Reflecting on the First Week of 2021

by Dimitriy Goloborodskiy

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One of my close friends texted me yesterday and said that the last time he lived through a coup was back in the Soviet Union in 1991.  I disagreed with him and said this was not a coup and would never turn into one.  Two days later, watching the videos and reflecting on the events, I was not 100% convinced in my own statement.  

We experience democracy at its best and at times at its worst but as long as it remains a democracy we can deal with the ups and downs of our feelings.  Some things that are considered the worst on one side of the political spectrum may be viewed very differently on the other side.  This usually results in a continuous debate and at times in a court hearing.  We watch and listen intently, we may take sides, we may feel sympathetic to one side vs another, we debate the topics with our friends and we exercise our democratic rights.  We trust that the democratic system works and will prevail with all its built-in checks and balances.  Many of us who came to this country as refugees and immigrants from the former Soviet Union had to learn the meaning of what democracy is and how it works in real life.  Not only did we have to learn its meaning, but we also had to clear our heads of all the propaganda inflicted on us by the Soviet regime.  


 

On Wednesday, January 7th we did not witness American democracy at its worst or its best, it was something very different and very ugly that we no longer can call democracy.  Yet, it was not new to us by now.  We had seen something similar back in 2017 after the previous elections and we definitely had seen plenty of this "ugliness" with rioting and looting in 2020.  I am not trying to compare any of these events by any means.  What happened on Wednesday was repulsive, wrong, deplorable, shameful, and simply sad.  We don't need to compare these events because there is absolutely zero justification for this type of behavior in the American democracy despite what the media, on the left or the right, tries to prove to us. The media is simply wrong in trying to justify these ugly attacks on democracy.  

 

We create Jewish Parent Academy (JPA) with the mission to learn about who we are, what we are, where we came from, and where we are going.  We want to use this knowledge to help us chart our and our children's future.  We learn about Jewish values, laws, history, and traditions that in many respects serve as the foundation of America's democracy.  We learn that US government buildings carry the quotes of the Torah and the Jewish prophets.  There is a sculpture of Moses with the ten commandments at the top of the Supreme Court building!  How amazing is that and how so unbelievable it is for us, the Russian Jews who were brainwashed to believe that being Jewish is a form of disability.  At JPA, maybe for the first time in our lives, we experience a real sense of Jewish pride. We are free to learn about Judaism and we feel empowered being Jewish in the United States of America. We are in awe of the democracy that the American founders built and the American people have preserved.  We feel an acute sense of responsibility to preserve and protect American democracy for our children and future generations.

 

Today, we are Americans of Russian Jewish descent.  We condemn violence and bigotry. We stand for freedom of thought and speech.  We stand with America and the Judeo-Christian value system on which this great nation was built.