothing but an autobiography at 30 years of age! WXW

  17. Sad Day

    The lesson you did not learn is that your mother likely never voted for a Republican.

  18. Judith

    For those who say, “What would you have done if
    the housing/welfare had not been there?” That’s
    not the point. The point is the purpose for Welfare. It is there to be used until a person works their way out of needing it. Its purpose is not to use it as a lifetime crutch. I, too, used Welfare at one time in my life but knew the right thing to do was to use it until I worked
    (yes, worked) my way out of needing it. The integrity of Welfare’s original purpose has been

  19. Hallie Lerman

    You beautifully expressed with clarity the situation in the US. Hostile comments reflect the inability of people on the Left to accept that the man they voted for, is not the man they think he is. He is literally turning America 180% up-side-down. I would advise them to see the movie, 2016. There is no longer public discourse from the Left about ideas. It is a culture of personal attack and vicious lies. From the Left/Base, a deep-rooted anti-Semitism/Israel has taken old. It was revealed at the DNC, during the vote on Jersualem; in the contorted and angry faces. Jews in America are asleep. They voted for a dream and an ideal in 2008. But the dream failed, Obama is only a man of broken promises. We now live in an economy that is literally our new modern Depression. Read Mort Zuckerman in the Wall St. Journal, 9/8/12 to understand how serious and how bad the joblessness and the economy really is. We are paying a price for Obama’s policies both here and abroad.There will be harsh and devastating long range consequence of his policies, if he is re-elected. Obama was never a Professor. After 12 years, at the University of Chicago, he was only a contract Lecturer, who published nothing, but his autobiography at the age of 30.

  20. Wendy Edelson

    Please, if you would, post documentation of the states under Republican governance who want to monitor the fertility status of women in child-bearing years. The Republican Party does not want to keep women “barefoot and pregnant” where on earth do these talking points come from? Facts please.
    thank you.

  21. Deborah

    Like Naomi, I also have dual American-Israeli citizenship but unlike her, I live in the US with frequent visits to Israel. If I were a young male, I would probably emphasize my Jewish interests and vote for Romney. However I’m a senior-citizen female with a 91 year old mother. And I doubly fear Romnney both as a female and as a senior citizen. My mother paid 26 years into Medicare and until this spring hardly needed any health insurance. This spring she broke both an arm and a leg and then became dependent upon Medicare. Even with her coverage, she still has to pay $10,000 plus out of pocket. The doctors who accept Medicare assignment get approximately 10 cents – yes – 10 cents to the dollar for medical treatment and x-rays. If that’s the medical reimbursement doctors receive under a Democratic administration, I’d hate to think what the voucher system would be under Romney. Ron Paul proclaims “vouchers, vouchers, vouchers…” however the following critical words are missing from his platform: vouchers “for health insurance premiums at current market price.” Critical omission.

    My two daughters are terrified by the national Republican Party. And if I were younger, I would be too. As far as I’m concerned, all they want is to keep women pregnant and barefoot. I don’t expect taxpayers to underwrite contraception but many Republican states want to monitor the fertility status of women in child-bearing ages. Please become more aware of the heartless anti-female agenda of the Republican Party; maybe you wouldn’t take such a jaundiced view of Obama.

  22. Henri-Dominique Paratte

    Oh my, Naomi. You’re a great novelist and a brilliant woman, and you can certainly vote for whomever you want as an American abroad. But…what would you have done if there had not been any welfare support for your mother at all? what would the Cash family, that produced one of the icons of US culture, have done? Yes, welfare was humiliating in those days. It was even worse in Canada, a country seen by many in the US as dangerously socialist in this respect. However, once you had your lovely house…you’re lucky you didn’t have to mortgage it heavily for a major operation or a costly treatment – items that both Bill and Hillary Clinton (unsuccessfully) and barack Obama (successfully) were able to solve, since those friendly United States you so extoll were a disgrace in the Western world with millions of Americans with no health coverage at all. It’s so sad to see an intelligent woman write in all seriousness that Mitt Romney believes in peace…when all the warmongers that gave us the Iraqi and the Afghan fiascos, and live off arms sales, are ready to pounce on Washington and launch another war, against Iran this time, as soon as a Republican president might possibly be elected. It’s so sad to read that Mitt Romney is such a nice entrepreneur…when he primarily bought entreprises to sell them off for profit and sack workers, i.e people like your mother. The only reason the US survives economically today is because of massive loans by the Chinese government, and the fact that the US dollar – which has lost 32% of its value in the last 5 years against the Canadian dollar – is still the basic money for trading, despite the humongous debt of the USA, and despite the fact that the US economy is directly responsible for the subprime and investment crisis that is rocking scores of economies and putting lots of young people in Europe in the chains of welfare and unemployment for a long, long time – without much state assistance. Yes, Barack Obama, whose election represented a major progress 4 years ago in breaking the wall of racism and who is still being attacked by all possible racists (including a massive number in the grassroots Republicans), is not a savior. He could not fix overnight an economy left in shambles by the neocon, overly liberal, warmongering persidency that preceded him, nor he can negotiate overnight a settlement in the Middle East that no government has been able to negotiate for the last fifty years. But he’s trying to find solutions with something else than bombs that kill, maim, destroy and foster further hate while making oodles of money for those who finance the Republican party and some Middle Eastern arms dealers. Yes, Naomi, you survived thanks through some measures, however humiliating and inadequate, that former Democratic US governements put in place. Being on welfare has never been seen as a goal in life, but a period of transition enabling you to move to something else. I find it a little sad that, now that you’re financially secure, that you opted to live outside the US in a country that survives to an important extent with financial and political support by the USA, you choose to vote for those whose selfishness, prejudice, and lack of social solidarity is so obvious to any observer. And, however much I despise Iranian anti-Jewish posturing, however much I am convinced that Iran lies about its nuclear plants, I am not ready to agree that we should let the whole of the Middle East catch on fire because of another George W. Bush-type, ill-conceived military enterprise, the consequences of which at this point would be impossible to predict, even for Israel.

  23. WritingZombie

    Beautifully written. For you who say Romney will only throw the poor and the needy under the bus, let’s consider the private lives of the men running against each other. Romney donates over 30% of his income to charity — church, charitable organizations, and foundations. And that’s just what’s on his tax return. Our POTUS has several family members that he refuses to acknowledge or help, including his brother’s young son who needed a mere $1,000 for heart surgery. He tax return shows he gave 14% of his income to charity. I don’t think Romney is looking for a way to starve or disenfranchise anyone.

  24. Beth Martin

    Naomi, I too have been a fan of your for many years. I am Roman Catholic, and many of my fellow RC religionists (and bishops) saw no evil in borrowing $6 trillion in the past four years, and putting the repayment burden on new babies. I thought theft was prohibited in the Ten Commandments but maybe 21st century realtivism changed the rules.

    What do RC bishops and RC parishoners think of borrowing another $4 trillion in the next four years? Those still in a fog of illogic don’t mind at all – the more we can borrow from suckers and re-distribute in a benevolent manner, the easier to aggrandize our benevolent selves. This ought to be in the DSM-IV as a form of suicide, condemning our unborn children to bankruptcy and chaos so the grandparents can feel like ominipotent benefactors.

    The White House 2013 budget was put together about 6 month ago, before the USA’s economic growth dropped to less than 2%, so the obscene borrowing promised in the president’s budget for 2013 to 2017 is only like to get worse.

    What’s the White House plan for you and me? See Table 7.l of the 2013 White House Budget. Just google “white house budget 2013 Table 7.l” and read away.

    I know Catholics are literary, and Jews also, so get the facts before you vote. Do you think China will permit us to stiff them on the trillions we owe them? Get ready to cede Hawaii, coal reserves on government lands, oil rights offshore, etc.

    In March 2012, individual Greeks learned the meaning of an insolvent government. They were informed 70 cents of every dollar owned on maturing bonds would not be paid, ever. Concerning the remaining 30 cents, 17 cents was given in bonds, which are now considered worthless junk bonds. So friends, look it up. That is your future if we continue on this ruinous economic path.

  25. Merry

    Obama – quite aside from his disastrous policies toward Israel, which after four years of “talking to Iran” now leave us facing a nuclear-armed, genocidal regime that continues to publicly declare its intention of wiping Israel off the map – is destroying the best things about America, my birthplace…..
    Naomi, I truly respect the thoughts that went into sharing this with us……I am a pro-choice Republican woman who understands the best way to lift women up is to place a ‘fair playing groung’ in front of them. Therefore, you would think I would be supporting Obama. That said, I did not vote for him in 2008. But I was here living the meltdown on Wall Street and had more than a handful of friends see their 401k plans on life support. Today their 401k’s have doubled and, not counting government jobs, Obama has created 4.5 mil jobs. Life here day to day in America (aside from the horrific violence-nothing new to most Israeli’s, and quickly becoming not so uncommon news to us) things are better. Point being, Romney will not be able to do what he says he wants to do because he will start from scratch in building relationships in the Congress……THAT IS OUR ISSUE HERE……..the CONGRESS……….Just wanted to thank you and RANT from Florida and ask your readers to give pause and reflect on what Obama inherited and know from living in Israel, change worth having takes time

  26. Stugee1

    Naomi, you are so right in so may ways. Our country, under the Democrats, is drifting into a morass of immorality where crony capitalism and union bosses rule. Where giving out free birth control is more important than paying off debts. Where “we’re broke” seems to have no meaning. Where 1/3 of Americans receive assistance from the government and nearly 50% pay no income taxes.

    And, as you note, where Israel being wiped off the face of the earth just might not be such a bad thing.

    • MarionL

      Naomi Ragen is right about many things and wrong about Romney and the current extremist Republican Party. Under Republican Party policies Ms. Ragen’s late mom would have received little or no help at all when she needed it the most, because the only form of welfare that the current Republicans believe in is welfare in the form of tax breaks for large corporations, millionaires and billionaires.
      President Obama supported the Lily Ledbetter Act and thinks that women are capable of making their own decisions about their reproductive health. By contrast, the Republican Party is waging a war against women and supporting racist voter suppression laws.
      As a Jewish feminist, I will proudly vote for President Obama for a second time.

  27. seraz

    Obama will also adjust the temperature of the Sun to reduce Global Warming (or Global Cooling, whatever the need might be). He will also print enough dollars so that everybody can be a millionaire. Everybody in the whole world, not just in America.

  28. Ann

    Thank you Naomi for writing a truly wonderful and article.
    Ruth Berman, Rabbi Fleishig, and EDG are truly hilarious. If they meant it as comedy, it wasn’t very bright. If they meant their comments seriously, they neither very bright or knowledgeable.

    I really don’t understand the stubborness of the American Jews to continue to support the Democratic party. Some of us were taught to think for ourselves.

  29. Roxanne Brie

    I have been a fan of yours for many years and have enjoyed reading all your books. But I think you are misguided in your conclusion about Romney being better for Americans. It is true that he would be better for wealthy Americans, but it is not true for average Americans. While we have had Republicans in office for several years until Obama was elected, the rich have been getting richer but the average person has been getting poorer. Prices keep going up but wages don’t seem to be going up. I am a 69 year old retired woman who worked from age 18 to 68 and now that I am retired, life is getting harder and harder for me and for the people that I know. Having Republicans in office again will only make it worse for us.

  30. Arlene

    IMO you are a great writer of fiction and I love your books. Unfortunately you continue to write fiction in your opinion pieces. The Democratic platform is about giving a hand up, not a hand out, as was celebrated throughout their convention. Too bad you missed it or distorted it to fit your preconceived notions.



  32. Wendy Edelson

    Naomi, I couldn’t agree with you more. Thank you.

    a note to EDG…
    nowhere in Naomi’s piece was there a lack of gratitude, more a description of a service that that her family was only too thrilled to be rid of as soon as they possibly could….and did.

    Also no where and never have Romney/Ryan said they would end assistance for those who need it….but that their position is to support and provide everything necessary for an environment that enables people to create and find meaningful work and be independent, to live lives that make them proud of their endeavors and self sufficiency, and fulfill their G-D-GIVEN rights.

  33. ruth Berman

    Your mindset about Obams,and your belief that Romnet has any sense of what it means not to have is totally misconstrued. Either you are a racist or have no idea what has transpired in thevU S these past 12 years..mening what Bush did to aid his rich friend and destroy our economy and the effort to change that, inspite of the Republian congres “vowing” to say no to any progress Obama wanted to make.
    We have come to the parting of the ways.I have two adult children 13 grand children and 10′ great grand children,kain nehorah,living in Israelb,who also have dual citizenship and don’t have the narrow minded ness that you have.

  34. Rabbi Fleishig

    Romney/Ryan will re-enslave blacks, drag women kicking and screaming back into the kitchen, shoot the unemployed and send all immigrants – legal and illegal – back to where they came from. They will also burn all library books and cover the country with oil wells and pipelines,increase global warming, melt the polar ice caps, and then applaud as millions of the 99% drown when the rising oceans flood their bankrupt cities.
    Obama, on the other had, will stop the rise of the oceans.

    • MBR

      Rabbi Fleishig….the Republican party fought the Klu Klux Klan, the Republican party gave blacks the right to vote, the Republican party gave women the right to vote, the first black person elected to a political office, the first woman elected to a political office, the first Hispanic person elected to a political office were ALL Republicans! It was the DEMOCRAT the back the Ku Klux Klan, who fought FOR slavery and fought against women’s rights! If you actualy stiudy some American history you will see this is true! I am so amazed a Rabbi would say such things that are so easily proven to be incorect. At the RNC, ALL the “liberal” news outlets cut away from the speakers of color…both men and women and the Hispanic speakers…this is also factual and easily proven. Who is racist here? Also, there was no booing of God and no booing of Israel at the RNC like there was at the DNC. Shameful.

  35. EDG

    You have lived in Israel for 40 years, but retain your American citizenship. Isn’t that interesting.

    You talk about living in public housing, but are not grateful it was there for you when you needed it. If Romney/Ryan are elected there will not be any public housing, medicaid, unemployment insurance or food stamps. You will really be on your own.

    It that really what you want for the country in which you no longer live?

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