We've met the enemy
Not much politics here. A long national holiday begins a few days before Rosh Hashanah and extends till two days after Succot. In Jewish tradition, there is a day after a holiday, perhaps to provide for recuperation.
All told, that’s close to a month without politics.
When things get going again in a few days, we may hear how the greats and near greats are responding to the UNESCO decisions about the lack of a Jewish claim to the Temple Mount, and the expansion of a regional war with new atrocities from Nigeria, across Libya and Egypt, and on through Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.
Meanwhile, American politics are more exciting. And since the president is also as close to anyone as leader of the world, it will impact on everyone else, either by what she/he does, or chooses not to do.
As it looks from here, my recollection of Pogo is relevant. He could have written the script.
We’ve met the enemy and they are us.
Some of the usually repressed, ugliest of American traits are front and center, and have a chance of carrying this election. Racism and its anti-ethnic equivalents, along with an outspoken disregard for women have been prominent in Trump’s campaign, getting enthusiastic responses from his supporters.
The themes have been in U.S. culture forever. Abe Lincoln grew up with them, and freed the slaves as much out of a military tactic as any inbred sense of human rights.
The Know Nothings were a political party active before the Civil War in opposition to Catholics and other immigrants. It’s appropriate to employ its label now, given what we know about Trump supporters.
Hillary is not the best candidate to deal with the threat.
The New York Times headlined an article, “Issues in Hillary Clinton’s Past leave Her Muted in Furor Over Donald Trump.” Its essence was that “her old missteps and her husband’s history have effectively paralyzed her during a moment of widespread outrage.”
It’s not only her weakness with respect to Trump’s record on women. Her problem with email monkey business has traction, along with the wishy-washy response of the FBI and reports that Bill talked with the attorney general about the problem, and more recent news that a senior State Department official offered a quid pro quo to the FBI in exchange for a favorable ruling on Hillary’s emails. Adding to the image of sleaze are reports about the Clinton Foundation, and the function of contributions to acquire access to the secretary of state.
Despite the negatives associated with Donald Trump, my mailbox has received several messages from well-educated American Jews who write in the mode of “Anybody but Clinton.”
One of the more informative polls appeared in the Washington Post. It came amidst the brouhaha about Trump’s sexual comments and revelations from women claiming to have been groped, pawed, and otherwise molested by him. The poll showed an advantage for Hillary, but of only four percent, which could be easily overturned by another demonstration of her having to be carried by aides. The poll also showed that Americans choosing either Trump or Clinton were fixed in their support, and were intense in their opposition toward the other.
A poll published in the Jerusalem Post showed that Israelis tend to view Trump as more supportive of Israel or less likely to pressure Israel than Hillary, but that they tend to support Hillary nonetheless.
Makes one proud to be an Israeli. Not the Know Nothings for us.
One is hard pressed to find a good reason for supporting Hillary, other than her serving as the alternative to Trump. No less a Democratic establishmentarian than Tom Friedman said on Israel television that the best explanation for Hillary’s nomination was that Democrats viewed it as “her turn.”
Many are looking for a third party alternative. However, voting for the Libertarian candidate, or the anti-Semitic Jewish Green Party candidate, might screw up the counts in key states and render their electoral votes a matter for a crapshoot.
A friend sent me an article from Politico Magazine headlined “In a Time of Trump, Millennial Jews Awaken to Anti-Semitism.” The article’s phrase “the tangled world of Jewish politics” is my choice for insight of the week. However, the item is limited in seeing an increase in anti-Semitism as associated with the Trump campaign, and comments by some of his key aides, if not the candidate himself. What it lacks is coverage of the increase in anti-Semitism that preceded Trump’s nomination by several years, and has been promoted by Jews in the tangle who see themselves as having a monopoly on what’s proper. They are the supporters of BDS, some of whom affiliate with JStreet. They join with some misguided Jews of Israel in thinking that the actions of the Jewish state rank with the world’s atrocities worth condemning. They add their voices to something invented by Palestinians and supported by European and Americans, with some of them inclined to sacrifice Jews wherever they are along with Israel.
New among the worrying things about the Trump campaign are his repeated claims of a media conspiracy against him, and hints about vote fraud in what he calls a “rigged election.” Donald’s latest is the statement that he’ll be sure to accept the election results, only if he’s the winner.
It doesn’t take more than that to ignite the anti-government paranoids among his supporters.
The environment is ripe, having been prepared by generations who don’t trust government and inclined to hate people different from themselves. Its been made worse by the rusting of what had been major centers of American industry, and perhaps by a Black sitting in the Oval Office.
Should this sentiment carry on after the election, it would be -- at the least -- a repeat of the madness charging that the CIA was responsible for the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The fanciful claims about Barack Obama’s birth certificate, and somewhat more convincing claims that a politicized court gave Florida and the presidency to George W. Bush.
Analysts may be working for decades on the issue of how two so basically flawed candidates found themselves the last people standing in each party’s competition for the nomination.
American society survived several presidential misfits, and is likely to survive the coming selection, unless Trump gets the call, with the power over the world inherent in the job.
Comments welcome. Irashark@gmail.com