May do more to repopulate the world's Jews than the creation of Israel.To talk their elders out of voting for Sen. John McCain.
schlep :A long and tiresome Journey/walk.
- If you need proof that this is the most important election in a generation, get this: Jewish grandkids are flying to Florida to visit their grandparents - without being guilted into it - to talk their elders out of voting for Sen. John McCain.
The Jewish Council for Education and Research - a new pro-Obama political action committee - is organizing "the Great Schlep," in which hundreds of Jews will make the Southern exodus on Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 10 to 13. They will travel to the Fort Lauderdale area, where they will visit their grandparents, organize political salons in their condos and eat incredibly bad food.
The grandkids also will meet up at a bar one night, which - if the psychological impact of spending a few days with frail, elderly, widowed relatives is taken fully into account -
may do more to repopulate the world's Jews than the creation of Israel.
More than hockey moms or gun-toting God lovers, old Floridian Jews are the most important demographic in this election.
They make up about 5 percent of the voters in a swing state with 27 Electoral College votes. They never miss so much as a condo board vote and are normally reliable Democrats.
Sen. Barack Obama's trouble winning over older Jewish voters has been difficult for pollsters to explain, so I came here to visit my grandmother, Mama Ann, and find out what the hang-up is.
After a long discussion about policy, I asked her if the reason she was leaning toward voting for Mr. McCain was because Mr. Obama is black. She assured me that it was not.
Though during dinner, she did casually mention that her grandfather used to express a superstition that if you ate marrow, you'd date a black man.
I had no idea that for so many generations, Jews have hated marrow.
Mama Ann thought the three days of the Great Schlep would be very effective. "Oh boy, the grandparents will start cooking three days ahead," she said, making me worry that many Schleppers won't last through three days of canned pineapple and dry chicken. "If they see their grandchildren, they'll go along. They just need more assurance on Israel."
Israel, Mama Ann explained, is the key issue her condo friends vote on. When Mr. McCain sings about bombing Iran, he is singing a sweet serenade to Florida's electoral collegians.
To persuade Mama Ann to vote for Mr. Obama, I used many of the talking points suggested to me by Great Schlep organizer Mik Moore.
These included the fact that Mr. Obama went to Columbia and Harvard, and Mr. McCain got bad grades in college; that Mr. Obama has been criticized by the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson; and that Mr. Obama ran the business side of his campaign better than any other candidate.
I did not know that I could be so racially offended by my own people.