By Rabbi Rick Sherwin
A CANDIDATE’S QUOTE – My wife Elissa and I toured the State Capitol Building while visiting our daughter Nomi in Indianapolis. A large plaque of Wendell Willkie, the 1940 Republican presidential candidate from Indiana, welcomes visitors into the rotunda with this quote that should bridge both sides of the aisle:
“I believe in America, because in it we are free:
free to choose our government and speak our minds,
to observe our different religions,
because we hate no people and covet no people’s land,
because we have great dreams,
and because we have the opportunity
to make those dreams come true.”
Indiana expresses tremendous pride in its native sons and daughters in each area of public life: politicians (e.g., Wendell Willkie, Julia May Carson), sports personalities (e.g., John Wooden, Larry Bird), musicians (e.g., Cole Porter, Michael Jackson, John Mellencamp), entertainers (e.g., Red Skelton, David Letterman), movie stars, television personalities, educators and scientists…
At the same time, the Hoosier State acknowledges with open regret and embarrassment dark times in Indiana’s history. Exhibits in the Indiana State Museum openly acknowledge the savage brutality that allowed the Indiana Territory and the United States to steal Native American lands, devastate entire communities, and destroy Native American culture.
Indiana’s political maturity is revealed in the ability to balance ‘what was’ with ‘what should be’. It reflects the insight offered by American humorist Will Rogers, a Cherokee citizen born in the Cherokee Nation:
“Good judgment comes from experience,
and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.”
Rabbi Rick Sherwin, a graduate of UCLA, was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. Rabbi Rick’s passion is filling spiritual services and interfaith educational programs with creativity, relevance, dialogue, and humor.