JEXIT Reflects Power of Persuasion Through Information, Not Pressure

October 23, 2019 Updated: October 24, 2019

Commentary

There are various reasons why people change from one political party to another. Sometimes age plays a role, while at other times, personal circumstances, such as finances, motivate the change.

Regardless of what drives people to switch parties, it’s important to make an informed decision. Toward this end, various groups have formed in recent years in hopes of persuading a group of people to “exit,” or to move away from, a specific political party.

One such group is JEXIT, whose goal is to encourage Jews and non-Jews to “exit” the Democratic Party, by informing them about how the party has changed and how those changes could affect them. Groups such as JEXIT are growing in popularity because they attempt to achieve their goals by way of dialogue and information, not pressure.

At a recent JEXIT event, several speakers (myself included) discussed some of the major differences between the Democratic Party of old and the party in its current form. Specifically, the speakers focused on how the party has changed with respect to the economy, national security/immigration, and relations with Israel.

The Economy

With respect to the economy, the audience learned about some of the differences between capitalism (which is the current system in the United States) and socialism (which is the system that many of the current presidential hopefuls and some congressional Democrats promote).

They learned about how capitalism promotes a healthy economy and job growth, and rewards people who work hard. Conversely, they learned about the risks associated with socialism, such as incredibly high taxes and redistribution of wealth under the false guise of “fairness,” as well as fewer jobs, high unemployment, and the strong possibility that businesses will close and/or leave the country.

The audience, which consisted of Republicans and some Democrats, was engaged and learned by way of examples.

In one such example, the audience was presented with a scenario in which a husband and wife had a child, and the wife subsequently became ill and was no longer able to work. The husband took care of the family for some time, but subsequently decided that he no longer wanted to work, and that the government should take care of him. The problem, of course, is that other people don’t want to work very hard to take care of the husband and his family because they have their own families and loved ones to take care of.

The audience began to understand that if too many people took the husband’s approach (socialism), the economy would likely collapse, since nobody would work.

National Security and Immigration

On the issue of national security, a great deal of emphasis was placed on the topic of illegal immigration and the risks that come with open borders, such as crime, illnesses, and lost jobs for people who are in the country legally.

The audience heard direct quotes from various Democrats, such as Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who previously vowed that, if elected, he would essentially eliminate through an executive order any kind of border detention. Other Democrats have asserted that crossing the border illegally shouldn’t be a crime under Section 1325 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which currently criminalizes such conduct.

To further show the audience how the party has changed on the issue of immigration, the listeners heard a direct quote by former President Bill Clinton during his 1995 State of the Union address:

“All Americans, not only in the states most heavily affected but in every place in this country, are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country. The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants. The public services they use impose burdens on our taxpayers. That’s why our administration has moved aggressively to secure our borders more by hiring a record number of new border guards, by deporting twice as many criminal aliens as ever before, by cracking down on illegal hiring, by barring welfare benefits to illegal aliens …. It is wrong and ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it.”

In 2014, former President Barack Obama made similar statements:

“That is our direct message to the families in Central America: Do not send your children to the borders.”

“We will build on our progress at the border with additional resources for our law enforcement personnel so that they can stem the flow of illegal crossings and speed the return of those who do cross over. … Undocumented workers broke our immigration laws, and I believe that they must be held accountable.”

By way of information, the audience learned about, and was shown, how the philosophy of the Democratic Party has shifted far to the left on the issue of immigration and border security. They began to understand how open borders without appropriate vetting hurt our country by, among other things, increasing crime and taking jobs away from American workers.

Tangentially, they began to understand why Republicans support legal immigration, the border wall, and tough border and immigration laws.

Israel

The last part of the discussion looked at the party and how its attitude toward the State of Israel has changed through the years, as has its willingness to utilize painful terminology.

The audience was reminded that some Democrats support BDS (the boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign against Israel) and criticized the State of Israel when it denied entry to Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) due to their support for BDS.

The audience also heard various statements by members of the media and Congress:

MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace compared President Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler, because Trump embraced the word “nationalist” at a rally.

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, while discussing U.S. immigration policies, compared the separation of children from their families to actions of the Nazis.

MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch echoed Scarborough’s remarks, stating: “If you vote for Trump, you are ripping children from parents’ arms. … If you vote for Trump then you, the voter, you, not Donald Trump, are standing at the border, like Nazis, going, ‘You here, you here.'”

According to the New York Post: “Kirsten Gillibrand came out against the same Israel Anti-Boycott Bill she’d once co-sponsored. Jersey’s Cory Booker voted against the Taylor Force Act that cut off funding for the Palestinians while they subsidize terrorists and their families. And Vermont’s Bernie Sanders tried to place three anti-Israel activists on the 2016 Democratic platform committee.”

Omar suggested that U.S. supporters of Israel have an “allegiance to a foreign country.” She also suggested that pro-Israel lobbying groups were buying lawmaker support for Israel. Despite this, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) didn’t feel that Omar should be singled out for censure.

Tlaib stated that thinking of the Holocaust and that Palestinians helped give Jews “a safe haven” gave her “kind of a calming feeling.”

Audience members listened to these comments and reflected on whether such comments were compatible with principles of God, love, liberty, compassion, or tolerance.

The purpose of JEXIT, generally, and of the meeting specifically, was to inform.

In the late 16th century, philosopher Francis Bacon stated that knowledge is power. With knowledge, people are able to make informed decisions or change their opinions, when warranted.

However, there’s a major distinction between pressuring people to change and providing them with the tools and information needed to make informed decisions about the different issues.

As noted during the JEXIT event, just because a person decides to “exit” the Democratic Party and vote Republican (i.e., support the president) doesn’t mean that he or she has to agree with Republicans on every issue (one need not be a one-party voter regardless of the issues). As a matter of fact, people are encouraged to think for themselves about various issues and to decide accordingly.

JEXIT is a powerful group with a wonderful message and a better approach. Its leadership recognizes the importance of information and the detrimental impact associated with pressuring people to change.

On most occasions, the former is appreciated, while the latter is counterproductive.

Elad Hakim is a writer, commentator, and attorney. His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Algemeiner, The Western Journal, American Thinker, and other online publications. 

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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