By Cheston Mizel

Here we stand, the end of a long fought battle in sight.

The whole world is watching. The stakes could not be higher.

The global economy faces continued uncertainty; regimes face instability; wars continue to rage; the threat of terrorism and unrest continue to grow. Here at home, we are careening toward the fiscal cliff as millions continue to dig their way out of the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.

On Tuesday I am going to do my civic duty to vote my conscience. I am going to vote for the person that I believe has the skills to solve our fiscal crisis, the character to defend freedom, who is genuinely concerned for Israel and its fate. On Wednesday, even if my guy loses, I am going to wake up and go about what needs to be done.

No matter who wins the Presidency, the challenges we face are larger than any one person. I do not mean to minimize the choice before us. Not at all. From my personal perspective, the choice of candidate is clear.

Nevertheless, there are others who are equally passionate on the other side. Not to mention the dangerously passionate on either extreme. Americans have become more divided than at any other time I can remember. At times, it has gotten downright nasty. I am aghast to read headlines of people threatening violence if unsatisfied with the result.

Given this environment, the spectre of an election, so close as to be contested, is perhaps the most frightening scenario of all. While reasonable people could differ on which path to take, the divisiveness and unrest that can result from any perceived injustice benefits nobody.

I sincerely hope and pray that cooler minds will prevail and that the winner of this election will have a clear victory, in which even the losing side will concede that the people have spoken. Nevertheless, no matter what happens on Tuesday, we are going to have to wake up Wednesday morning and work together to face these problems together.

One of the great lessons of history, that we dare not forget, is that when we are divided, we can become so polarized that we neglect to take responsibility for one another, no less our own actions. We justify our animosity, rationalizing it as righteous indignation.

Unless, that is, we are able to look beyond our differences and recognize that what we have in common is far more relevant and important than what divides us.

At the end of the day, we are in this together. Having been blessed to be Americans, we have a responsibility to be beacon of freedom and hope for many around the globe. If any country can lead the global economy out its current morass, it it us. If any country can lead the world to greater safety and stability, we are the best positioned to do so. The only way we can do that, is if each of us, as individuals take personal responsibility for reaching out, building bridges and healing wounds. This is something that can’t happen from the Oval Office, this is something that takes leadership from the bottom up.

Each and every one of us needs to work within the power of our own sphere of influence to build unity and it starts by reaching out a hand.

There are still millions of people in the East Coast that need our donations, our love and our support. There are millions of others who are struggling in so many ways and a society in need of healing. The general course of this nation’s future may well rest on the choice we make on Tuesday. But what matters every bit as much is what we get up and do on Wednesday and the day after that.
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This ethos of unity, and its pursuit, is something that has driven me to work to promote unity in the Los Angeles Jewish community. This election cycle has left us even more fragmented than we were before. Its time to come together and celebrate one another and the future that is ours to build. Please join me and hundreds of my closest friends for the 3rd Annual Night of Unity On November 18, 2012, and support of Jconnect and Jewlicious’ efforts to inspire and connect thousands to Jewish life. For more information:

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    • Awesome post Cheston. Not only is your call for unity very civic minded, it is also reflective of the Jewish values that we as a community share. From Ahavat Chinam to the symbolism represented by the lulav and etrog that we all recently shook, love, respect and unity with our fellow Jews is what Judaism and Jewlicious are all about.

      You should write here more often Cheston!