It has been said that politics can lead to some strange bedfellows.
Toss in social media and you end up with bed sores.
Make it local politics and it defies logic.
As is the case during a recent campaign swing by a supporter for Buffalo Grove village board candidate Dave Weidenfeld who allegedly told a resident that “…we need to unseat the Jewish people in favor of having some Christian blood on the board..”
It’s heinous enough that a mindset like that exists at all, let alone with someone campaigning on behalf of a candidate. Especially in Buffalo Grove with its sizeable Jewish population.
It gets more bizarre.
Weidenfeld is Jewish. Seriously.
Of course it made the rounds on social media as election materials have been known to do.
And while at first glance it’s tempting to make it a political attack on one group of candidates by another, it’s clearly an act of stupidity.
“What the person said was awful, offensive,” Weidenfeld said. “I can’t explain it – it makes no sense.”
This is the understatement of the day. Weidenfeld said he immediately “fired” the person from working on his campaign. Weidenfeld also said that he contacted the person who had this less than ideal conversation with the volunteer to apologize and set the record straight that this was not how he was running his campaign.
A neophyte to the world of political campaigns, this being his first one, Weidenfeld said the interaction may have drawn some attention on social media because “it is a highly contested election – emotions are pretty high.” Welcome to the world of local elections.
We’re not talking Rahm Emanuel and Jesus ”Chuy” Garcia here. We’re talking Buffalo Grove.
Racism, hatred, lack of respect has no place in a campaign. We should be beyond this – way beyond it.
But we’re not. As one poster on Facebook noted, “How many other people got the same hate message? Where are their apologies? Where are the apologies for the other Jews in the village? Or the Blacks? Or Hispanics? Or any other minorities? Bigotry by any other name is still bigotry. It doesn't belong in BG politics. It doesn't belong anywhere.”
People often get caught up in their own cultural cocoon and think the village is made of folks just like them. It’s not. For a village of fewer than 50,000 people, Buffalo Grove is extremely diverse. Its residents come from all over the world – India, Korea, Pakistan, and Burma – and that’s just on my street. Residents come from Eastern Europe, central and south America, the Middle East and all other Asian countries.
It’s who we are.
So when some Neanderthal wants to usurp the efforts of residents who want to work on behalf of their community by spewing forth venomous verbal poison, it’s going to make the rounds.
Weidenfeld said he was surprised by the timing of the posting on social media. I’m not.
Nothing should surprise anyone about social media. Stuff makes the rounds and it can happen quickly, or like the Cubs’ playoff run, can take a while.
What is surprising to some people is that aside from Weidenfeld’s apology to the resident who had the unpleasant interaction, no one else has said a word.
You can argue either side. On one side it’s an isolated case while on the other side cases like this should receive some attention to let residents know that this kind of stuff happens and it does not belong in a campaign.
No matter for whom you are voting for.